2016 was the year of two major events that would change two nations and the world as we knew it. In Britain, just over 50 percent of voters, in a referendum, voted in favour of leaving the European Union. The Vote Leave camp used blatant lies and fear as a tool to persuade people to their side, garnering huge media coverage with their divisive slogans and divisive characters. The Remain side lacked energy, slogans and the characters that would be required to rally the public to their side and keep Britain within the European Project. The main underlying problem for the remain campaign, was it’s refusal to accept how frustrated Britons had become at the EU and how years of austerity had created a hunger for change.
Europe has been rocked by the referendum in Britain and soon enough we will know if a deal is agreed in the House of Commons (British Parliament) as we await Theresa May to put the Brexit Agreement to a vote. An earlier vote was pulled in December 2018 as the Prime Minister did not have enough support within her own party or in Parliament to win. Britain will crash out of Europe on March 29th if a deal is not reached or an extension is not granted. A no deal scenario could be bad news for the European Union and other Global economies and even worst news for the Island of Ireland as a possible hard border could be erected, in breach of the good Friday agreement. The Good Friday Agreement brought peace to the island following decades of the violence in Northern Ireland. This period in Northern Ireland, known as The Troubles is extremely complicated and embedded in the history of those who live there.
On the other side of the pond, in the United States, Donald Trump was elected to the office of President. Trump had beaten Hilary Clinton. Clinton, simply as a name, is one of the most famous political names in the United States. The differences between Trump and Clinton are; Trump lacks the capabilities, knowledge, temperament and political experience that Clinton has. During the 2016 election, Trump lost the popular vote but The United States has a system in which the popular vote means nothing in terms of being elected, therefor Trump won the election because he won enough States which had the most electoral colleges. and reached the magic number of 270.
Trump has imposed tariffs on China and other goods from other nations. He had pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, rescinded on the Iran Nuclear Deal (The JCPOA) and continues to fire staff while also being under the spotlight of special Counsel Robert Mueller for collusion with Russia in the 2016 Presidential campaign. Trump and the Republican Party continue to undo much of what Barack Obama spent his 2 terms implementing. The only thing the Republicans stands for is nominating a sexual predator to the Supreme Court and undoing Obama policies, other than that, they have become the self serving party driving by deep ideology. On the other hand, the Democrats are in disarray, trying to understand themselves and what the heck they represent. The Democrats, like Labour in the UK are divided between the new era of left wing politics as a challenge to the far right and the old centre ground politics that Hilary Clinton and Tony Blair represented. The sooner the Democrats get their house in order the sooner they can be effective in the House of Representatives.
2019 will be a year in which the pendulum swings back, how far? only time will tell. The fight against nationalism and far right extremism is building as the resurgence of a united liberal front is taking place around the globe.
By Jonathan Myers.
The rise of the far right isn’t the major worry for today’s global democracy and stability. We are now faced with the possibility of a more fractured world. We have far right candidates whom question institutions like the United Nations, the European Union, NATO and African nations are leaving the International Criminal Court. We are witnessing the roll back of a world order that has been in existence following World War One, WW2 and the Cold War. The idea of creating mutual interests to detour nations from going to war against one another.
The world that we knew, that I grew up in has changed and will continue to change as those with completely different agendas will take over the reins of power in the major countries.
This can be halted with a radical mobilisation of people. Senator Bernie Sanders showed exactly what can be achieved. On the 21st of January 2017, a global mobilisation of people in support of women, known as the women’s march, was a huge movement with millions of people taking to the street with plackcards, chants, poems and songs but united in representing the voices of progressive thinking. This could be a catalyst and an opposition to the fractured world we are heading toward.
Trump triumphs, brexit rolls on and all things in the middle are questioned. With Trump’s win in the USA, on the back of a campaign inspired by hate and division but powered by the simple need of jobs, of an income, trumped the ideals of the left. The working class were left behind, that’s a fact, not only in the USA but across the globe. As society progressed on through the 80’s and the middle classes increased, people and politicians no longer had to worry about poverty or low income, they could then turn their focus on how they lived. Human rights, work life balance, yoga, new cars and other technologies.
As we entered the era of making ‘money from money’ things became a lot riskier. As the globe became interconnected through the financial markets (globalisation) what happened on one side of the word now affected the other side of the world.
The crash of 2008 shrunk the middle class, people were now less well off, in debt, behind on mortgage payments and with no disposable income for luxury good or vacations to distract them from the world’s woes, people were now forced to become politically aware and politically engaged.
Over the past 8 years of recession, with slow change and a loss of confidence in the financial policies of the neoliberals, a loss of confidence in the well established politicians and now the media, people have begun to revolt. As mentioned above, Donald Trump won the USA Presidential election and Britain have voted to separate from the European Union. Left wing and right wing parties have gained significant ground. Duterte in the Philippines, openly confessed to killing people has been pushing a new war on drugs with thousands dead in three months, killed by the police, killed by other gangs and vigilantes. Marion-Le Pen, a far right politician in France, presidential hopeful for 2017. Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain which has
transformed the Spanish political scene.
Whats next for 2017? will Europe begin to separate?
will France elect a far right President?
how about war in the South China Sea or in Eastern Europe with the build up of NATO forces in Poland. All I know is that some bad seeds have been sowed and what grows wont be good for anyone.