2016 had little to recommend it. A string of deaths from Brian Rix to Carrie Fisher, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen plus the first murder this century of a British MP, Jo Cox.
For me the election of Donald Trump and Brexit were bad news and game changing decisions as well the miserable daily reporting of death and destruction in Syria and Yemen.
And if you add increasingly unstable weather – flooding in Britain and hurricanes in Haiti – provides a further depressing background.
At home further cuts in public services and increasing pressure on the NHS and the near collapse of Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse didn’t help either.
So what does 2017 offer? First of all hopefully some clarity.
Over Brexit we are in a ” phoney war” situation – the decision has been taken but nothing has happened. Apart from the fall in the pound people have seen little change. We are still accepting changes in regulations from the EU but we are no longer such an active player.
The real picture will emerge in March or April when we trigger Article 50 – and the meaningless mantra ” Brexit means Brexit” will have to be replaced by real negotiation.
And then the real decision making by business will begin and the effects will become much clearer to the British people. From what I gather the first move may well be some banks moving their HQ’s out of the UK if we adopt ” hard Brexit”.
Theresa May will have to drop her no running commentary stance – because any journo worth his salt will be able to get Britain’s position from any of the 27 other countries involved in the negotiations.
The second big unknown is Donald Trump. If we take what he has said it looks as though the US will come closer to Russia, take on China, blow up Isis and Iran, use nuclear weapons if necessary and restart the arms race. He is also a climate change sceptic, doesn’t believe he has to be briefed by the security services and has pioneered Twitter diplomacy – announcing his views on line – rather than using normal confidential diplomatic channels. If he continues like this he will make Wikileaks redundant as they won’t be any need for diplomatic secrets.
But the trend appears clear: more intolerance of other races, religions and gays rather than bringing people together. In other words, in a stroke a dangerous world will become an even more dangerous place. Hence my Death Star warning.
What do I hope for 2017 ?
A less aggressive and more tolerant Britain – that realises that cutting our links with Europe is self defeating.
A less dangerous world that perhaps leaves Trump realising that you can’t bulldoze your way ignoring the consequences and you can’t stigmatise an entire religion just because there are some fanatics – there are fanatics in all religion not least in the United States.
Finally in I hope the crippled child sex abuse inquiry gets its act together to do a proper job – to deal with a problem that the country wishes to ignore and is far more serious than most people realise..
A Happy New Year to you all.