After the crazy year that was 2016 that saw Eric Cartman with a dodgy wig or Donald Trump as he is commonly known, Britain deciding to leave the European Union, and Leicester City winning the Premier league, it was a question of whether 2017 would continue to be mad or common sense would return.
That quickly went out of the window after North Korea fired a ballistic missile across the sea of Japan. Considering that Kim Jong-Un is unstable and lacking in diplomacy what could wrong when Donald Trump waded in like a bar room loud mouth? Naturally Trump had to raise the tensions another notch with his speech of ‘unleashing fire and fury,’ and referring to Jong-Un as the ‘rocket man.’
At times it seemed that Trump just seemed to wake up and decide to cause mayhem by getting on twitter. Officially recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was one of many instances where he didn’t put his brain into gear first. People accusing me of being a fascist? I know I’ll re-tweet a Britain first comment without checking who they are and whether what they say is true or not. After all truth can be an inconvenience can’t it?
Then of course there is the scandal of the suspicion that Trump colluded with Russians during the Presidential election. It’s something that isn’t going away too soon with Steve Bannon to be questioned about it.
So far the Trump administration has been dysfunctional with people getting sacked such as Bannon, aides being caught lying, and sackings. Then there are the problems in getting stuff through the senate. The repeal of Obama care fell through when it was apparent that there was nothing put in place to replace it.
Even when Trump finally managed to get some success such as the tax reform bill that was achieved through utter chaos. Last minute amendments were added in margins that it seemed as though Trump was hastily finishing that essay in the final minutes before it was due.
Back to the UK, there was equally as much chaos thanks to David Cameron losing everything on the roulette with his Brexit gamble. After casually walking away to write his memoirs in his posh caravan, ‘the thick of its Nicola Murray,’ or Theresa May as she is commonly known took over as Prime Minister.
Article 50 was finally triggered after much debating as to when someone would press the button or hand over the envelope with a letter which was the case. Of course to keep up the trail of incompetency only the most incompetent was picked to negotiate with the EU. That task fell to David Davis who with his gurning smile looked like the match day mascot thrilled to be on the pitch with his footballing heroes. He was as effective as a mascot as Davis was given some crayons and paper whilst the grown ups talked about the serious stuff.
Lying to your employer that you had done that important work only to admit that you hadn’t, would normally get you the sack. Not if your David Davis who finally admitted to the House of Commons committee that he hadn’t nor was there any Brexit impact assessment work done. Rather than being held in contempt there was a little chortle from the panel. The cheeky little scamp Davis hey? Mind we’re still waiting for him to resign after declaring he would if Damian Green was forced to step down. Green being the one who was found to have porn on his office computer.
Still Brexit means that we can change the colour of British passports to blue. Something that we could have done all along whilst in the EU. If that was the case maybe we can go back in time, change the colour to blue and we wouldn’t be in the mess that we are currently in.
If 2017 was a football match then it certainly was a game of two halves for Jeremy Corbyn. Seen as a liability by some (well mainly the right of the Labour party) there were pleas from the likes of the Guardian’s Nick Cohen to step down. Incidentally the pleas were more from a stroppy five-year old who obviously knew better than the majority of the Labour membership who voted for Corbyn.
As the doomsayers were ready to say the last rites over the Labour party with murmurings of yet another leadership challenge, Theresa May decided to go for a walk. During this stroll Theresa thought it would be a good idea to call a general election. The Labour party was in disarray and this was an opportunity to increase the Tory majority and May’s stranglehold on the party. Citing a Brexit mandate for the election what could possibly go wrong?
It was though to be a decision of Nicola Murray proportions and equivalent of Corrie’s Alan Bradley chasing Rita Fairclough across a tram line in Blackpool.
Running a Presidential style campaign means having some kind of a personality and engaging with the crowd. This was to be the first of many mistakes as Theresa May ran a omnishambles campaign that had to be the worst in living memory of any major political party leader.
Whereas Jeremy Corbyn looked at ease mingling with ordinary people and addressing huge crowds, Theresa May had the look of someone having to visit the dentist for a bit of root canal work. It wasn’t as if the crowds that she had to endure where huge as it made a five a side team plus subs look packed.
Nevertheless Theresa ‘Nicola Murray,’ May continued with her robotic approach convinced that if she kept repeating ‘strong and stable,’ every two minutes it would be enough to convince voters. Even then May still managed to mess that up by doing a huge U-turn over a proposed dementia tax that could see people potentially dipping into savings to ensure loved ones had the appropriate care.
As election day loomed May was now being seen as a liability by her own party. Questions had to be seen first with a local Devon journalist shown the door for daring to ask something not seen. It may also have been the reason why May didn’t take part in the leadership debate as Amber Rudd was sent in to bat for her.
It was like watching someone openly drown as May looked more and more uncomfortable. At one point it all got a bit Withnail and I’s Uncle Monty with her Corbyn ‘standing in the corner naked,’ speech.
Despite the omnishambles of the campaign most still predicted a Conservative majority only they lost their majority to govern. It ended up with May having to get the support of the ten DUP MPs to govern. Somehow the ‘magic money,’ tree that she mocked Corbyn for was suddenly found to find the money for a £1 billion package for the region of Northern Ireland.
The unexpected increase of Labour seats and successful campaign stunned a lot of people including those within Corbyn’s own party. Stephen Kinnock who had allowed a fly on the wall camera crew to follow him looked gutted as he saw the election results. Now it was himself who had to look in the mirror as he had previously stated that Corbyn would have to do the same if Labour lost heavily.
For Theresa May it seemed that she wouldn’t be leader for long with a grinning George Osborne declaring her to be ‘a dead woman walking.’ The only saving grace was that there was no credible candidates and secondly it was better to let a damaged May take the flak for Brexit before getting another leader in time for the next election.
Even so there was still more humiliation for Theresa May who attempted to re-start her damaged image during the Conservative party conference. A coughing fit, letters falling from the slogan that stated ‘building a country that works for everyone,’ and a comedian handing May her P45. In all Theresa May looked like a middle-manager being promoted out of her depth.
It was another year of terrorist atrocities that at one point you dreaded any news alert in case another atrocity had taken place. One of the horrific terrorist attacks took place at a Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Seeing the news reports it was hard to comprehend why somebody would want to hurt and kill people.
In memory of the victims and the survivors a memorial concert led by Ariana Grande was staged weeks later in Manchester. Oasis’s ‘Don’t look back in anger,’ became an anthem to show support and a statement that people would not be cowed by terrorists.
The Grenfall tower block fire disaster was another awful image. What made this even worse was that profit and the concerns of residents had casually been brushed aside prior to the fire. It was recommended that a more expensive cladding on the tower block was used but instead used a cheaper alternative that meant that the fire accelerated quicker and led to more deaths.
As Kensington and Chelsea borough council is one of the richest and indeed gave a tax rebate to its richest residents and had £274 million in reserve made this made it all the more unforgivable.
The majority of Grenfall residents are still waiting to be re-homed and there are fears that the inquiry into the Grenfall fire disaster will be an attempt to brush it under the carpet. For those in authority and that goes right up into previous Governments will not be held to account where profit was put before people.
It has unfortunately all the hall marks of Hillsborough were the victims families had to fight over twenty-five years to get anywhere near justice and accountability for what happened in Sheffield. The fight too also goes on at what happened during the 1984 miners strike at Orgreaves.
Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey
More unsavoury allegations came out over Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein who sexually harassed and bullied actresses. This incidentally was an open secret but nobody was prepared to hold him to account.
Kevin Spacey was another actor who was accused of acting inappropriately in 1986 and during his tenure at the Old Vic. So much so that House of cards was postponed and it was announced he wouldn’t feature in the new series and was also axed from a film that he was due to star in.
There was to be no repeat of Leicester’s exploits as Chelsea won the Premier league quite comfortably. Tottenham finished runner’s up whilst the ‘Wenger out,’ brigade was out in full force. It shows how much money now talks in football that in years gone by winning the FA cup and finishing fifth would be deemed (as it should be) a successful season. Instead some supporters are duped into thinking like accountants and thinking that Premier league placings are the be all and end all. Instead of enjoying a bit of an adventure and glory, some Arsenal fans still wanted Wenger to be sacked.
It has to be said there are some Arsenal fans still showing faith Wenger as planes with banners flew over. With signs of in and out it was as though the Arsenal faithful wanted Wenger to do the Hokey Cokey.
The demise of Barcelona was slightly premature as they made one of the greatest come backs of all time. PSG led the Catalans 4-0 from the first leg as Barca scored three. It was a relief for the Parisian’s as Cavani scored the vital away goal that seemed to knock the wind out of Barcelona’s sails. Eighty-eight minutes was on the clock and it seemed nigh on impossible that Barcelona would get the three goals needed to get through to the quarters.
Neymar scored from a free kick, then won a penalty which he scored to make it 5-5 on aggregate. Five minutes into injury time and mayhem broke out as Sergi scored with virtually the last kick of the tie. It was an unbelievable game as the Camp Nou went loco.
Despite the victory Barcelona were to go out of the competition against Juventus whose 3-0 first leg win was enough to see them through to the semi-finals. Barcelona could only draw 0-0 in the return. Juventus would go on to lose 4-1 against Real Madrid in the Champions league final. Incidentally the Madrid club would also go on to win La Liga.
For Luis Enrique who had ensured that the trophies still came in for Barcelona stood down after three years in charge.
Back to the Premier league and Liverpool it was to be a season that started off fast but fell apart half way through. The red’s new signing Mane was in scintillating form as defence’s were unable to cope. However the defending and a limited squad was Liverpool’s Achilles heel. They were knocked out by Wolves in the fourth round of the FA cup but did manage to finish fourth and qualify for the Champions league after beating Hoffenheim in a qualifier.
As it stands Liverpool’s attack is second to none being a match for any team in Europe. The rest of the team remains much to be desired. In midfield it can be static and not quick enough to break the opposition when gaps appear. They also need a defensive midfielder to help break up play as they wilt under the slightest pressure. Defence is a concern although the signing of Van Dijk will help a new goalkeeper surely has to be a priority this summer for the reds.
Nevertheless Liverpool are still in the Champions league with another possible adventure and dreams of repeating Istanbul by winning the European cup against all odds. Football after all is still about dreaming. Of course the FA cup appears to be the more realistic chance of silverware but there is a matter of a third round Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield.
In the meantime Manchester City are walking away with the league being unbeaten so far with the only points dropped being a draw against Everton.
Castleford was the unexpected success of the sporting world as they won the rugby league leaders shield, winning the league by ten points. Sadly they couldn’t overcome the final hurdle of becoming Super league Champions as they were beaten 24-6 at Old Trafford. Still it was a magnificent achievement for a club that had never won the league and previously been battling at the wrong end of the table.
With the world appearing to be in turmoil, nostalgia appears to be the comfort blanket. Stranger Things harks back to a simpler time of the 1980’s with numerous throw backs to 80’s films and cult references such as the goonies, ET, and in second series ghostbuster’s. Nevertheless it was another good bit of drama.
Still with Netflix’s Better call Saul gets better and better and very much stands alone from Breaking Bad. The relationship between Jimmy and Chuck is beautifully written and played whilst we see how Mike gets dragged in with Gus. We even see the unscrupulous side of Jimmy as we realise that his charm is down to him being a hustler.
House of cards (prior to the Kevin Spacey scandal) seems to be on the turn. Without giving away too much the main storyline was too unfeasible and hard to swallow that the Democratic party and the public would accept half the shenanigans. That’s not to mention Claire Underwood not being tarnished by Frank’s dealings.
Game of Thrones is moving towards the end and appears very much movie like. It seems weird that it is ahead of the Martin’s books but doesn’t appear to be the worst for it.
On this side of the pond there were still great dramas most notably Black Mirror and it’s San Junipero episode standing out as one of its best. Channel four’s replacement of the series Philip K Dick ‘Electric Dreams,’ was also another good bit of drama.
Elsewhere Doctor Who got a female Doctor with Jodie Whittaker generating as the next Time Lord. For some reason this got the Daily Mail into a tizz that a fictional alien character would be played by a woman.
What 2018 will bring nobody knows but as the last two years have been turbulent it will probably follow suit.