A year of such turmoil and shambles

It's difficult to condense the top stories of the year, but the main themes have been state sponsored murder, the absolute shambles that is Brexit, Donald Trump, slaughter in the Middle East and on the streets of London, and the rise of anti-Semitism.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 26th December 2018, 2:20 pm
Some good news  a single man wed an American actress. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Some good news  a single man wed an American actress. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The other defining moment has been the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The good things? The Winter Olympics in South Korea, Commonwealth Games in Oz, Invictus in Sydney and, maybe, Donald Trump meeting Kim Jong-un in Singapore. Maybe not.

We saw state sponsored terrorism in our own country with the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury, and the subsequent death of poor Dawn Sturgess who came into contact with it.

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This resulted in the expulsion of 100 Russian diplomats by 20 countries.

Then there was the killing of the journalist Jamal Khasoggi in the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Istanbul.

On the political front Brexit negotiations have resulted in a deal that does not automatically include Gibraltar in any future trade agreement and treats Northern Ireland as a separate entity. It ties us into the EU Customs Union and regulations for an indefinite period thereby not delivering the promised sovereignty and depriving us of the ability to make our own trade deals.

The ‘Maybot’ is on the campaign trail before the deal goes before Parliament, with the Conservatives and the country deeply divided. The Labour Party has varied views and it will be a challenge to get the Bill through. Watch this space and stock up on drinking water.

Major issues relating to health, defence, policing, energy, transport, social care, etc, seem to be neglected.

Universal Credit is having a disastrous roll-out and thousands of people will be worse off. It is a disgrace that 14 million people in Britain are living in relative poverty – four million children are growing up poor, 1.5 million people are in destitution and the rate of in-work poverty is the highest for 20 years.

The knife crime epidemic in London continues. Whilst acknowledging that deep-seated social issues need to be addressed, the first priority for the Mayor of London and Home Secretary is to take back control of the streets, one by one, building by building, borough by borough. The only real way to do this is to provide funding to put significantly more officers out there and for courts to remove dangerous offenders from the streets.

Donald Trump continues to disturb the world order of diplomacy and mass shootings across America continue. Whilst world leaders gathered at services on November 11 to honour those from the First World War “who shall grow not old”, President Trump declined to attend the war graves of American servicemen in France because of bad weather.

Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed in Syria by the Assad regime, and Russia and Ukraine have edged closer to the possibility of direct confrontation, a dangerous prospect.

There were other tragedies – terrorist attacks in Europe, deadly fires in Russia and Venezuela, and the death of almost 700 people in air crashes in Moscow, Iran, Cuba, Indonesia and Algeria.

Of all the trouble and strife, one of the saddest moments for me was the death of the last male northern white rhinoceros in Kenya, making the species extinct.

I end with the good news that during the year women in Saudi Arabia were allowed to drive for the first time and that a single man from England married an actress from the United States at a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Maybe things will get better next year. Or not.

Happy New Year.