If you’re reading this story hoping to be cheered up by some pleasant little article on baby animals or the joys of sewing, stop now. 2016 has just been one of those years. We’ve had unprecedented political upheavals, numerous celebrity deaths, Daesh terrorist attacks across the globe, a sneaky coup attempt in Europe’s back garden and England’s abysmal performance in European Championships. However you spin it, it was a bad year. If 2016 was a child on the playground, he’d be picked last for the football team and end up in goal. So if for some strange reason you’ve forgotten how atrocious 2016 was, let me remind you. (For the sake of brevity, I won’t dwell too long on events, otherwise I’ll be here till New Year’s Eve 2017).
Politics. In the UK, we voted to leave the EU, lost our PM (Call me Dave!) and found a new one a few weeks later (Theresa Brexit-means-Brexit May). Sounds simple, but it’s left us in a right mess. We have a government frantically trying to come up with a Brexit plan, a legal challenge in the High Court threatening to oppose the referendum and an opposition Party that might as well be making daisy chains and singing Kumbaya. Over in Europe the anti EU movement gained considerable momentum after Brexit, the Italian PM resigned and Putin’s ambitions continue to threaten the stability of Eastern Europe.
Across the political pond, our American cousins chose to elect a racist bigot as their 47th President, a man who impersonated a disabled reporter and joked about sexual assault. Elsewhere in the world, a coup in Turkey resulted in the deaths of 300 people and severe crackdown on civil liberties. The Philippines elected a President who claims to have shot three men dead, thrown a man out of a helicopter and since taking power has actively encouraged a war on drugs that has killed at least 5,000 people. Syria is still in utter chaos. As is Yemen, where a civil war has claimed around 10,000 lives and continues to be woefully unrepresented in the press.
“If 2016 was a child on the playground, he’d be picked last for the football team and end up in goal.”
And that’s just politics.
2016 saw a significant rise in the number of terrorist attacks, often committed by ‘lone wolves’. Suicide bombers killed 32 in Brussels. A truck driven at those celebrating Bastille Day in Nice killed 86. In a similar fashion, a truck killed 12 in Berlin. A shooting in Munich killed 10 people. Death and politics intertwined tragically in June with the murder of Jo Cox MP, shot and stabbed in the streets of her own constituency. Weeks later, 45 were killed in an attack on an airport in Istanbul. Earlier that month, 49 people were killed in a gay nightclub Orlando. Eight were killed in January in Jakarta. Baghdad saw numerous bombings over the year, killing hundreds. The list goes on, and will probably continue into next year.
“Death and politics intertwined tragically in June with the murder of Jo Cox MP.”
This macabre motif of mortality can also be found in the celebrity world, with the deaths of numerous household names. Just listing these reveals the damage done to film, television, sport, literature and music. The deaths of Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, Glenn Frey, Billy Paul and Leonard Cohen were a blow to the music world, as the deaths of Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Anton Yelchin, Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman, Doris Roberts and Ronnie Corbett were to the world of film and television. We also lost Harper Lee, Muhammed Ali, Nancy Reagan, Terry Wogan, Shimon Peres, John Glenn, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Victoria Wood and AA Gill as well as countless others who changed the world with their talents.
The world of sport has also been ravaged by 2016, with the deaths of Muhammed Ali, Johann Cruyff, Carlos Alberto, as well as the plane crash in Columbia which tragically killed most of the Chapecoense football team. England crashed out of Euro 2016 in an embarrassing defeat to Iceland. Roy Hodgson was replaced by Sam Alllardyce, who was subsequently sacked two months later after an investigation by the Telegraph.
A year of death and despair, hatred and heartbreak. I hate writing depressing pieces of journalism.