An interesting year, politically! Here’s my take…
We witnessed a German Chancellor invite the invasion of Germany, and the rest of Europe. The millions of muslims now spreading our across the continent owe everything to the selfless “Mother Merkel”
We witnessed the Labour Party go down to a heavy defeat in the UK, confounding the pollsters who insisted it would be a hung parliament.
In the aftermath of their defeat, we also witnessed Labour choose as their new Leader the MP who carried the distinction for most rebelling against his own Party, Jeremy Corbyn.
We also saw the demise of the obnoxious Lib-Dems, a highlight of the Year for those who dislike sanctimonious hypocrites.
Here in Northern Ireland, we saw groundhog day. We always do.
Across La Manche, we witnessed the slaughter at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris. Worse was to follow in November when Islamists slaughtered 130 people in a sickening orgy of violence. France responded by inviting in another 30,000 “refugees”. Two of the Paris killers carried fake “Syrian” passports. That’s the sort of stupid that indicates a lack of seriousness – meaning 2016 will bring worse Jihad in France.
Paris was also the spot where the world’s great gathered in December to save the planet. Backs were slapped and egos massaged as they all agreed that they would take control of the Planet’s temperature and limit any rise to no more than 2 degrees. Coming from people who have demonstrated they cannot control their own borders, this hubris was a tad optimistic even by their standards.
Stateside, it’s been interesting to watch the horror amongst the media and GOP establishment as Donald Trump surged into the lead amongst aspiring GOP candidates for the Presidency and STAYED there. Despite his alleged “gaffes” (or plain speaking to normal people) he is well positioned for 2016 and it appears he strikes a vein with many non Beltway Americans. Obama’s final time as President has been consumed with the thing that concerns his most – Obama. He has demonstrated a lamentable lack of leadership when it comes to coping with the rise of Islamic State and even when Jihad hit the streets of San Bernadino, he seemed almost unwilling to accept that Islamists walk amongst Americans and seek to kill them.
Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders has also proven illuminating. Sanders is, arguably, the only person who could make La Clinton look sane. Hillary, of course, is preparing for what she sees as her destiny – to become the first woman to occupy the White House. With so many skeletons in her cupboard, even the spineless US media may struggle to sell her to the American people.
The world economy also proved interesting to observe. The EU continues to flounder, with huge unemployment, lack of growth and a currency that is going nowhere but downwards. The US has shown a form of growth even nervously leading to the Fed rising interest rates. China’s growth continues but at a lower level and there is continued concern that IF China does catch a cold then the rest of the world – now dependent to varying degrees on the Asian behemoth – will catch Pneumonia. The UK economy continues to outperform most, and whilst this growth is imperfect, it still means that Labour has no material to attack the Conservatives reputation for fiscal reliability.
On a personal level, it’s been funny old year. My mother and my brother in law passed away, within a week of each other making May a tough month. On a brighter note, in the Autumn I finally got to meet Elvis Costello and have a brief chat! I was fortunate to attend the Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham and despite hurting my leg on the train back (!) that was a pretty good experience.
As ever, I have travelled quite a bit – Brussels, Bruges, Stockholm, Florence, Dubai and London all featured on radar!
On a final note, I wanted to finish by saying that ATW continues to hold a central place in my heart and a big thank you to you all for continuing to come here and stay a while with me. It’s appreciated.