This year has been a year full of highs and lows so here is list of four things that we wish had never happened in 2016.
In order for David Cameron to keep some Tory rebels happy and stop Euro-sceptic voters from switching allegiances and voting for UKIP at the 2015 General Election, we ended up with a referendum to determine the future of the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union.
It was a simple choice between voting to remain in or leave the EU yet both sides made it anything but simple. From blatant xenophobia and racism from UKIP on the leave side to “Project Fear” from members of the remain camp, nothing was off limits.
2016 was also the year that politicians discovered that they could say whatever they want, whether it was true or not in order to win a vote. Who can forget the Vote Leave bus (above), which suggested that the £350 million we send to the EU each week would be spent on the NHS? Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, the key orchestrators of the official Vote Leave campaign have both backtracked on this and said that they can’t confirm that any of the money will go the the NHS.
Ultimately, we still don’t know when, how or even if we will leave the EU. The Supreme Court is deliberating on if the Government has “the power to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union, without an Act of Parliament providing prior authorisation to do so”.
Prime Minister, Theresa May, has confirmed that “Brexit means Brexit” and it will be a “red, white and blue Brexit” so that settles that. What is there to worry about? Oh…
Another example of how politics was turned on its head was in the US Presidential Election when professional Twitter troll, Donald Trump grabbed the whole US population by the pussy and won to become the 45th President of the United States of America.
Although he lost the popular vote by about 2.5 million votes, Trump secured all the Electoral College votes he needed, even if it did, according to the CIA, take a little bit of help from his friends in Russia and Wikileaks to hack Democratic Party emails. This led to President Obama just this week expelling 35 Russian diplomats from the US who were suspected of being spies.
Following the election, President-elect Trump avoided every opportunity to be humble and magnanimous and continued to Tweet like a 14 year old girl rather than the next leader of the free world. Although under Trump it isn’t clear how free that world will be. Only time will tell. All we know is he’s chosen a homophobic Vice-President, a racist Attorney General and a white nationalist as his senior counsellor and chief strategist.
The assassination of Jo Cox MP
One of the biggest tragedies of the Brexit referendum was that in an atmosphere of hate and bigotry, Tommy Mair, armed with a knife and a modified rifle, sought out, attacked and killed Labour MP Jo Cox as she was walking to attend her weekly surgery in Birstall, in her constituency of Batley and Spen.
Cox had only been a Member of Parliament for 13 months but in that time had become a campaigner on issues relating to the Syrian civil war and co-chaired an all-party parliamentary group Friends of Syria.
Following the murder of Cox, Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell, Writing in The Telegraph, put party differences to one side and poignantly described Cox as “a force of nature” who had “so little time for the petty aspects of party-political life of Westminster”.
Mair received a whole life sentence for the murder meaning he would never be eligible for parole.
2016 has seen an astonishing number of celebrity deaths with Twitter seemingly ablaze with accusations that the year has somehow been responsible. Although you won’t see “2016” as the cause of death on any death certificate it is fair to say that so many iconic stars of stage, screen, music and sport have been taken from us this year.
In January, David Bowie died following a battle with liver cancer.
Bowie was just 69 when he died, the same age as Alan Rickman who made his big screen debut as Hans Gruber in Die Hard. Rickman also died of cancer this year, just four days after Bowie.
In April, Prince died from an accidental overdose. The singer and songwriter was synonymous with some of the biggest hits of the 80s and 90s including 1999, Purple Rain, Raspberry Beret and The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.
June brought news of the deaths of arguably the greatest ever boxer, Muhammad Ali, and actor, Anton Yelchin. Yelchin, who played Pavel Chekov in the new Star Trek films, died in a freak car accident at his home. He was 27.
The year then took a turn for the worse on Christmas Day as singer, George Michael was found dead in his home.
On Boxing Day Carrie Fisher died in hospital a few days after having a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles. Tragically the following day, her mother, Singing in the Rain star Debbie Reynolds, suffered a stroke as she discussed Fisher’s funeral with her son, Todd Fisher.
Other stars that left us in 2016 included Terry Wogan, Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne, David Gest, Joanie “Chyna” Laurer, Gene Wilder, Alexis Arquette, Leonard Cohen and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
This list could be a lot longer but we were feeling a bit glum after just these four but we can’t forget the Pulse nightclub shooting where 49 people died and the Syrian civil war. Here’s hoping that 2017 will be memorable for more positive things but as Article 50 has yet to be invoked and President-Elect Trump isn’t inaugurated until 20 January, it’s not looking likely.