2018: The Year of Political Mayhem

A woman holds a fist in the air and a placard that reads 'Stop staying fucking neutral'
Credit to Vice News
Article by Anjali Kawa

2018 is finally drawing to a close, and I think many of us can be thankful that we can close the book on some of the chaos we have endured at the hands of the political elite. Satire has long relieved us, the commoners, of the stress these events can cause us, and so in the true British spirit of political commentary, I present my top five political...incidents (for want of a better word) :

  1. Brexit (yes, predictable)
Now, I’m from the UK. Which means the past year, I, along with the other millions of bored citizens, have had to watch, day-in and day out, our government be embarrassed in front of the EU27 and the rest of the world. The end of 2018 marks just three months now until we are due to leave, but with Parliament suddenly focussed on Corbyn’s ‘stupid woman’ comment, ignoring the fact that much worse has been said by Tory MPs and even the Speaker of the HoC in the past, it seems that little more can be done now that it is Christmas recess, despite the Lib Dems’ Grinch move. It is unlikely anything is going to be turned around in the 100ish days we have left, and so I call on all Britons to use this festive period to bask in the fact we are living in tumultuous times. Yes, even worse than when we kept getting rejected by the De Gaulle.

  1. Kavanaugh’s Appointment
The appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court signalled a new low in the American dystopia movie we are being forced to watch with our eyes propped up with matchsticks. It seemed to many that the decision was clear and inevitable - surely, he could not be appointed? We watched the intrepid Christine Blasey Ford tell her story to international ears, and we watched with indignation as Kavanaugh cried crocodile tears to the tune of American women defending him. It was hard. It is hard. This could have been a real turning point in the Trump administration and showed that all was not bad, and that actually there was incoming change. We can’t let it deflate us all the way, but it would be so naive to say that seeing my phone light up to say Kavanaugh was now a judge on the US Supreme Court didn’t feel like a pit had opened in my stomach. All we can hope is that one day we can reflect on this investigation, and tut at the way the world used to operate.

  1. The poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal
This did happen in 2018 I promise. I am not sure how much this impacted international newsrooms, but during the spring, the whole of the UK thought Cold War 2.0 was on its way. This may seem like a thing of the past to many considering it happened in March, nine whole months ago, but to me, it demonstrated the mistrust and instability that plagues the international community. It put on display the broken relationships between the world powers that inhibit countries from collaborating effectively to alleviate global issues like, I don’t know say, global warming or poverty. The Salisbury Attack confirmed that the lingering fears from the century past will probably prevent a proper community developing in this one too.

  1. ‘The Trump of the Tropics
The election of right-wing Bolsonaro in Brazil threw up a wave in western media for a few weeks, but in true western fashion we seem to forget about what happens in other parts of the world rather quickly. Bolsonaro was worrying to us, even if for a fleeting second, because much like someone else we know he vows to take back control. Another saviour for the people! The new Brazilian president has a rich history of being… controversial. Comments range from him saying a colleague was not attractive enough for him to rape if he were, in fact, a rapist, to breezily confirming he would be unable to love his child if they were gay. He had an interesting campaign, attempting to display himself as an outsider despite being a veteran in the Congress, and surviving a stabbing on the trail by someone claiming to be on a “mission from God”. This man now is in charge of the biggest economy in South America. Just letting you know.

  1. The US midterms
Hopefully, this last one will negate the misery I’ve kindly reintroduced into your awareness so far. The US midterms were important to so many, two years into a dreadful presidency and things in American aren’t looking much better- please refer to number 2. The midterms threatened the administration and the staunch right-wing sentiment that believed it was prevailing. While the Republicans continued to control the Senate, the Democrats took the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is the part of Congress which can impeach the President, which although unlikely is still a fun prospect. The results went beyond party politics though. It showed a spiked interest with the highest midterm turnout with just over 48%. More women than ever before are now in Congress, including the first Muslim and Native American women. In the hellish landscape that has been American politics, these victories seem so much incredible and so much more beautiful.

I picked this particular image to use because I think the one thing any of us can draw from this year is that neutrality doesn’t work. At all. Here’s to a good 2019 in politics. Fingers crossed the list next year will be a little brighter.