Sep 5, 2022

Whereas the passing of universally-admired talent and loved acting, broadcast, musical and sporting personalities brought us together during 2016, events in the political sphere have challenged us, to say the least.

Despite swift resignations and discarding of the established order, life, we’ve seen, goes on regardless.

In many ways in Northern Ireland, despite challenges, our politics is changing for the better.

Northern Ireland: Goodbye to five-party government

Almost two decades since the Good Friday Agreement, a standard mandatory five-party coalition is no more.

May’s Assembly election, subsequent walk-out of the Executive by the UUP and SDLP and formation of an Official opposition at Stormont has forced all sides to up their game, to reconfigure party priorities. It’s “us and them” like never before.

Whereas 2016 brought about instability elsewhere, in Northern Ireland the end of the status quo has been widely welcomed.

Brexit and David Cameron: Out of Europe and out of office

Spare a thought for former Prime Minister David Cameron this Christmas. Having last year led the Conservative Party to its first overall majority in the House of Commons since 1992, and having won two referendums before June’s Brexit vote – the AV electoral system and Scottish independence votes – perhaps he thought after one more win he might gravitate smoothly towards the exit door.

He called the vote on Brexit, and advocated Remain. He gambled, he lost and resigned; his political career in tatters. Resignations and replacements were aplenty soon after. Boris Johnson’s campaign for the Tory leadership didn’t last long; neither did that of his former Leave sidekick Michael Gove.

After everyone else shot themselves in the foot, Theresa May was handed the keys to 10 Downing Street. How long she will last is anyone’s guess.

America made great again? The Clinton machine trumped by The Donald

Hillary Clinton sought the US presidency for a long time, and made no secret of it. First she lost out on the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008; this year she lost out on the top job to the ultimate outsider in Donald Trump.

And just like that, she pretty much stopped tweeting. This week Vice President Joe Biden claimed she never really figured out why she was running.

That’s the end of the Clintons in US political life, for now at least. Surely it’s the end of the Bush dynasty too, with Jeb Bush consistently rejected throughout the Republican Party primary season. Both he and Hillary’s exits were long drawn out, but once out they were really out.

Goodbye 2016. Hello 2017: What’s in store?

In January we say goodbye to the Obama presidency – and possibly legacy – and hello to Commander-in-Chief Trump.

In the UK Theresa May intends to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the process for leaving the EU. At this stage we can only presume Brexit means Brexit.

Across Europe, we await elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany.

At home, we are well accustomed to political twists and turns, with few dull moments.

Let’s just hope for more hellos than goodbyes.