Brexit, Bowie and the British Malaise … is it Time for 2016 to Call it a Day?


Go home 2016, you’re drunk.

That’s how a lot of Brits and the wider world feel about 2016, myself included.

Just look at the headlines:

And social media tells a similar story:

So what’s gone wrong for Brits in 2016?

We’ve undoubtedly been hit from all angles this year.

Those taken too soon

2016 kicked off terribly in January with the loss of British treasure David Bowie. And things have only gotten worse since with the subsequent losses of Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood, Ronnie Corbett, Terry Wogan and more.

But no death hit home more painfully than the brutal murder of Labour politician Jo Cox, whose inspiring passion and work for others and her community was unceremoniously brought to an end. This tragic event lingered in the UK consciousness across the now infamous EU referendum.

Brexit, 180s and political embarrassment

52% voted to leave the EU, 48% voted to stay.

I personally feel let down by the result, having strongly supported the Remain campaign. But however us Brits individually feel about the result itself, the campaigning beforehand and the messy aftermath have arguably left an even more unpleasant aftertaste than the vote itself.

As one commentator said in a protest against ‘ugly’ Brexit campaigns,

“Politicians [were] shouting and ramming statistics down people’s throats.”

Many people feel embarrassed at the process itself and the ugly nature that the Referendum took. And since the vote, we’ve seen a flushed David Cameron swapped for Theresa May, outwardly stalwart Brexit supporter Boris Johnson show his apparent Remain affiliation, Corbyn and company figuratively fight it out within the Labour camp, UKIP’s Mike Hookem and Steven Woolfe literally fight it out at the European Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon vow to get Scottish independence in the event of a hard Brexit, hate crimes increase whilst the pound has plummeted, and no one seems to know what’s happening with the triggering of Article 50…

It appears to be one political embarrassment after another.

Brexit itself might not be all doom and gloom. In fact, it’s in many ways a huge opportunity for the UK.

But it’s the not knowing that is concerning. Will we get a hard brexit or a soft brexit? Does anyone actually know what will happen to the UK? Is there a decent plan in place? Political uncertainty has undoubtedly been at the forefront of our British malaise.

Bake Off future half-baked

The crumbling of the BBC’s Great British Bake Off might not have the same logistical ramifications as Brexit, but to some it strikes an equally painful emotional chord.

British journalist Michael Moran sums up the love for the baking show perfectly:

Bake Off demonstrates the three things that we Brits most like about ourselves: a sense of fair play, bordering on downright uncompetitiveness; childish innuendo; and cake.

It’s a show that for its simplicity and pleasing style has effectively engaged millions across the country and beyond. But in a highly-publicised move, it’s now going to the highest bidder, rival Channel 4. Since this news, the show has lost key players Mary Berry, Sue and Mel (who said they won’t ‘follow the dough’). Whilst this isn’t the end of Bake Off, it may well be the end of the show as we know it, and many are frustrated at the level of uncertainty regarding its future.


And worldwide?

There’s no way I could neatly sum up the myriad of depressing events that have happened globally so far this year.

The world has suffered – and is still suffering – some truly appalling tragedies, such as; the Orlando nightclub shooting – the biggest peacetime massacre on American soil in history, gruesome terror attack after terror attack in Syria, Nice, Brussels and more, the terrifying threat of ISIS, the shameful happenings in Aleppo, the Zika virus, multiple police shootings, and much, much, much more.

Politically, we’re watching the ugliest fight in American history between Trump and Clinton, with each day offering a new scandal and fresh concern. [UPDATE – and since writing this blog Trump has unbelievably been selected for the Presidency.]

Environmentally, the worrying rise of global warming has led to predictions of some scary consequences.

The collective malaise

All of this bad news, from politics to popular culture, on a national level and global level, has led to a pretty terrible year so far.

And whilst it’s an obvious point that good and bad things happen every year, I think 2016 is special, especially in the UK, because of the colossal amount of uncertainty. What does being British actually mean anymore?

We don’t know what’s going to happen with our political situation, we don’t know which cultural icon is next, and we can’t even count on the future of our nation’s favourite baking show.

Is there any good news?

2016 has undoubtedly been an infernal crapstorm thus far and we Brits are in a definite ‘funk’.

But the law of averages suggests that soon we must surely be due a ‘good’ year. (Right?!)

So in Pollyanna style, I’ve had a think about some reasons to be glad and excited for 2017. There’ll be exciting advancements in space travel (including the maiden flights of both the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Dragon 2 capsules),  Radiohead will headline Glastonbury, there’s the live action version of Beauty and the Beast to look forward to, there’ll be loads of cool things happening in Hull, 2017’s City of Culture, and, of course, we’ll be able to see what happens when Theresa May triggers Article 50 by the end of March…

And if in doubt, there’ll always be the latest episode of Sherlock to look forward to in January.

Greg gets it.

So here’s to the New Year! In my opinion, it can’t come soon enough. Though there’s still two months to turn things around…


2 thoughts on “Brexit, Bowie and the British Malaise … is it Time for 2016 to Call it a Day?

  1. Wow, was it all really that bad? Are we all just going to hell in a handcart? Was 2016 so bad we can write it off already, there’s still 1/6 of it left to go? But I see your point and I’ll raise a glass or two to 2017 being better – hope is what keeps us all going.

    Liked by 1 person

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