I think it’s fair to say it has yet again been another turbulent year in the world of politics. Both here in the UK and across the pond. So here is another Spyglass review – of the world of politics in 2019.
Here, in the UK, Brexit has continued to dominate the headlines. It seems a very long time ago now that Theresa May resigned from her post, after numerous attempts to get a Brexit deal through parliament without a Conservative majority. That was, believe it or not, all the way back in May… Her resignation triggered perhaps the most pointless leadership contest in recent memory – with Boris Johnson winning a huge share of the Conservative party vote to become the party’s new leader. His now-infamous mantra – “get Brexit done” – was, like under May, made difficult by the lack of a Commons majority. This led to him being forced to write to the EU to request another Brexit extension.
That was the problem for the government – nothing could get through the Commons because of the lack of a majority. So, unsurprisingly, with other parties also complaining about Boris’ plan (believing they were gaining support), a General Election was agreed. The result, on the 12th December, resulted in a huge Tory majority (of 80) and the worst Labour result since 1918. Since then, Boris’ Brexit deal was overwhelmingly backed in parliament. But it wasn’t just the result that was surprising – with the Tories winning in the previously-Labour heartlands in the North, and Labour doing surprisingly well in London. It also resulted in Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson losing her seat, East Dunbartonshire, by just 149 votes. You can find more detailed analysis of that night here.
Donald Trump has long been known to be a controversial figure, but perhaps 2019 was his most controversial yet. The controversy began with a telephone call between the US President and his Ukrainian counterpart, in which Trump asked him to dig up some dirt on one of his opponents for the US presidency, Democrat Joe Biden. Furthermore, he allegedly then abused his power through bargaining using the large quantity of military aid for Ukraine – $400 million – withdrawn days earlier, and also proposing a White House meeting for Ukraine’s president. This led to the Democrats starting a formal impeachment inquiry. The result? Well, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted earlier this month to impeach him. However, all this successful impeachment means is that now another vote takes place in the Republican-controlled Senate. It would require two-thirds of the Senate to vote to “convict” the President – an extremely unlikely outcome – and so he is likely to remain in office.
Clearly, it’s been a turbulent year. Maybe 2020 will bring about even more chaos – with Brexit supposedly being finalised and the US Presidential Election. Who knows?