Living in interesting times

For a very long time to come, many people are likely to wonder what on earth happened in 2016, as both Brexit and Trump presidency became reality. Some of the people I know have had their faith in their fellow citizens shaken. To butcher a metaphor, turkeys are allowed to vote for Christmas in a turkey democracy (an imaginary place where turkeys have a vote in a democratic system, and not – though some might say an equally imaginary – democratic Turkey): it would surely be considered a rare double when turkeys voted for both Thanksgiving and Christmas in a single year.

If 2016 had been the year of decisions, then 2017 is likely to be the year of consequences, or at least the beginning thereof. So far, Brexit has not been disastrous economically, but the real repercussions of that momentous referendum decision will become clearer, as the UK government begins the complicated exit negotiations. President Trump’s term started with huge controversies on the travel ban as well as on his choice of personnel. I have missed much of the tussle between the executive and the judiciary on both sides of the Atlantic, as I was quite busy from mid-January onwards. It was a welcome relief from the doom and gloom of global politics about which I could do little in any case.

As someone who has studied history, I should realize that there is probably nothing sillier than predicting the future, however at the risk of looking silly in a few years’ time, I am not entirely sure whether Theresa May and Donald Trump will survive the full term of the current parliament and presidency respectively. Their actions and decisions though could shape the contours for longer. We shall see.

I wonder what I would win if Marine Le Pen were to become the next president of the French Republic and I had placed an accumulator bet on Brexit, Trump, and Le Pen winning. The world as we know it might come to an end, but at least I would win a handsome amount of money, perhaps bankrupting the bookies in the process. I wonder what the year 2017 has in store for us. We are living in interesting times.