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As 2016 draws to a close, it is clear that, in the world of politics, clear and calm waters have not been the most prevalent forecast. The last twelve months have played host to a huge political storm that has reaped havoc across continents, uprooted foundations, and brought disaster to our doorsteps. Luke Goodstadt tells the story of ‘The Great Storm of 2016’.
By Luke J Goodstadt
Our story begins, of course, in January, where turbulent winds have rolled on from the previous year. They echoed the horrifying memories of the Paris attacks, the refugee crisis and the rapid rise of ISIS. Thus, creating a rocky start to an extremely important year in worldwide politics.
As January turned into February, the winds began to grow even stronger; the fallout from the various US primaries had begun to strengthen the power of these gales. At this point, before the storm had fully formed, those who opposed it had the chance to defend themselves. They had the chance to use their logic and their resources to protect their homes and their communities, across the world. However, they chose to do something very different.
Instead of allowing these winds of rhetoric to pass over them and protecting themselves logically, they decided to attempt to fight the winds head-on, hurling abuse at the oncoming tempest. Yet what they hadn’t considered was the fact that, as they threw their heated words towards the cold winds, that they would collide and create one of the nastiest political storms the world has ever seen.
By April and May, the storm has spread itself over continents, covering both North America and Europe. As the dark, hopeless clouds hung overhead, every blast of wind bore the echoing of an angry Facebook post or a malicious tweet. It had now become impossible for anyone to escape the uncomfortable atmosphere that this weather had created.
In Britain, the air was growing thick with tension; everyone was on edge, not knowing what was going to happen next. The unease presented itself in vicious outbursts as the thick fog of ignorance settled itself upon both sides, preventing a rational and clear view.
By June, the tension in Britain grew and angry voices could be heard screaming out on all sides. They didn’t even stop to respect the first casualty of this storm: Jo Cox, a brave woman, defending her beliefs, her voice quietened by a sick man with no intention but to silence her.
Yet the storm did not mourn for Jo Cox, in fact it decided to send even more devastation. Strong waves had battered the coasts of Britain for years, these being the waves of the Brexiteers rising from the sea, yet in late June they rose above the coastline, and crashed down so hard that they submerged the entire nation. As Britain woke up to the floods, the first strike of lightning hit the water, causing all to tumble and crumble to the ground until the waters were dark and murky.
As this devastation cemented itself upon this once powerful country, the world watched. Unable to see through the waters that both the storm and the flood had created, the world seemed resigned to the fact that this storm was not fading anytime soon.
After this lightning, of course, came the rattling thunder; the loud and droning sounds of name-calling and rhetoric which rumbled on through the summer months and into the chilly autumn air of September and October. At this point the storm was at its height; it had taken many more victims, as only the foundations of the world’s markets were left standing, and the once powerful ‘reasoned debate’ had been killed by the loud shouts and accusations issued from the thunder and wind.
This was the point at which the people who had been fighting the storm thought that this tyrannical typhoon would surely fade away. Yet the storm wasn’t done.
On 8th November, lightning struck again, this time in Washington D.C. Although in their veins, many were blue-blooded, their states and their skies had been painted red, the White House burned orange and the financial markets finally fell completely.
As December came around, destruction and devastation were all one could see, the storm had done its job well. Tensions between countries were high in their dishevelled state, and ongoing internal conflicts took new, unfortunate turns which added more grey clouds and rain to the situation.
The casualties of ‘The Great Storm of 2016’ are debatable, yet from those I have counted, the financial markets, freedoms, liberty, and ‘reasoned debate’ stand among those who lost their lives to this tumultuous downpour of ignorance and resentment.
Yet there is light through the clouds, there is brightness behind the dull. All storms, monsoons, squalls, and cyclones eventually die down. Until then, those opposed to the storm need to protect themselves. Board up their houses with sandbags made of logic, and seal the cracks with cement made from reason. Not only that, but they should spread the word so that others can do the same; they should help revive the corpse of reasoned debate rather than add to the noise of the thunder with angry retorts and rhetoric.
‘The Great Storm of 2016’ has truly been ‘great’ and terrible. Now, we shall see where its winds will carry us.
Luke J Goodstadt is currently studying History and Politics. When he is not attending lectures he enjoys cycling, reading and writing.