How was 2016 for you?

Like many I was fed up with what the elites of Europe and the USA were serving up during 2016. I was unhappy with the policy of half hearted and erratic military interventions in a war torn Middle East. I was hostile to the austerity policies of the EU, creating mass youth unemployment in many parts of the Eurozone and leaving much of the continent  mired in slow growth or no growth. I disliked the way the UK was dragged into many of the EU policies that were hostile to growth, enterprise and expansion.

2016 for me turned out to be a year which has made so much possible for 2017. It was a year of sharp transition, starting with a Conservative victory in the UK General election, spreading to the Leave vote in the referendum and ending with Mr Trump’s victory in the USA. As yet we have little to show for these momentous decisions by the voters. Next year will see how the change we want pans out. Voters could not have been clearer. We want change.

My main memory of 2016 will be debating endlessly with members of the economic and business establishment, who were united in their disbelief at the attitudes of voters. So many of them could see no alternative to the austerity policies of the Euro, to the military policies pursued for more than a decade in the Middle East, or to the continuing squeeze of the commercial banks which kept growth sluggish at best. They were above all lost in incomprehension about why so many people did not believe their forecasts or their remedies, and why so many of us were so frustrated at the tyranny of their conventional wisdom.

The architects of the Exchange Rate Mechanism collapse and recession did not apologise and learn enough from their mistakes. The architects of the commercial banking collapse amongst the Central Banks and Treasuries of the West did not understand their culpability for the Great Recession, nor did they learn the right lessons from their mistakes. The western co-architects of the Iraq war, the Libyan splintering, the troubles of Afghanistan did not learn from their experiences or come up with a better formula for Syria.

Instead the EU and US elites banded together to lecture the Netherlands on how to vote about Ukraine, the UK on how to vote about Brexit, the US on how to vote down Trump and the Italians on how to back a constitutional reform designed to buttress the government. The people saw through them, and made their feelings clear. That is why I am full of hope for 2017. If the elite cannot learn from past mistakes, it is time for new direction and new people in power.

 

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50 Comments

  1. Mick
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    The best thing for 2016 was the people getting to vote on leaving the dreaded eu, but yet again this is going to be challenged
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/29/fresh-brexit-challenge-high-court-leaving-single-market-eea
    Are these people for real do they honestly think for one moment that if they get there way that the 17.4 million will sit back and let it happen, in your dreams I for one will be out there protesting on a scale never seen before, then the witch hunt will start, so be afraid be very afraid because there are a lot of nutters out there

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 30, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      I am not prepared to fight nor to kill over Brexit and the vast majority of Brexiteers feel this way. For this reason alone we are not leaving the EU. The Remainers’ stamina and resourcefulness is inexhaustible and the establishment sees this as a struggle for its very own existence.

      • A Real Brexiteer
        Posted December 30, 2016 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        You’ll just have to drive an ambulance then. Conchie! 🙂

      • Mick
        Posted December 30, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        That’s abit extrem Anonymous I wouldn’t want to see any killing or violence over it, there’s more than anought of that going off in the world today, but if the government or MPs don’t listen to voice of the 17.4 million then come the GE I can only see big gains for the anti eu parties

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 30, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        And their negativity is relentless. Nevertheless, we will leave the EU.

      • oldtimer
        Posted December 30, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        There many constitutional stages to be completed before it will be necessary for anyone to be ready to die in a ditch at the point of a pitchfork. Sooner or later the UK will leave the EU as the people voted.

      • DaveM
        Posted December 30, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        I don’t agree I’m afraid. I’m not sure about kill, but I’d certainly fight for Brexit. I’ve never protested in the streets. When Labour won in the 2000s I didn’t have a tantrum.

        I haven’t protested for various reasons – partly because I’ve never really believed that strongly in a cause, partly because I’m in the Armed Forces, but mainly because I believe in democratic rule. Throughout the Blair Brown years I, like millions of others, stoically voted for Ukip in local and EU elections, Con in general elections, and kept the faith in the knowledge that the scales would eventually fall from the eyes of the masses with regards to the EU and the globalist neolibs who took over the Labour party and the LibDems. I bit my tongue and voted Con in 2015 on the promise of a referendum and fairness for England. Millions of others followed the same path and now, now their patient reasonable voices have been heard, they expect to see the result of their peaceful and patient democratic decision honoured.

        For me, 2016 was a glorious demonstration of democracy in the UK and in the US. And if 2017 turns out to be a demonstration of government and lawyers thwarting democracy you’d better believe I’ll walk 10000 miles to protest if that’s what it takes.

      • Yossarion
        Posted December 30, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        The IRA were small in Number, but successful in the end.

        • Chris S
          Posted December 30, 2016 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          The IRA successful ?

          How on earth do you come to that conclusion ? They were fighting for a united Ireland – can you see any sign of that being achieved ? With Brexit it’s farther away than ever.

          The fact is that the IRA fought itself to a standstill and had no hope of victory faced with a clever and resourceful British Army, even though our soldiers had one arm tied behind their backs. The Good Friday agreement was the evidence that they were never going to win via military means.

          However, the differential birth rate is on their side and sooner or later there will be a majority of Catholics who may vote for a United Ireland. That is if Ireland is prepared to subsidise Northern Ireland indefinitely in the same way we do.

          Sometimes I wonder if we are living in the same world as some contributors.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 30, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Dear Anonymous–Disagree entirely–Please develop more faith in what UKIP represents–They will make inroads right and left especially if there is any backsliding. There is a good Article in the Torygraph today on the subject. Pity though that the writer had rather boringly to bewail there only being one UKIP MP (and he dodgy at that) which will not be the case for long. Nuttall is absolutely made for the job especially in Northern England and with any luck Labour will be blown away as in Scotland. The Article writer (Sorry–thrown away) also made the mistake of warbling about voters’ not following the lead of their MP. Could he have been serious? I have written many times about our silly MP-reliant system and the writer got that round the wrong way–MP’s should try harder simply to do what their own constituencies want–The idea of one’s MP knowing best ex officio is laughable–But then I never did much understand the good stuff about MPs being reps not dels (or the other way round).

      • ian wragg
        Posted December 30, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Anonymous, there are many who are prepared to fight for freedom.
        The likes of gandolf and lizard make it imperative that we continue the fight by all means possible.
        The little people don’t like being mucked about.
        remember… lions led by donkeys…..

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 31, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        In response to everyone:

        My point at 7.11 (irony unintended) was in praise of my fellow Brexiteer. It is also a fact: we are a peaceable and innately law-abiding bunch.

        This will be exploited mercilessly.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 30, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      I don’t quite see the logic behind this challenge, because a decision that the UK shall remain in the EEA after leaving the EU is not a decision which the UK can take unilaterally, and therefore it could not be controlled by the UK Parliament even if the court found that the UK government could not act under prerogative powers and must seek further parliamentary authorisation through an Act.

      The EEA Agreement is a contract between the EU and its member states on the one hand, and three out of the four current EFTA states on the other hand. Originally it was intended to be all of the EFTA states but some transferred to the EU and the Swiss voted against joining, however the text still refers the “EFTA states”.

      http://www.efta.int/media/documents/legal-texts/eea/the-eea-agreement/Main%20Text%20of%20the%20Agreement/EEAagreement.pdf

      “Article 2

      For the purposes of this Agreement …

      … (b) the term “EFTA States” means the Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Kingdom of Norway … ”

      The UK can unilaterally decide to leave the EU but it cannot unilaterally decide to carry on in the EEA once it was no longer on the list of EU member states and nor would it be on the list of “EFTA states”. There are several ways that could be sorted out, ranging from all of the EEA states agreeing to turn a blind eye to the change of status of the UK to all of the EEA states agreeing to amend the agreement, but it would always require the consent of all the EEA parties.

    • Newmania
      Posted December 30, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Most of those millions have gone back to X Factor and couldn’t tell you what the EU was( there was a mighty surge on google the next day while they looked up what they had voted against) . Many will never vote again do not read a paper other than the Sun or Express if they were told it had not happened would merely shrug.
      Its an odd revolution led by the old

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted December 30, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        The old vote, which kind of negates your post.

        The young care about X Factor but do not read newspapers to the same extent as the old.

        My own experience suggests that all age groups voted leave and voted stay. The real determiner was how important sovereignty (in whichever way that is perceived, could be borders, could be regulations) was to the voter’s future prospects.

        Admittedly the young felt more European and were concerned about travel as the old knew it was a red herring.

      • mike fowle
        Posted December 30, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Keep on posting your smug disdain, Newmania. You probably have no idea how much you galvanise people into action.

      • zorro
        Posted December 30, 2016 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        More utter nonsense…. where is your proof for your fatuous comments?

        zorro

    • Timaction
      Posted December 30, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. “………If the elite cannot learn from past mistakes, it is time for new direction and new people in power……………”
      Then the elite will have to be removed by any means if they do not comply with the wishes of the electorate!

  2. Prigger
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    “How was 2016 for you?”

    The actuality, the realisation, the summit seen and touched leading downwards of that which lies OTT ( Over The Top ).

    Namely; things which were on the brink of going too far egs, pc..the growing destruction of free-speech; EU fiscal and monetary integration; prospect of a European army; a face-off between NATO/EU in the Balkans and Ukraine; ratcheting up of sanctions against Iran, Russia; increasing anti-dumping trade war with China; the continual currency wars between even friendly powers to us; armies of displaced persons actually wandering freely across the whole of Europe; the mind-numbing leftie-liberal narrative opening our door to all the world’s poor without limit; the unrealistic chants that funds for medicine are infinite; that welfare should only be increased contiguously and more and more in real terms irrespective of national income; the fact there are few Middle Eastern countries left to even try to democratise as their peoples head for Germany; the idea that criminally imbibed and sold narcotics should be legalised; Rotherham; and, one day before 2017 the gold star pinnacle of leftie-liberal decadence:

    News on social media today: “California Democrats legalize child prostitution.” Yes, Really! I believe the “Washington .Examiner” amongst others has written a piece about
    it.

    In short: Everything has gone far enough.2017 promises great returns to stability freedom peace and prosperity with Brexit, Donald, and a fundamental change to politics, economics away from the wild excesses of ideological leftism, “liberalism” and the green agenda. They started off so well didn’t they? Sounded so nice and sensible. But like all ideologies managed to hurt so many people as their political procedural focus became narrower and narrower as did their minds.Phew! We have escaped their nightmare with the skin of our teeth.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    The proof that the EU is undemocratic is that those in the establishment were not overly bothered when UKIP won the EU election.

    Why ?

    Perhaps it’s because they know full well that the EU Parliament is ineffectual and that our people have no voice. If not true then one would have expected the Newaniacs to have gone into disaster mode then.

    We cannot make changes from within the EU and certainly not self serving ones.

  4. Malcolm Lidierth
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    European Free Movement Instrument

    On 21st December the EU Commission registered a “Citizen’s Initiative” (similar to a UK Parliamentary petition) to modify freedom of movement. As one might expect of the EU, the citizen concerned looks likely to be well known to members of the Commission rather than being an average member of the public and work on the petition appears to have received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (http://beucitizen.eu/news/commission-registers-european-citizens-initiative-calling-for-european-free-movement-instrument/). We’ll need to wait until 11th January to learn details (http://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/initiatives/open/details/2017/000001 from then) but the European Free Movement Instrument appears to be an attempt to limit movement to “Europeans of good standing”.

    “Europeans of good standing” might, I suppose, sensibly exclude terrorists; arms, drugs and people traffickers etc. but it will be interesting see how “good standing” might be defined and by whom (is JR a European of good standing in Mr Juncker’s book?).

    Regardless of details, free movement as a central pillar appears to be challenged here. Is EU pragmatism kicking in? Has the Commission decided to demolish this pillar after realising it might be holding something up?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 30, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      In theory various categories of undesirables can already be excluded, while the rest – those of “good standing”, or as I would put it “well-behaved” – cannot be. As I read the purpose of the petition it is an attempt to reinforce the freedom of movement of the latter while having no material effect on the former. However whatever the aim of the petition the EU Commission would be under no obligation to act upon it.

      I’m aware that some Remoaners are trying to promote a false narrative in which the EU is on the verge of various important reforms that would make it acceptable to the British people and so we should stay in and play our part in developing those plans. The Times was at this only a few days ago with an editorial exhorting the EU to reform, almost as if nothing had changed on June 23rd.

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 30, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      “Regardless of details, free movement as a central pillar appears to be challenged here. ”

      Or perhaps the reverse ?

      As well as not defining “good standing” (quite ridiculous) there is no definition of a “European”.

      So could this directive be targeted to include citizens of non-EU nations, possibly even citzens of countries that most people would not class as “European” ?

      Such as Ukrainians ? Or citizens of all the countries from the “Atlantic to the Urals” (Mr. Cameron’s Kazakhstan speech July 2013) ? Or Turkish citizens ?

      Will this “free movement” include the full rights to be treated as any existing citizen in any EU country ?

      Is this a ploy for the UK to sign before leaving the EU so accepting “free movement” even when we are not a member of the EU ?

    • Peter Gardner
      Posted December 30, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      The EU has already contracted out monitoring of social media to selected service providers who may use their discretion to decide what is hate speech without any parliamentary oversight. We may expect the definition of ‘Europeans of good standing’ to exclude EU-sceptics, anyone who criticises the EU, anyone who advocates an exit from either the EU or euro, anyone who campaigns against an EU policy such as migrant quotas, the EAW or other unpleasant and anti-democratic imposts. Soon it may also exclude anyone who criticises Islam or Palestinians or who asserts the truth of historic connections between Jews and the Temple Mount and other sites in Jerusalem and the Middle East.

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 30, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Listen too the quisling Mandellson. He was waffling about it. It appears that there may be a reduction in free movements controlled entirely by the EC.
      This will the be sold to us a EU reform and a reason to cancel Brexit.
      Nothing will change, just like CMD’s renegotiation.

  5. alan jutson
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Delighted that the people have shown they are fed up with the establishment, but am still not sure the establishment get it at all.

    Getting absolutely fed up that those who have made some sort of effort to provide financially for themselves, by working or saving are continuing to suffer financially through higher tax rates (overall) or low returns.

    Getting fed up with the continuing waste and inefficiency of our money by a government who seem bogged down and incapable of changing anything.

    Absolutely fed up with hearing so many stories on foreign aid waste, when deserving people in this Country are going through hardship and cannot seem to get help.

    Like most people I hope for a better year in 2017, and that we get a clean exit from the EU so that we can once again govern ourselves, but somehow I feel it will be frustration all the way yet again.

    We (the Government) have at last an opportunity, and a mandate, to be in control of our own destiny, I can but only hope our politicians do their duty and take it.

    • Chris S
      Posted December 30, 2016 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      Alan, you can do something about the scandal that is our Foreign Aid budget :

      Sign my Government petition launched last week which calls for the foreign aid budget to be slashed by at least 50%

      https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/175345

  6. Nig l
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Agree totally but unless you also do something about the people who operate the levers of power nothing will change. In the large Corporate I worked for there was a saying. Think of us as a bus. Senior management will put on the front where we are going and we want all of you to climb aboard But once on, please don’t then complain about the direction it is going in.

    The Civil Service, heads of NGOs, Charities that take money from government but complain endlessly about its policies etc, all need a dose of reality and if necessary cleansing to ensure the changes we voted for and you are working towards, actually happen.

  7. Caterpillar
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    2016 has been an insight into the leaders of the ‘free’ world, ex-PM Cameron not triggering A50 being a sad example.

  8. turboterrier
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Good post John.

    If the elite cannot learn from past mistakes, it is time for new direction and new people in power.

    Never has a truer word been said, bring it on. (PBQ)

  9. fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    And it is time for the elite in power to actually listen to what the people have instructed them to do and get on with it. I am sick to death of people with money looking down on the electorate and trying to change everything with court action. Who is in charge here? The government whom we elected to do our bidding or the courts? If it is the courts then they have too much power and things need to change in 2017. I cannot believe that all this time and money spent on the referendum will come to nothing. Some fear we may never leave and that is looking more likely day by day when you see yet more court cases coming up. No wonder this country never gets anything done. Everything take so long. We haven’t even got as far as the House of Lords yet and that will prove to be another fiasco. Yes, we want change and we need it quickly before the people grow tired of the present government. (You excluded of course John)

  10. acorn
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Who exactly are “them”. From out here, I would say you have been one of “them” for 27 years? You say, “If the elite [them?] cannot learn from past mistakes, it is time for new direction and new people in power.” The words of Michael Jackson come to mind: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror”.

  11. Antisthenes
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    2016 has been the year when us the little people the silent majority have decided to do our bit and show our displeasure at the oppressive behaviour of those our self proclaimed betters. Opportunity came because of their inept bungling and their self righteous arrogance exposed their fallibility which always arises after a group have held power for too long. Conventional wisdom was seen as meaning nothing more than their opinion being the only acceptable one. Any other being an heresy. That wisdom being that socialist ideology and progressive dogma is the one and only true religion all of who have to be obedient to.

    We decided that that religion like all religions offered us nothing much now only something in a future Utopian paradise. In fact what is offered now is not pleasant at all. It involves cultural, political and economic sacrifices that we are not prepared to make. We have started to fight back with Brexit and Trump and will continue to do so as long as the opportunities are there and the momentum is maintained. They can of course negate our efforts by making concessions. Enough that will placate us but their current actions would appear to suggest that is not something they are prepared to do. Sops will come in abundance. The rhetoric will change but not their ambitions in the hope that will be sufficient to keep us in our place. It may work only time will tell as there are quite a few more battles to be fought yet. Elections in Germany and France, the Brexit deal, the euro in difficulties, the Trump presidency and some of peripheral importance.

  12. Peter Martin
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I was hostile to the austerity policies of the EU, creating mass youth unemployment in many parts of the Eurozone and leaving much of the continent mired in slow growth or no growth.

    OK but we’ve had unnecessary austerity policies here too. I think I first heard the a-word used in connection to Mrs Thatcher’s economic policies of the early 80’s. It’s debatable that these were necessary, at least with the severity applied, but they at least were imposed for the right reasons. Inflation had been allowed to get out of control in the 70’s and it was necessary to put a squeeze on the economy to reduce those tendencies.

    There’s no reason for any austerity policies in the UK or the EU right now. The danger is deflation rather inflation. Governments should choose an inflation target (we’ve chosen 2%, but maybe that needs to be slightly higher?) and adjust their fiscal and monetary policies to hit it. There’s been far too much emphasis on monetary policy to keep the economy stimulated which is why we’ve ended up with such low interest rates.

  13. Bert Young
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    At the beginning of this year I was challenged to forecast what the level of the Footsie would be ; I said ” 7,200″, it now looks I will not be too far out .

    Looking back there is no doubt that the vote to leave the EU was an enormous boost to my morale . I never voted to join the Common Market in the first place and , as time went by , I became more and more incensed at the development of its bureaucracy and its move to a politicised Europe . I now look forward to “Brexit” . If it’s a “hard” one – so be it ; the world is out there with many challenges and opportunities .

    The year also gave me an opportunity to see and judge just how fortunate we are with the NHS services in my area . The medical profession with all its skills and dedication is truly amazing ; it contributes in so many ways to our health and well-being .

    This year has also been a reminder of just how problematic our dense population has been to all aspects of our infrastructure .It cannot and must not continue .

    As the years roll by I look back and try to judge whether we are basically ” better off ” – or not . Since returning home in 1961 after 10 years abroad I have witnessed “change” in so many ways . There is no doubt that politically we have moved away from a “left of centre” enviroment to one of increasing enterprise and individualism . There is no doubt that poverty has basically disappeared in this time . The attitude to “debt” has also metamorphosed to an irresponsible level . Communities have changed in some areas beyond any sort of expectation and with is has come a loss of certain British hard core values .

    On the negative side I decided to “resign” from my 25 years of voluntary University tutoring . I miss my contact with very bright and challenging young things but I value all the insight it gave me to their enterprise and ambitions . I am confident they have much to contribute to all our lives and futures .

    My last note is one for John . His efforts and his contributions have daily kept me interested and on my toes . He is a fine politician and a man of distinction . We need a lot more of his type .

  14. Peter Gardner
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Over the last two months I have been reading Robert Tombs’s ‘The English and Their History’. What strikes me about the sweep of history up to 2016 is how the state has vastly expanded since WWI, how democracy is relatively recent – 150 years plus or minus – and how democracy did not fully bloom until equality under the law of the land had been established and until the balance of power between state institutions had become relatively stable. These had to come first and without them democracy is not possible. Perhaps above all how much more resilient to overseas events and conditions and therefore more peaceful was English governance and society through the centuries, including the Civil War, compared with those on the continent. Now in 2016, even after Brexit, the EU and its allies in Britain still threaten to undermine these achievements in Britain and to preclude similar developments taking place in Europe, particularly in the accession states (2004 onwards and the current prospective accessions), which the EU bribes with money and promises of freedom and democracy only to deny sovereignty and democracy once the trap springs shut.

    Although there may be some economic cost to Britain, its departure from the EU and restoration of its sovereignty are the only way it can fully play its role in preserving peace in Europe and the world. Inside the EU it can never be more than a single voice, always different from continental voices and always outweighed both by them and by the rules ensuring small states have an equal or greater voice.

    England, and more recently Britain have much to be proud of and have achieved so much more than any of the continental powers, we should not think that Britain, by being at odds with other states in the EU, is in the wrong. It is more likely that Britain is right and they are wrong.

    So in 2017 the question is whether Britain will find the leaders and abilities it needs to restore Britain to be once again a sovereign power of note and a power in the world and, especially, in Europe, that source of the most destructive and widest armed conflicts of the last hundred years. We have the resources and talents but have we and has our Government the will?

  15. rose
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    I am still coming across people and hearing people on the air who won’t accept the failings of the EU. Brexit is all a failing of democracy. The people were stupid. The people were lied to. Ditto in America. I am still told only uneducated people voted Brexit. I am still told the EU is a benevolent force which we have betrayed to the detriment of everyone. And always these people who think they are so much cleverer than we are, betray an ignorance of fundamentals. For example, they don’t know there is a second directive on the free movement of people which includes all people, not just workers. They don’t know about the preparations for military integration. They don’t know what is happening on the continent, unless it is an outstanding outrage. All they know is what the BBC and Sky serve up, and the Guardian. So they think they know about Syria, because that is on the television most days, but they know nothing of the Baltic States. They don’t follow elections on the Continent, other than picking up names to conjure with like Marine Le Pen.

    It is much the same here. They have no clue that while they are living comfortably in their owner occupation, there are people living 12 to a room, and in tents. If they thought about it they would put two and two together: how can you admit getting on for a million people a year without that happening?

  16. English Pensioner
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    “How was 2016 for you?”
    Our 2016 seems to have been dominated by the NHS, probably not an unusual situation for pensioners of our age. Does anyone understand how it works?
    My wife had a heart valve replacement some ten years ago and needs regular blood tests as she has to take Warfarin to thin the blood. For nine years this has been done at our GP’s surgery, about a mile up the road, just about within walking distance on a good day. A mysterious letter arrived from the NHS informing my wife that our GP would no longer be her “Service Provider” and offered a choice of the two local hospitals instead. It took a conversation with the surgery to discover that this referred to routine blood test and that the surgery was not being closed. We now have to drive there, some five miles or so. Not being prepared to pay hospital parking charges every couple of weeks the routine has become to drop her off, go to the Tesco car park and wait for her to ring my mobile! Hardly very ‘green’ and what was a 15 minute job if we drove to the surgery now takes a couple of hours!
    And so the saga continued; my wife needed a non-urgent operation. A date was given, my wife was prepared for surgery when the anaesthetist called it off because he hadn’t been told about her heart condition and needed more tests. They couldn’t be done there and then they were too busy, and appointment had to be made. A month later the tests are carried out, they took all of five minutes and not another patient in sight.
    A month later, another appointment, cancelled on the morning just as we were leaving home because no bed was available. Third appointment was successful!
    So many questions! How much theatre and surgeons’ time is wasted because of last minute cancellations due to the lack of beds? Why does the NHS seem to be so dysfunctional?
    More importantly, I read in our local paper that the local NHS trust will be reducing the number of beds in order to improve their services. Is this for real?

    The only bright spot of the year was the vote for Brexit but we are still left wondering if it will actually happen.
    I note the latest argument being put forward for a second vote is that so many pensioners who voted for Brexit will have died in the last six months and thus the vote is no longer representative!
    Wishing you a Happy New Year and the endurance to cope with this madness..

  17. Peter Wood
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    We in Europe have endured creeping socialism over the last 20-40 years (depending on where you live). I doubt Mrs. Thatcher would recognise the generous social policies of the Cameron government. The fundamentals of this creeping socialism gives the majority of school and university leavers only 2 choices: try to get a job with a major multinational or depend on social security and dead-end jobs. You in government need to move the balance of your tax and business policies back into encouraging the entrepreneur and small business. Real encouragement, such as zero corporation tax for 5 years, targeted investment for research etc. Home-grown technology needs to be supported and developed.

  18. Mark B
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon.

    2016 for me turned out to be a year which has made so much possible for 2017.

    The ‘operational’ word in that sentence, is possible. ie That may exist or happen, but that is not certain or probable.

    Much will depend on 2017. It will be the year, is all goes well, that may well define the first half of this century. No small thing.

  19. Mitchel
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    We will not get a new direction without new people in power.It will be obfuscation all the way without a purge.

  20. ian
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Its all about china now, as for the elite, who is elite, it all changes with people mood, first lesson in politic.

  21. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    it is time for new direction and new people in power

    Indeed, the old politics is broken. We need a new political system. But will never get it while the Tories and Labour play pass-the-parcel with power.

  22. Andrew Gunning
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    “…the elites of Europe and the USA…”

    I think you should put inverted commas round the word “elite”; in my book, they’re certainly not.

    • rose
      Posted December 30, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, quite right. The Prince of Wales said, ” How do you get anything done without elites?” He was thinking of real elites in all their different fields.

  23. Tad Davison
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I feel utterly frustrated thus far, but I’ve been keeping my powder dry for when the real battle begins in the spring when we (hopefully) invoke article 50.

    The arrogant ‘we know best, you do as we say’ ruling classes will not very lightly relinquish their grip on the power they have assumed. It is deeply embedded, and they are well resourced. That isn’t to say we cannot effect the necessary changes. We can overcome biased broadcasting and politicians who harbour sympathies for a foreign political construct in preference to our own – if we stay strong! Yet we must be resolute and unyeilding to see this through to a successful and democratic conclusion.

    At least we now know who the real enemy is for they have been forced to show their hand, and that is their weakness. They are now subject to public scrutiny like never before. No more hiding behind a smokescreen of EU scepticism just to cash in on popular anti-EU feeling, then turning their coats at the last minute.

    Let’s make 2017 our year, and give this nation true democracy where the will of the people is respected, rather than derided and dismissed with the implementation of often very dubious methods to deny us our birth right. We CAN break away from this negative austerity-led protectionist monolith that is the EU once and for all, but beware, the pro-EU people haven’t gone away. They are still hell-bent on selling us down the river, just as they have for the last forty years.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  24. Iain Gill
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    How was it for me? I saw a lot more of my friends kicked out of the workforce and replaced with cheap imports from India and Bulgaria, such is modern life in the information technology business.

    Staggering that anyone thinks things are going well.

  25. NA
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    How was 2016 for you?

    >
    Its not ever yet.

  26. zorro
    Posted December 30, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I still rub my eyes in disbelief that we won the referendum, even though I knew that we could….. I think of all the years that I have had to live in a system which I did not like or agree with, but tried to be loyal and make it work, and see all these ‘I am 48%’ merchants who ceaselessly do their best to be negative and sulk….. I do feel angry but hope for the best.

    zorro

  27. Doug Powell
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    DO RIGHT BY THE DEMOCRATIC WILL OF THE PEOPLE

    As others have noted, there is no solution that will, or can, unite the views of Farage and Clegg! The point of the referendum was to consult the People and arrive at a democratic decision on which path the country should take! I fear that all the talk of “the best deal for Britain” and “deal that will unite both ‘leave’ and ‘remain’”, if allowed to proceed, will dilute Brexit, if not destroy it totally ! It appears that the Brexiteers are being set up for the Great Betrayal!

    The driving force behind the delivery of an honest solution to Brexit, should be the desire to DO RIGHT by the winning side of the Referendum. Had Remain won, would they have considered taking on board the concerns of the Leavers? We know the answer to that! So why should Brexit have to accommodate the views of Remain, ostensibly as a sop to national unity? There can be no reconciliation until AFTER Brexit is a reality! At that point the Remoaners will have a choice to make: Do they wish to continue living among those they have labelled ‘Racist’ and Uneducated, or would they prefer to live in the EU Wunderland and emigrate to one of the 27 options available. Whereas the True Brits have only one option – to live here! I should say to the Prime Minister that there is likely to be far more social unrest if she is responsible for cheating us out of Brexit than if she champions Brexit!

    For those who claim they are ignorant of what Brexit means, well here it is: To take back our sovereignty – Initiate our own legislation – Control our borders – No free movement of people – No to the Single Market – No to Custom’s Union – No Financial Contributions – Reclaim our Territorial Waters for UK fishermen, so that our fisheries can restock themselves, and the industry rebuilt – Leave ECHR. No negotiations required for any the above!

    A decoding of “the best deal for Britain” suggests that the Prime minister has been nobbled by the Banks and Multi Nationals issuing threats of leaving the UK if there ceases to be free movement of people, ie, cheap labour, or sweetheart deals for the Financial Sector, which would come at a huge price! The Banks, Multi Nationals, and mega rich individuals have profited disproportionately from QE to the disadvantage of the rest of the population, who have had to endure years of austerity.

    The referendum was won by an unforeseen coalition of former Labour areas of heavy industry, where unemployment has been devastating and new jobs few, and the Tory shires, where the middle classes are being wiped out! – People have seen their savings shrivel, and nest eggs dwindle as many help children are now having limited opportunities and cannot afford to leave home.

    So, does our Prime Minister succumb to threats from the Financial Interests, or call their bluff! Faced with reality, I expect they will recognise that the UK is the most stable place to do business! So, I repeat – DO RIGHT by the democratic will of the people, Prime Minister!

    I suggest Mrs May mull over some advice from the Bard, tailored for her office.

    There is a tide in the affairs of Prime Ministers.
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat,
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures.

    Mrs May, should you decide to DO RIGHT by the Democratic Will of the People, your legacy will be a prominent and permanent place in the Halls of Greatness of British Prime Ministers. Should you decide upon short termism and SELL OUT, then your legacy will be a place beside your predecessor in History’s column of Appeasers. Your predecessor ran away and failed to make good his promise to invoke Article 50 on the 24th June. You, I judge, have greater strength of character than to run away, but that is insufficient to turn wrong into right, and will not cement your position for long. Your ears will soon be ringing and stinging as voices from your benches and the country at large shout out the words of Leo Amery – “IN THE NAME of GOD, GO!”

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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