#NerveBigReview2018: Top 5 political stories

Jeremy Corbin

Every year seems to be more turbulent than the last. 2018 is no exception in the world of politics. From climate change to mounting tensions with Russia, Brexit to Trump, there’s plenty going on to keep us fixed to the news.

Ryan Evans has the unenviable task of picking the top 5 political stories of the year to kick off the #NerveBigReview2018 …

1. Brexit

You couldn’t get away from this if you tried. By far the most dominant political news this year was the daily update on the Brexit negotiations. David Davis resigned as Brexit secretary in July, replaced by Dominic Raab. And just as it seemed like there was going to be a deal, Theresa May was set back with seven high profile resignations in one day. Who knows what’s going to happen before Brexit day in March?

2. Ireland repeals the 8th amendment

In May, Ireland voted heavily in favour of overturning the country’s abortion ban. The eighth amendment had outlawed abortions unless the mother’s life was at risk, but now the Irish parliament will introduce new, more liberal laws. The vote finished 66% to 34%, with Donegal the only county to vote against it. It followed a similar referendum in 2015 to legalise same-sex marriage, and there have since been calls to relax Northern Ireland’s strict abortion laws too.

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3. US mid-terms

This year’s mid-terms were just as interesting as world politics has been in the last few years. President Donald Trump had made the significance of the vote quite clear – whilst his name was not on the ballot paper, this was essentially a referendum on his presidency. And it was mixed results for him – the Democrats picked up 30 seats in the House, but the Republicans gained a couple of Senate spots. Both sides claimed victory, but in truth it was a dead heat.

Trump will have a majority in the Senate, and more able to confirm his executive and judicial appointments, but the Democrat-controlled House will be able to block bills. This could either force him to reach across the aisle and make concessions, or just blame them for not getting his laws passed. It could also lead to a government shutdown.

4. Labour Antisemitism row

This long-running row was still going on by the time the year started, but it came to a head this year in September. The Labour ruling body voted in favour of introducing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. However, there was an extra statement inserted, saying that it should not affect free speech on Israel.

The controversy has, in the main, died down since then, but some we’ll have to wait and see whether anything really has changed, and whether the leadership can recover from this.

Garry Knight from London, England [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

5. Facebook hearings

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had been using all of our personal Facebook data for political purposes. This sparked widespread debates about tech company’s use of personal data, and also led to calls for greater regulation of these companies.

Zuckerberg appeared in front of the US congress and European Parliament, but declined to answer questions in Westminster. It sent shockwaves through the social internet, and for a moment it looked like we were reaching a point of no return. However, the storm seems to have been weathered and the eyes of the world will be on Zuckerberg and the other big CEOs to see what they do in 2019.

Guillaume Paumier [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Yep. What a year it’s been. 2019 has been set up for another turbulent year of Brexit and alliances.