Hate-fuelled, morbid and varnished with a disturbing veneer of instability, 2016 will forever be remembered as the year the world took leave of its senses.
A reality show celebrity is now the most powerful man on earth, Britain has cut ties with its biggest trading partner and Mo Farah didn’t even make it into the top three spots for SPOTY despite achieving something no Brit has ever achieved before nor is likely to ever achieve again. Like the monotonous computer fix proffered up by the IT crowd or your befuddled father blowing down every socket he can see at the back of the hard drive until he loses his rag – surely it’s time we try turning it off and on again.
In the publishing business they say you can get a year’s worth of news in a day or a day’s worth of news in a year. Over the course of 2016 I feel like I’ve aged at least ten years. We’ve seen Pokemon Go, Trump arrive, Jeremy Corbyn nearly go and Cameron and Osborne definitely go. Sadiq Khan in, Boris Johnson out, Philip Hammond out, Boris Johnson in. We’ve seen Zika, Juno, Rousseff, ISIS, quakes, floods, fires, shootings, bombings and crashes. The Panama Papers and the Paris global climate agreement. The same old gun violence issues in the states.
And then there’s the people we lost. David Bowie, Prince, Harper Lee, Alan Rickman, Nancy Reagan, Muhammad Ali, Sir George Martin, Victoria Wood, Leonard Cohen, Glenn Frey, Sir Terry Wogan, Frank Kelly, Tony Warren, Paul Daniels, Ronnie Corbett, Denise Robertson, David Gest, Carla Lane, Anton Yelchin, Caroline Aherne, Kenny Baker, Shimon Peres, Jean Alexander, Jimmy Perry, Pete Burns, Sir Jimmy Young, Fidel Castro, Andrew Sachs, AA Gill, Ian McCaskill, Michael Nicholson, Zsa Zsa Gabor. All will be sorely missed.
The two preceding paragraphs summarise why we’ve seen a disturbing increase in hate crime over the course of the year and why xenophobic chat has gone from being hushed murmurings in the pub to outspoken and unashamed rhetoric – 2016 has been a year of change, and people don’t react well to change. The blame game that has ensued has also provided politicians with a perfect distraction. While we bicker over immigration and the threat of terrorism, the things that are actually killing people – poverty, mental health, climate change – are being swept under the carpet, and what’s more we’ve been convinced that that is a good idea.
Which is why it has never been as important to have a free, independent press promoting a liberal and progressive voice amid the doctored and hate-fuelled trash been pumped by the majority of the mainstream media. Over the course of 2016 The London Economic leaked the MPs who voted to turn away 3,000 unaccompanied Syrian children, we revealed how the US election was rigged , how the Premier League is facing an imminent financial crisis and continued to out politicians who are doing the country a disservice.
We were also able to provide the light against the shade. Our travel team visited Gaziantep of the Syrian border and uncovered a wonderful province full of love and cheer, they visited the “Worlds capital of cool” Toronto and hiked in Alpine awe of the Engadine Valley. We were happy to support the growth of veganism, denounce immigration traps and bring you the best London has to offer in our food pages as well as shooting the shit with renowned critics such as Jay Rayner. We brought you sporting podcasts from the likes of David Flatman, Tom Shanklin and, of course, our very own David de Winter and co in our sports pages, and looked at the “Sisyphean task” of deciding what tracks to play and why The Berghain’s ridiculous admission criteria is kind of OK in the music pages.
None of this would have been possible without the herculean effort of our editors, in-house writers and contributors, and the support of our readers who have helped us spread the word far and wide. 2016 has indeed been a difficult year, but we must never forget that good will always prevail if we do all we can to support our belief in it. We will continue to champion a progressive voice, we will continue to encourage compassion in the face of adversity and we will continue to out those who seek to work against the will of the many to promote the interests of the few, because we believe in an equal, inclusive society that works for all, and we promise to continue fighting for it.