After a dramatic 2016, much to give us hope for the new year

Morning View

Morning View

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No one year is entirely like another, given the vast number of things, good and bad, that happen round the world in any 365-day period. But even so 2016 was a remarkable 12 months.

In politics, Jeremy Corbyn lost the support of his parliamentary party and was routinely isolated and humiliated by his own Labour MPs in the House of Commons – an excruciating spectacle, yet he easily won re-election as party leader, and is able to press ahead with a radical agenda.

In America, Donald Trump broke every rule in the campaign book and astonished pundits first by winning the Republican party nomination for the presidential race, and then election to the White House itself last month.

In Britain we voted for Brexit.

Some unionists, including this newspaper, thought the European Union broken but were cautious advocates of that huge step, with unknowable outcomes. But while the ramifications of Brexit are still unclear as the year ends, with Article 50 not yet triggered, the worst of the predictions are not even close to happening.

The UK economy is one of the most robust in the West. There is investor confidence in its markets and in its magnificent, thriving capital, London. Brexit has not yet boosted nationalism. Scottish support for separatism is down on 2014.

Around the world 2016 saw terror and war, but even then there is hope: some experts think global violence is in decline.

Locally, many good things happened this year.

In sport, the Northern Ireland football team did admirably at Euro 2016, and many NI sporting names had triumphs: Carl Frampton, Bethany Firth, Jonathan Rea. Rory McIlroy did not have his best year, but stayed near the top of golf’s rankings.

Michael O’Neill and Firth are deserved honours recipients today.

At Stormont there have been problems, notably over legacy issues and the massive RHI scandal, but devolution is intact, which is no small achievement.

Life on the ground in Northern Ireland, from Culture Night to rock concerts, gets ever more normal.

There are foundations to give us all hope for 2017.

We wish our readers a happy new year.