Sunday, 1 January 2017

2017- a brief look back at a puzzling year

What a difference a year makes! As we approached 2017 just 12 months ago, many of us were sick and tired of the way 2016 had gone. So many celebrity deaths, so much disturbance, rack and ruin, all dominating news networks around the globe! Could 2017 be even worse? Quite frankly, we were all getting a bit nervous.

But what actually happened next is still rather puzzling. Let's go through the events of 2017 as they happened, month by month....


Donald Trump was duly inaugurated as President of the USA - and immediately gave a speech declaring that he'd been doing 'one helluvalot of thinking', and was now definitely going to build that wall along the USA/Mexican border.... constructed completely out of solar panels. These would be manufactured in freshly-built state-of-the-art new factories in rustbelt towns across the American mid-West, thus guaranteeing full employment for all. He added that he'd be paying the Mexican government to actually build the wall, because 'those folk can stand the heat'. All the power generated by the said solar panels would be used to produce cheap, genuine all-American electricity that would then pay for an expansion of educational investment across the USA. In a surprise move, a baffled Senator Hillary Clinton was then suddenly reappointed to serve as Secretary of State in the new administration, 'because she can talk foreign', apparently. A nation duly went into shock. And the President started going to Church for the first time in his life.


Nigel Farage's plane disappeared in a freak flying accident (near a mysterious volcano) whilst he was holidaying in Japan. This affected the British Conservative Party Government's plans for leaving the European Union. 'Brexit still means Brexit, but Britain's definitely still in it, to win it', quipped Theresa May during Prime Minister's Questions. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn looked uncomfortable, said something about jam, then sat down to loud cheers from the Government benches. All plans for signing Article 50 were then placed with a standing committee based in a basement office in Westminster (downstairs, past the 'Beware of the Leopard' signs) behind a door that always seemed to be locked, with the keyholder currently away on holiday in the Maldives.


In a complete reversal of 2016's funeral role of celebrity deaths, Easter 2017 marked the first of many surprise resurrections, beginning with the sudden reappearance in Los Angeles USA, of 1940s screen icons Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. On Friday the 3rd, each was seen at midnight stepping naked out of a mysterious electrified bubble floating above a parking lot. Muttering 'We said we'd be back!' the three purloined themselves some clothes, attacked a police station with surprising levels of violence, and were then seen thumbing their way through local phone books, searching for the names of the descendants of several noted film critics -from the 1950s.


For a shared April Fool's Day stunt, the Archbishops of Canterbury, York, Westminster and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, together made an Easter shared declaration that Jesus Christ, as a child refugee, had more in common with many asylum-seekers than the editorial boards of most of our national newspapers. The resulting medical emergencies inflicted upon several newspaper editors (three heart attacks, two coronaries, and in the case of the Daily Mail's Paul Dacre, a small explosion). A week later, the four culprits were seen taking tea together in Lambeth Palace exchanging a series of high-fives and exclaiming, 'Yes! Finally got those suckers!'


The election of many far-Right candidates to the French National Assembly led to the banning of all religions from existence within the secular French Republic, especially if they were Muslim. As an unfortunate legal side-effect, all copies of 'Les Miserables' were banned and pulped for their overtly religious content. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was disassembled and rebuilt in a theme park dedicated to the works of Victor Hugo, and Joan of Arc was revealed to be an English spy.


Vladimir Putin's reign as Russian President-or-was-it-Prime-Minister-no-it-is-President-yes-really came to an end when he finally declared himself to be from now, His Most Holy Tsar Vladimir the First, long-lost God's Anointed of the great Soviet-no-Russian-definitely-Russian-definitely-not-Soviet-no-sirree... people. The planned coronation in St Basil's Cathedral was mysteriously abandoned when a wild-eyed monk was seen appearing from the cold waters of a nearby river, loudly declaring that he was here to save the Russian people as well, and did anyone have any vodka?


Parliamentary News: In the Members' Lobby, Boris Johnson's permanent smirk finally turned on its owner and removed the whole top of his head, thus exposing the terrifying moral vacuum lurking inside. Released, the resulting spiritual vortex began rapidly sucking in all manner of nearby objects and people until being finally plugged when Michael Gove was thrown into the rapidly-expanding disaster area by a quick-thinking lackey who had been watching Brian Cox. The Black Hole's demands were balanced by the Infinite Ego. Isn't Science amazing?


In a further bid at increasing influence, the Peoples' Republic of China announced that from now, the whole world was essentially Chinese territory, and that anyone not happy with this should be considered an Enemy of the People. All foreign governments would therefore be considered as unstable elements in need of re-education. When challenged on this, the Chinese Premier replied that this was essentially only what the British did about 100 years ago, laughed, added, 'I bet that really got you going', and retracted the original statement, adding, 'These Westerners just don't get our sense of humour,' before making a state visit to a prison to declare that all political detainees were going to be set free. Eventually.


On World Peace Day (21st), the long-simmering conflict between Amazon and Google erupted in open warfare, as hordes of Amazon delivery drones made a co-ordinated attack, dropping 'suspicious packages' on Google's corporate headquarters in California. The planned drone assault was initially repelled by a spirited resistance from Google security staff driving Google cars armed with their latest Google-glass laser technology, but the battle closed down a large part of the global internet for several hours. As a result millions of people began stepping outside their own doors, talking to their neighbours and discovering that there were more important things in life than updating their personal profile. Although Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was called in to negotiate a peace settlement, the damage had been done.


Leaders of the the European Union went into closed session to try and sort out the Mess caused by various countries declaring they wanted to either be In, Out, or just Shaking It All About. After three weeks of meetings, it was unilaterally decided that the best way to make everybody get on together as one big happy family, would be to put one country in total control of the whole shebang for one year each. If nothing else, it would cut the costs of administration. Great Britain was immediately placed in control of the whole European Union for the next financial year because Angela Merkel had a mischievous sense of humour, the French had enough to worry about already, and the Italians were being Italian.


The long-standing Great Unspoken Islamic Civil War between Sunni and Shia sects was cancelled, when it became clear that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the People's Republic of Iran had finally run out of oil. Oh dear. How would they be able to pay for all their proxy wars in future? The Middle East slowly began settling into a rather shifty, slightly embarrassing state of peace. This wasn't in the script, surely? The refugee crisis was abating too, as means were found to make the actual places that people were fleeing from, a little less awful. Like not having wars there.


Global warming was officially declared for the first measurable time, to be going slightly in reverse, for reasons unexplained. Was it the decline in use of fossil fuels, the continued existence of David Attenborough, or the cancellation of the X-Factor on British TV? No-one knew, but it cheered everybody up, leading to a rise in consumer confidence, more spending, more journeys and greater pollution, but never mind.


So, 2017 didn't quite turn out the way everybody expected. By the end of it, the European Union had survived, the Middle East was calming down, and the USA wasn't going as insane as everybody had predicted, well at least, not yet- and the planet wasn't going to hell in a handcart.

However, 2018 would be very different....

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Any requests of subjects for future posts in 2016? No idea too stupid for consideration. And yes, I know I am a bad writer, so don't bother saying that unless you can write something better. But maybe there's a topic buzzing around in your head that you'd like to see covered... because I've got a keyboard here, it's loaded with letters, and I ain't afraid to use it.