2016 – Left foot forward?

As the world slowly completes its recovery from the financial battering that was 2008, we see winners like the UK and US, and losers such as Greece, victims of a dogmatic pursual of policy that defies logic, at the cost of ordinary people.

The social costs of austerity are becoming  apparent here too, and public opinion may start to turn as  enthusiasm for spending cuts falters lining the Chancellor’s road to a surplus with political obstacles, more so when the global economy appears to be a repeat of the previous decade as household debt exceeds pre-crash levels. As it stands however, Osborne is on track, with his journey certainly been aided by a splintered opposition more prone to fight amongst itself and shoot itself in the foot rather than attack the failures of the current government.

It’s not all doom and gloom though,  new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn emerged relatively unscathed from his trial by media-stoked fire as he was catapulted from obscurity to opposition leader. Next year promises to be an interesting period in UK politics, as he continues to defy the expectations of the political class, and in doing so providing an alternative to Westminster orthodoxy and austerity.

Across the world we see similar events to Corbyn’s meteoric rise and an increase in anti-austerity movements. In Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada led by Justin Trudeau took power, on a mandate of increased deficit spending. Closer to home we had the rise of Syriza (now broken), and now Podemos in Spain. Whether this momentum can be converted into a political vehicle to bring about change will be a question for 2016, as a failure to find answers to global issues such as economic inequality, migration and terrorism (all of which in my opinion are linked to some degree) will allow right-wing populists such as Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen to gain traction and use fear of the ‘other’ to promote narratives that divide people.

Judging by the unpredictable nature of 2015, 2016 is likely to surprise to carry just as many surprises. For most of us, all we can do is grab a seat, watch, and hope the world doesn’t end in flames.

mj popcorn