On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
12 Months of Tweeting
11 Tories Rebelling
10 DUPs Dealing
9 Runs a-Winning
8 British Bake-offs
7 Blue Planets
6 Priti meetings
5 “Oh Jeremy Corbyn’s!”
4 Big Gaffes
3-Line Whips
2 New Royals
And a Greg Clark Industrial Strategy.

 
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12 months of tweeting

This year Twitter has again confirmed its place as the very public battleground of American politics. #MAGA and #ImpeachTrump were two of the most frequent political hashtags of the year. Obama’s Nelson Mandela Quote was retweeted 1.7 million times (the only tweet to receive more this year - or ever - was this less poignant request for free chicken nuggets-turned advert). Trump continued his fine form from 2016. Arguably this year’s most inglorious diplomatic highlight was the President calling Kim Jong-Un “short and fat”.

 
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11 Tory Rebels

Theresa May suffered her first Commons defeat as Prime Minister on the 13th December. 11 Conservative MPs voted for an amendment giving Parliament a final say on the Brexit Bill against the wishes of Government. Following the vote, the Daily Mail printed one of the most controversial front pages of the year, branding the rebels as “malcontents.” The torrent of abusive treatment many MPs, (especially women), receive online makes you wonder how we can possibly encourage the best and the brighted to choose politics as a career, and should worry us all.

 
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10 DUPs dealing

After failing to secure enough seats to form a majority government after calling a snap election, Theresa May looked to the 10 DUP MPs to form  a minority government. Then leader of twelve MPs, Tim Farron, ruled the Lib Dems out of the only possible alternative deal on policy grounds, but perhaps also reflecting the scars and lessons learned from a previously bruising coalition. Instead he called on May to resign the morning after the election. Unsurprisingly she ignored him, which was a sign of things to come for the Lib Dems, still languishing below 10% in the polls. The controversial pact with the DUP involved £1 billion in extra funding for Northern Ireland over the next two years, demonstrating just how effective their punchy negotiating tactics were. With the Irish border top of the agenda in Brexit talks, this will continue to challenge the Government’s political management skills in the new year.

 
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9 runs a-winning

England won the 2017 Cricket World Cup, beating India by 9 runs at Lords. They were joined by the the England women’s football team, who defied expectations reaching the semi finals of the Euros, outperforming their male counterparts! The success of the cricket team was brought back into the spotlight this December after they won Sports Personality Team of the Year. After a miserable Ashes tour to date, this gave English Cricket fans a much needed reminder of what winning feels like.

 
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8 British Bakeoffs

The Great British Bake Off returned for its 8th series, following its controversial move from the BBC to Channel 4. Many swore to never watch it again, with viewing figures for the premiere 4 million lower than 2016. Despite the lower numbers, many people apparently enjoyed it more in its new guise. Whether Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig lived up to Mel and Sue’s legacy is debatable, but it’s hard to deny the brilliance of their shirts.

 
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7 Blue Planets

Blue Planet returned to our screens for a second series this winter.  Across seven instalments, David Attenborough once again captivated living rooms across the country, narrating the the weird and wonderful world of the deep seas. The David vs Goliath battle between an octopus and a shark was our favourite of the dramatic highlights! A serious message about the ways in which humanity is damaging ocean life also resonated. This years unexpected environmentalist, Michael Gove was one of the viewers affected. He said the images of harm caused by plastics “haunted” him and has since vowed to take action.

 
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6 Priti meetings

Priti Patel was the second Cabinet Minister forced to resign this November. The revelation of a  number of secret meetings with business and political figures in Israel was a scandal impossible to survive. The PM’s decision to call her back from overseas to face the sack, led to a significant spike in the flight tracker Flightradar’s 24 website as thousands of political obsessives monitored her imminent departure. She joined Michael Fallon, who quit as Defence Secretary a mere 2-weeks earlier following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

 
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5 “Oh Jeremy Corbyn’s”

As celebrated in our Moments that Mattered exhibition, Jeremy Corbyn went from jam-making, allotment-loving, unelectable zero to un-spun, old skool, socialist hero this summer. He successfully denied the Conservative Government a majority that had appeared  odds-on when May called the election. Thanks to the White Stripes ever adaptable ditty, his name was sung up and down the country with tens of thousands liable to burst into loud renditions of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ at any given time at Glastonbury and a host of other rallies. The chanting and the shock results from the exit polls helped get ‘Corbynmania’ into the Collins Dictionary Words of the Year.

 
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4 Big Gaffes

At the Oscars, the wrong envelope somehow made it to the presenters hands. This resulted in La La Land being awkwardly, incorrectly announced as the winner of Best Picture, which was actually awarded to Moonlight. Gaffe number two saw Paul Nuttall call Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood “Natalie”, not once but twice, during ITV’s Election debate. Then Prue Leith accidentally tweeted the winner of this year’s Bakeoff finale, Sophie Faldo, the morning before it was broadcast, blaming the fact that she was in a different time zone when the blunder occurred. And finally peak gaffe was reached in October, with Theresa May’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference, which was hindered by a pesky cough, a self-destructing backdrop and a “comedy” P45; certainly one of 2017’s hardest to watch moments.

 
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3-Line Whips

The year started with a Labour three-line whip vote to trigger article 50. One fifth of Labour MPs ignored their leader’s directive and decided to rebel. Corbyn’s position on Brexit in particular (when anyone can determine what it is) continues to divide his own party. The drama was not limited to the Labour benches though. Not to be out done on parliamentary discipline, May ordered her MPs to abstain from any opposition day debates or votes on Universal Credit to avoid embarrassing defeats. Her 3 line whip on the Brexit Bill finally failed this month, testimony to the Conservatives transition from ‘strong and stable’ to ‘weak and wobbly’.

 
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2 New Royals

When Meghan and Harry went public with their relationship last year, the British Press showed the worst of what it had to offer. However, a year on, when they announced their engagement, the newspapers were all on board. She was the second addition to the royal family announced this year after Kate and William also revealed they were expecting a third child. Between baby watch and wedding dress speculation, there’s a lot to look forward to for royalists in 2018.

 
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And a Greg Clark Industrial Strategy.

Despite a year full of shock election results, viral videos and controversial website changes, there was still time for some nitty gritty. A riveting (and only partially recycled) Industrial Strategy, subtitled ‘Building a Britain fit for the future‘ was launched the same day the aforementioned Royal Engagement news broke, and quite unfairly overshadowed! Together with the preceding Autumn Budget, there was a whopping 349 pages of policy proposals for the coming years. Haven’t found the time to read it yourself yet? You know where we are…

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Atlas Partners 

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