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  • Sean Voitov

The Year of 2022 - what it was and what it is to be (maybe)

Madly chaotic. That is the best way to describe our executive over 2022. We started with a PM who had broken his own rules, which he had forced millions to obey, becoming the first PM to have broken the law whilst in office (that we know of). Then it descended into insanity as sexual harassment and tractor porn allegations came out with the final straw being the MP, Chris Pincher, resigning after sexual harassment allegations who Boris Johnson appointed as deputy chief whip despite appearing to know about the claims. After a vote of no confidence which although failed, Boris Johnson faced a mass of resignations in his government to the extent it was struggling to properly function. Eventually, after it was dragged out and skinned as much as possible, Johnson accepted defeat and resigned and a new, refreshing, better prime minister would be elected. Or so we thought.

Liz Truss defeated Rishi Sunak in the conservative leadership race and after a devastating mini-budget which nearly crashed the entire economy and her brutish ways of ensuring her party vote with her, she was forced to resign with the threats of another no confidence vote, becoming the became the shortest ever lived prime minister in British History.

Then came Rishi Sunak who quickly became the next prime minister and is our current one. For now. There has been so much this past year it is ridiculous. What I have mentioned doesn't even include the Ukraine War, the Queen's death, Rwandan flights, American Midterm elections, Iranian protests, inflation and the cost of living crisis all of which deserve their own article (and some of which we have indeed provided you with). But the year is mostly behind us. Much has remained but the commons is quieter at the moment than it was before. In fact whilst we can look at the bad things of 2022 we should look at it with a more positive light, that it was the year that hope emerged. Why should we do this, because we must to deal with 2023.

2022 saw the start of the Ukraine war in March, with the vast Russian army brutally attacking Ukraine from every angle. Even the optimists struggled to believe Ukraine could stand against the size and might of the feared Russian Bear, known for its large missile stockpile and all-in strategy. But against the odds Ukraine is standing and pushing back as Putin scrambles to keep his army, his people and ultimately what is left of his integrity. Despite the political mess that nations faced on their own domestic levels, Western democracy showed itself to be true on principle, that when needs must and freedom is threatened we shall stand shoulder to shoulder. As it prepares to bunker in for what will be another year of fighting and certainly a tough one at that, we should rejoice 2022 as not the year the invasion happened, but as the year the invasion failed and the Western Nations stood despite their differences shoulder to shoulder against Putin's aggressive expansionism and of course as the year when millions of innocent people have braved the hardest most of us will never experience.

UK politics as mentioned has been a mess that caught fire and then exploded. Yet under Sunak, boredom has returned and so has some stability, although the reason might be less wholesome than it might sound. But even better Labour is upping their game. With a high lead in the polls and what feels at the moment a certain victory at the next general election, Starmer is now forming solid policies such as House of Lords Reforms, Transgender Rights and even suggesting tighter Fox Hunting laws. He might not command a majority in the house of commons, he commands a majority of future voters and it scares the conservative party stiff. Whilst a lot is still to come in British politics, in terms of the Labour party and their prospects of bringing a fresh government after 13 years of Tories. 2022 was the year Labour's prospects quadrupled, but 2023 will prove their real worth. And whilst we can see the hope of something new on the horizon, we will have to wait a little while longer yet for everything to get better.

The cost of living crisis is another bat in the face for the average house. Food, Energy, just living is becoming more and more difficult for millions across the country to fund. Food banks see queues stretching the streets, some doctors are having to provide energy to patients who need to stay warm to survive but cannot afford it and people are having to find second jobs and overwork themselves just for their living standards to worsen. From an economic perspective this is the low point for an economy already suffering from an identity crisis with no long-term goal. Inflation continues to be high as the banks make borrowing more expensive and we enter recession which some predict might even go as low as -1%. I have called for a serious long-term plan from the government before, and 2022 did not deliver it, but even 2022 has some economic hope. Firstly economists predict that things will be better by the end of 2023 meaning that some of the worst is over, especially the winter. There is however another point. In the ruins of a city one can look at the devastation, or see the opportunity to rebuild something new. With the economic situation at rock bottom, 2022 has now presented us with the situation where, if the government actually wanted to, could introduce a radical long-term plan that gave the economy purpose. Maybe to specialise in a new market or increase the failing productivity of the country it

To the future and beyond?

This edition of the Toast we cover the future of Ukraine and even the current attitude of Conservative party in their own separate articles. There's so much to happen. But if you have been left feeling that you don't know what the parties want to do with the country anymore then they have heard you loud and clear. The conservatives have done so badly that they need to start their election campaign a year early. We can expect policies by Sunak to be pouring in over the coming months to try and deal with the issues he thinks are the biggest in the country, and that's a very big plate to get through.

It's a clever move that must be admired. It is ironic in the sense that there was so much mess in 2022 that it might actually work out for Sunak. People forget. That is clear to those in politics who do good things but still constantly face criticism over their recent wrong doings. As hardly so many people know exactly what was in the mess of 2022, it's just left at 'a mess'. If Sunak can give the population a solid year of competent governance people might well forget how big of a mess was actually done and suddenly the population can start to forgive the Tories. The British are well noted to be able to not kill each other, that is to avoid civil wars and revolutions unlike our European neighbours, and part of that is because we are willing to forget things very easily. It is of course not that easy for Sunak to suddenly convince people that he is a different conservative prime minister to the other 4 in the past 13 years and get them to forget about all the unpopular things they did, but it is his best chance of winning.

Labour is now under attack. They're going to be met with policies sooner than what parties are used to and against someone who has a lot more charisma than Starmer. They have the high ground, they have the voters, the competency and the valour and honour that many in the conservatives have lost under Johnson and Truss, but this is something that can be outplayed by campaigning masters. To retaliate against this threat Starmer is going to have to finally go into war and do something that was left as the cliffside. Policies, charisma, change. The three things people have wanted to see from Labour must be brought to the battlefield. He will need to muster his own forces so that they unite under his flag. It will be a difficult thing for a party who has been divided in recent years and might relax because of their advantage, but Starmer knows that a fight must be fought until it is won.

The future is always uncertain and this year in politics is no different. If I was to put a prediction to what will happen this year, I think we will see the news pick up in pace in breaking headlines and new announcements. Not like under Johnson or Truss, but like a campaign drawn out across the year. This year Sunak will have to make a choice, to call an election early or not. As it stands the latest an election will be is in January 2025 and Sunak might try and gather as many votes as possible by then or call it the moment the polls look like their in his favour. The latter is not going to happen this year but this year will decide on what he thinks of an election in 2024, but even then, it will take a lot of persuading to people for the polls to seriously change. Finally, Starmer will have to think carefully about what he does next. He will need to be great strategical and tactical general of the Labour Party, not only to defeat the conservatives, but to make sure he will be able to clean the mess if he wins.

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