The Year That Was – 2017

The Year That Was – 2017

Pagefield General

 

If 2016 was a year of surprises, 2017 was the year of their consequences and counterparts.

It has been a year dominated by Brexit’s unrelenting political fallout. Of course, this included an election that came with its own shock: the rise of Corbynism and the struggles of strength and stability. Globally, we have had our first taste of Trumpism, witnessed the march of Macron and seen Merkel’s hold chipped away. It will be a year remembered for the Grenfell tragedy, a #MeToo cultural tsunami and cryptocurrency craziness.

Here, we speak to five Pagefield friends to get their take on yet another mind-bending twelve months.

 

Tim Shipman, Political Editor, Sunday Times

Describe 2017 in five words

Weak and stable leadership prevails.

Biggest political surprise?

The exit poll.

The year’s greatest PR triumph…

The Labour manifesto.

…and its biggest PR disaster?

 Theresa May after Grenfell Tower.

Any wildcard predictions?

Theresa May will be 10 points ahead in the polls by the end of 2018 and facing calls for her to hold another election

And what’s your New Year’s resolution?

Not to write books (this will be broken).

Deborah Mattinson, Founding Partner, BritainThinks

Describe 2017 in five words

Maybot, Merkel, Mueller, Meghan, #MeToo.

Biggest political surprise?

A hung parliament, as younger voters confounded pollsters and politicians alike by actually turning out to vote.

The year’s greatest PR triumph…

Labour convincing itself (and a few commentators too) that exceeding low expectations equals a win.

…and its biggest PR disaster?

Too many to choose from but top candidates include United Airlines for beating up a customer, Dove for turning a black woman white, Theresa May’s election campaign and, of course, Bell Pottinger imploding.

Any wildcard predictions?

The one predictable thing in 2018 is likely to be its unpredictability, but I think the Tories may well be leading in the polls by the year end.

And what’s your New Year’s resolution?

To improve the security of my online interactions as cybercrime continues to creep up on us all.

Christian May, Editor, City AM

Describe 2017 in five words

Seems Brexit still means Brexit.

Biggest political surprise?

George Osborne’s appointment as editor of the Evening Standard.

The year’s greatest PR triumph…

Jeremy Corbyn’s Glastonbury appearance.

…and its biggest PR disaster?

Bell Pottinger’s South African disgrace.

Any wildcard predictions?

Labour will settle on a Brexit policy.

And what’s your New Year’s resolution?

Spend less time on Twitter. It only gets me angry.

Laura Kuenssberg, Political Editor, BBC

Describe 2017 in five words

Surprising, riveting, frustrating, exciting, confusing.

Biggest political surprise?

Gavin Williamson manoeuvring to become Secretary of State for Defence.

The year’s biggest PR disaster?

The Tory election campaign.

Any wildcard predictions?

I gave up on political predictions a long time ago.

And what’s your New Year’s resolution?

None of your business!

Claire Fox, Director, Institute of Ideas & BBC Moral Maze Panellist

Describe 2017 in five words

Witch hunts and culture wars.

Biggest political surprise?

Delightfully, two of the most self-regarding politicians being shown the power of democracy with Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond losing their seats in the General Election. (The Tory surge in Scotland comes a close second.)

The year’s greatest PR triumph…

Michael Gove’s re-emergence into the heart of politics.

…and its biggest PR disaster?

London’s Royal Court Theatre’s decision to suspended Andrea Dunbar’s brilliant play Rita, Sue and Bob Too under the auspices of #MeToo, only to then U turn after realising that it’s not a good look for a radical theatre to censor the arts, especially a play by and about working class women.

Any wildcard predictions?

Might that much vaunted centrist party emerge and last longer than five minutes? Or, more in hope than prediction, maybe students and Millennials will revolt against their Generation Snowflake image and become free speech warriors.

And what’s your New Year’s resolution?

To ensure that the brilliant democratic spirit of Brexit is not betrayed and instead ignites an aspiration to forge a future full of new possibilities and exciting challenges.