I AM sure that in my column this time last year, I stated that I hoped the hysteria that marked 2017 would be left behind and that a bit of normalcy could be brought back into day to day life for 2018. I hoped for it, but if memory serves, I was not particularly hopeful. I was doubtful that the Tories would get their act together around Brexit, I was doubtful that Labour would get their act together about anything at all, and I was doubtful that the madness that ensues every time Donald Trump decides to tweet something ridiculous would stop.

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My doubts were all well founded.

2018 has been, hands down, the most juvenile period of time I have ever witnessed in politics. Granted, I’ve only been heading to Westminster for a few years at this point, but even my colleagues who have been there much longer than myself will tell you that this year was one for the books.

There’s a reason that one of the biggest memes towards the end of this year was “this is the most 2018 thing ever”. I’m pretty sure we’ll be calling many things “2018” for many years to come.

The debate around Brexit, and what to do about it, has been one of the wildest things to watch. Watching Theresa May running in circles trying to keep her party together while trying to secure a Brexit deal has been painful viewing. From the Chequers deal that fell apart barely hours after it was released; to being humiliated in Brussels; to having a Cabinet with more resignations than positions; through to pulling votes and blocking votes on pulling votes, the Prime Minister has spent the year desperately clinging onto her office (although, clearly having lost all the power that goes with the office long ago), and has left us in the astounding position where we are mere weeks away from the Brexit date with nothing agreed about the UK’s exit from the EU.

It is astounding and dangerous. The Prime Minister’s deal that will be voted on in mid-January (if we ignore all past precedent), is a bad deal for Scotland. It puts Scotland at a competitive disadvantage and will have a huge negative impact on the Scottish economy. A hard Brexit will do even more damage, and we’ve seen reports that the results could be chaotic, with port closures and food shortages. I hope neither of these things happen, but the UK Government has shown such complacency about this possible scenario and it is difficult to swallow. My colleague Philippa Whitford, a renowned breast cancer surgeon, asked a Department for Exiting the European Union Minister about the provision of crucial medical supplies with a short shelf life, and was told to “google it”. Anyone who could possibly believe that this government are going to be able to steer the UK through this Brexit crisis is kidding themselves.

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It’s not just Brexit that the Tories have made a mess of this year. The rollout of Universal Credit has now been completed and the effects are heartbreaking.

People who were already struggling are now worse off in a bid by the UK Government to save a few pounds. Punishing the poor while providing tax cuts to the rich is the Tories’ signature move, but this one is particularly galling.

Universal Credit came into full service in my constituency towards the end of the year and the hurt it has caused is undeniable.

Food bank usage has seen huge increases, and my office has seen a huge jump in the number of people coming to us for help with their social security. The issues are countless, and the Government knew this. The UK Government ignored all the warnings, from councils, the Scottish Government, charities and housing associations and on and on. Next year will see a huge number of people forcibly transferred from their current benefits onto Universal Credit and I dread to see the results.

I’ve barely scratched the surface on this riotous year. Honourable mentions that I do not have enough word space to go into include the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the confirmation that the Leave campaign broke the law, the lady with the sword chasing the man with the big gold stick, the stop Brexit guy, everything and everybody that has anything to do with Donald Trump and his administration, the continued revelations surrounding the #MeToo movement, the UK Government completely ignoring the amazing work by my colleague Joanna Cherry QC MP (with the help of some other wonderful folks in Scotland) in proving that Article 50 can be revoked, about 80 statements made from 10 Downing Streets and 10 Downing Street’s ridiculous Christmas Tree.

The National:
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle seized the ceremonial mace

It’s hard to argue which of these is the most 2018 thing that happened, but they all deserved a shout out.

Hopefully (although said without much hope) 2019 will be better. Hopefully.