Tom Inniss Journalist and podcaster

Well, that happened… 2017

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Welcome to the big news round-up of 2017. What better way to start 2018 than looking firmly in the rear-view mirror and seeing where we came from so to make informed decisions about where we go.

From Trump to Apple, from the Oscars to Club Penguin we have you covered!

From Voice’s perspective, this has been a very good year. In April, we relaunched as Voice from Arts Award Voice, and created a dedicated platform for all who do Arts Award called Arts Award on Voice. It was the first year we were Brighton Fringe Youth Media Partner, and got to manage the Best Newcomer Award – which went to the fantastic Mumblecrust Theatre. We’ve also made many updates to the form and function of the website to give you the best possible experience.

But enough about us, let’s look at what happened at the rest of the world in the last 12 months!

CONTENTS

  1. Trump officially becomes president
  2. Brexit Updates
  3. Terror Attacks
  4. Grenfell Tower
  5. Celebrity deaths
  6. Calamitous UK General Election
  7. More countries vote to legalise same-sex marriage
  8. Natural Disasters
  9. La La Land dominated the Golden Globes
  10. And also won Best Picture at the Oscars… until it didn’t…
  11. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engaged
  12. Turner Prize breaks new ground
  13. Disney continues its march to total domination
  14. YouTube had a very mixed year
  15. Nick Clegg gets a knighthood
  16. Great British Bake Off returned
  17. Edward Enninful appointed at Editor-in-Chief at British Vogue
  18. Heads of Diversity appointed at the BFI and BBC
  19. Prince Philip to step down from Royal Engagements
  20. Harvey Weinstein blew apart Hollywood
  21. The Silence Breakers named as Time 2017 Person of the Year
  22. More Headlines…

Trump officially becomes president

Well.

Somehow Donald Trump won the US Presidential election in 2016 and his inauguration was on 20 January. Things immediately looked worrying when his speech laid out an image of an isolationist America, but maybe he would be more even-tempered now he’s in the White House. Nope, by the end of January he had pulled out of TPP, approved the controversial construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and attempted to introduce the ‘Muslim Ban’.

It went from bad to worse really. His top national security advisor Michael Flynn resigned in February due to suggestions he had colluded with Russians. He has since pled guilty to that charge. Trump fired James Comey, the FBI Director who was overseeing the Russia investigation, for apparently not dropping the case.

The White House had a revolving door for staff, with a number of high level people getting fired. In addition to Flynn, Sean Spicer was sacked, Anthony Scaramucci replaced him and was sacked 10 days later, and his advisor Steve Bannon also left – presumably before he was pushed.

He has traded increasingly incendiary words with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un over the regime’s missile tests, and threatened to ‘totally destroy’ the country at the UN. Most recently he moved the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, completely disregarding the two-state solution he said he was committed to. That doesn’t even cover a small percentage of everything that happened over the course of 2017, but there is too much else to discuss!

It’s not all bad news though. Politico have pulled together five things that are now better because of Trump, and just as you might expect, they have improved in reaction to Trump, rather than through his own actions.

Brexit Updates

The country may have voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, but it wasn’t until 29 March that the government invoked Article 50 and began the process of extricating the UK from the EU.

Since then I don’t think anybody could (convincingly) argue that the negotiations have been going well. For months, there was no progress as the UK and the EU failed to agree whether or not the UK should pay a divorce bill, let alone how much it would be. They also couldn’t agree on what – if any – rights EU citizens would get. And then there was Ireland, and the desire to preserve the Good Friday Agreement.

It wasn’t until December that there was some principle movement to resolving these issues. Theresa May has committed the UK to paying a divorce settlement to the EU. Although the official figure hasn’t been released, the press reported that it will be around £50bn. It even looked like they had sorted Ireland with minimum fuss, by saying that Northern Ireland will retain the same legislation as it does currently to prevent a hard border being reintroduced. This was promptly torpedoed by the DUP, who wanted Northern Ireland to be leaving on the same terms as the rest of the UK. No resolution to this has been proposed, but the EU nonetheless has agreed to start discussing trade talks.

What is perhaps difficult is watching the country, the media and public discourse become increasingly toxic and hostile. Anyone who had anything remotely negative to say about Brexit was decried as ‘Enemies of the People’, betrayers and unpatriotic. People appear to be doubling down on the ‘will of the people’ idea, suggesting that it was a landslide victory and nobody would ever think about changing their minds.

Let’s hope people lighten up in 2018.

Terror Attacks

Westminster attack

On 22 March, Khalid Masood drove a car into pedestrians on the footpath on Westminster bridge, before fatally stabbing an unarmed police officer. 49 people were injured and five died as a result of the attack. Masood was shot by an armed police officer and died at the scene.

Manchester Arena

A homemade bomb laden with shrapnel was detonated in Manchester Arena on 22 May, following a concert by Ariana Grande.

Over 500 people were injured and 23 were killed, included the bomber, 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi.

The city, and indeed the country came together to support the victims of the attack, and Ariana Grande held a benefit concert two weeks later, bringing together many high-profile artists including Robbie Williams and Coldplay. Over £10m was raised through the concert and associated Red Cross fund.

Voice voted the One Love Manchester concert as one of the Top 10 performances of 2017.

London Bridge

Just two weeks after the Manchester Arena bombing, three attackers hit a number pedestrians in a van before stabbing multiple people in the nearby Borough Market. Eight people were killed and 48 were injured in the attack, which took place late on 3 June. Campaigning for the upcoming general election was suspected for the day by most of the major parties.

The three attackers were shot dead by armed officers at the scene.

Finsbury Park

On 19 June, a van was driven into pedestrians, injuring roughly 10 people, just 90m from the Finsbury Park Mosque. One person, who was receiving treatment after collapsing before the attack, died at the scene.

The driver, 47-year-old Darren Osborne, was said to be beaten until the Iman of the mosque insisted that he be handed over to the police. Those who were beating Osborne were held back, and the attacked pinned down until the police arrived.

Osborne was initially charged with attempted murder, but the charges were elevated to terror charges. He pleaded not guilty in December and a court case is scheduled for January 2018.

Parsons Green

A bomb injuring 30 people partially detonated on a District line train at Parsons Green tube station during rush hour on 15 September. The homemade bomb partially exploded, causing many to suffer flash burn injuries. The white plastic bucket, left in a shopping bag, was filled with knives and screws, and packed with the same explosive as the 2005 London Underground bombings.

Grenfell Tower

On 14 June, a fridge caught fire in a flat in North Kensington. Firefighters were at the scene within six minutes of being alerted and put the initial fire out. However, the external cladding of the building had also caught fire, and within 30 minutes the fire had spread out of control throughout the 24-story building.

More than 250 firefighters and 70 fire engines were involved in attempting to control the fire, but still it burned for 60 hours before being extinguished.

It transpired that the cladding used was a combustible aluminium panel, instead of the fire-resistant zinc cladding that would have cost an extra £293,368 to fit – just £2 extra per panel. A public inquiry was called, as well as an independent review of building regulations and fire safety. Additionally, inquests were held for all victims.

It wasn’t until November that the Metropolitan police announced that the final death toll was 71.

Celebrity deaths

Although death is an inevitability of life, it is still sad to see much loved public figures go. We should be steeled to the loss of celebrities after the 2016, but it still stings when you see that headline. Here is a list of some of the high-profile people who have left us in 2017

  • Adam West, aged 88
  • Bruce Forsyth, aged 89
  • Chester Bennington, aged 41
  • Chris Cornell, aged 52
  • Chuck Berry, aged 90
  • David Cassidy, aged 67
  • Fats Domino, aged 89
  • George Romero, aged 77
  • Glenn Campbell, aged 81
  • Sir Howard Hodgkin aged 84
  • Hugh Hefner, aged 91
  • John Hurt, aged 77
  • Keith Chegwin, aged 60
  • Liz Dawn, aged 77
  • Malcolm Young, aged 64
  • Michael Bond, aged 91
  • Peter Sallis, aged 96
  • Sir Peter Hall, aged 86
  • Roger Moore, aged 89
  • Lord Snowdon, aged 86
  • Tom Petty, aged 66

Special mention:

MS Paint died, aged 32

Dishonourable mentions:

  • Max Clifford, aged 74
  • Ian Brady, aged 79
  • Charles Manson, aged 83

Good riddance.

The BBC have compiled a beautiful obituary of all of those who have left us this year.

Calamitous UK General Election

After David Cameron’s resignation following the Brexit referendum, Theresa May took over the reins of the country and the Conservative party – not an enviable task despite how Boris might pine for the role.

Although initially saying there would be no General Election, the opportunity to destroy the Labour Party – who looked to be floating around in political irrelevance bickering among themselves – was too tempting.

It should have been a sure-fire thing. The papers and the public were largely of the opinion that Theresa May was going to dramatically increase her number of seats, and Labour MP’s were already trying to noose to hang Corbyn from.

It transpires that May had already tied her own noose – in the form of an unpopular manifesto – and jumped. There was controversy surrounding the ‘dementia tax’ – where it was suggested that the elderly would have to sell their houses to fund care. Theresa May ran a completely negative campaign – attacking Labour rather than offering an alternative. ‘Strong and Stable’ became her one line, repeated over and over like mantra… or a prayer. It was unaided by her terrible, stiff and robotic presentation style.

By the time the country went to the polls, Theresa had successfully tanked her lead, resulting in the second hung parliament in three elections. She was left scrabbling for support, and ended up being propped up by the DUP – a somewhat backward party that is anti-abortion and anti-homosexual. All in all, a complete waste of time.

Read more: Voice

More countries vote to legalise same-sex marriage

It might have felt like the world had become more intolerant in 2017, but rejoice, there are a number of places where the world has become a little bit brighter.

Both Germany and Australia voted to legalise gay marriage, the former using a referendum and the latter voting a bill in the Bundestag.

In Germany, a bill was voted on in the German Parliament to legalise same-sex marriage, and despite Chancellor Merkel’s decision to vote against the bill for religious reasons, it still passed with 393–226, and came into law on 1 October 2017.

In Australia, 80% of the country decided to participate in the vote – an overwhelming figure given it was a voluntary. Only 17 of Australia’s 150 electorate areas voted no. This breaks down to 7.28m people voting yes, and 4.87m opposing the move. Another way to view that is that 61.6% of the country voted to extend the hand of inclusion.

It was also announced that Ireland is to hold a referendum on abortion in 2018.

Natural Disasters

Every year brings with it a more extreme weather, and scientists are saying it is something we will have to get used to as global warming continues to be an issue. Storms and hurricanes are one of the more common outcomes of the rising temperature, and while there may be some who want some ‘good old global warming‘ because it gets a bit nippy, most people will look at the destructive force of nature and want to take action to minimise it.

Hurricane Season

The Atlantic Hurricane season has been particularly devastating this year, and for the time three Category 4 hurricanes made landfall in the US. It is also only the second time that two Category 5 hurricanes have occurred within a single season.

Puerto Rico was ravaged by the storms. It first got clipped by Hurricane Irma which passed just north of the island and left 1m people without power. It then suffered a direct hit by Hurricane Irma, which was smaller but passed straight over the island, passing over the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan, and home to about 400,000 people.

Mexico Earthquakes

Mexico is one of the most seismically active regions on the world, and a number of earthquakes have been particularly devastating. First, the Chiapas earthquake on 7 September (measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale) and then the Central Mexico earthquake on 19 September (measuring 7.1).

The first triggered a tsunami with waves 1.75m above tide level, and was the second strongest in the country’s history. It was also the strongest measured globally this year. Nearly 100 people were killed and over 300 were injured. The shakes could be felt over 1000 kilometres away.

The second came 12 days later – ruling it out as an aftershock – and hit 55 km south of the city of Puebla. More than 340 people were killed and over 6000 were injured. It caused mass destruction to cities around the region, with more than 40 building collapsing.

La La Land dominated the Golden Globes

The Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone feel-good musical dominated the award ceremony with a record-breaking seven statues.

Gosling and Stone both won acting awards, and Damien Chazelle picked up two awards for Best Screenplay of a Motion Picture and Best Director of a Motion Picture. Additionally, Justin Hurwitz picked up a statue for the Best Original Score and the film itself won the category Best Musical or Comedy Motion Picture.

Read the full list of winners: Voice

And also won Best Picture at the Oscars… until it didn’t…

La La Land continued to be lavished with awards when it came around to the Oscars, picking up a further six statues.

Emma Stone picked up the statue for Best Actress, Justin Hurwitz for the Best Original Music Score and Damien Chazelle for Best Director. La La Land also picked up Best Cinematography, Best Production Design and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures.

For a time, it was also the winner of the Best Picture due to an envelope mix-up. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were in charge of making the announcement, and were handed the envelope for the previous award for Best Actress. Nonetheless they read out La La Land as the winner, and it was only two minutes later when the team were on stage celebrating that the mistake was highlighted, and the award was given to Moonlight.

Read more: Voice

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engaged

It was announced at the end of November that Prince Harry was to marry actress Meghan Markle after a 16-month romance.

The announcement started off a flurry of speculation, in part because the limited number of details offered. Since then though we have been given more details, including the venue and the date! Mark it in your diaries:

19 May 2018 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Despite rumours to the contrary, it has been confirmed that the Queen will be in attendance. It has also been confirmed that the Royal Family will be paying for the wedding.

The attendee list is yet to be released, and there is a big question mark over whether or not the Obama’s will be invited over fear that it will upset Donald Trump – who is yet to meet the Queen or indeed, visit the UK.

The key question, are we going to get a day off?

Read the announcement: Voice

Turner Prize breaks new ground

After changes were made to the eligibility of the Prize last year, Lubaina Himid has made history by becoming the oldest winner of the Turner Prize, and also the first black woman to receive the award. The 63-year-old Zanzibar born artist won the £25,000 prize for addressing the legacy of slavery and racial politics through her artwork.

Lubaina Himid’s win was in part only possible due to a rule change last year that lifted the 1991 age restriction of 50-or-younger. However, a second rule change may have also helped. For the first time, judges were allowed to take into consideration the work each artist has put up on display in the Turner Prize exhibition. It’s unknown why that wasn’t the case before.

Read more: Voice

Disney continues its march to total domination

It was a very good year for Disney. Not only were five of the top 10 films Disney properties, but they also made a deal to acquire large parts of Murdoch’s media empire.

The announcement was made mid-December that the House of Mouse was going to purchase the film and TV studios of 21st Century Fox for an eye-watering $52bn. Providing the deal goes through, Disney will own X-Men, Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, Futurama, the Avatar film series and the original Star Wars trilogy to name just a few.

They are also going to acquire Fox-owned cable networks such as National Geographic and FX, and take over Fox’s stakes in Star TV and Sky.

The acquisition is a smart move, given Disney’s intention to build out a Netflix competitor in 2019, but it does lead to questions over whether they are becoming a monopoly.

Read more: Voice

YouTube had a very mixed year

The second biggest search engine and the largest video platform in the world had a very mixed bag. It announced that it has 1.5bn people log in each month (second only to Facebook) and got to boast that the top 10 channels made 80% more than in 2016.

However, that size and growth also means more scrutiny, and that came quick and fast as a number of big names got embroiled in controversy. The platform’s biggest star PewDiePie has often been a figure of controversy, but a Wall Street Journal article reported on his use of Nazi and anti-Semitic imagery and language, he lost his deal with Disney and YouTube cancelled his original show. YouTuber JonTron was another who received backlash after discussing race politics.

Advertisers threatened a full boycott of the platform after discovering that their ads were being played against extremist and racist videos.

Given that YouTube insisted its algorithms were enough to police the website, it might not come as a surprise that YouTube was then caught in another scandal – inappropriate videos were surfacing in its children’s app.

YouTube has committed to increase its moderation team by 25%, and improve its AI to better identify extremist content. Whether or not this will make a difference is yet to be seen, especially with 400 hours of video gets uploaded every minute to the website.

Nick Clegg gets a knighthood

Ask any millennial what they think when they hear the words Nick Clegg and nothing positive is mentioned. The MP will be forever remembered for his total betrayal of students by siding with the Conservatives in tripling the tuition fees after pledging to abolish them. And now he gets a knighthood.

Also on the list of honours is Bee Gees co-founder Barry Gibb, Ringo Starr and author Michael Morpurgo. Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell is to become a dame.

Others on the honour list include England Captain for the Women’s cricket team Heather Knight, Eamonn Holmes and a number of politicians.

Great British Bake Off returned

In 2016, the nation reeled at the news that the GBBO was departing the BBC to make a new home at Channel 4. Also departing were the hosts Sue and Mel, as well as Mary Berry, meaning the commercial broadcaster just to keep the tent and Paul Hollywood. It was then announced that Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig were replacing Mel and Sue, and Prue Leith was replacing the Mary.

The eighth series kicked off in August, to overnight viewing figures of 6.5m – the highest C4 had since the 2012 Paralympics, but far below the BBC One figures from the previous season. The final received roughly half that of the previous season.

Edward Enninful appointed at Editor-in-Chief at British Vogue

Former model and globally renowned fashion editor, Edward Enninful made headlines for being appointed the new Editor-in-Chief at British Vogue after previous Editor, Alexandra Shulman steps down after 25 years at the helm. He worked his way up after working in fashion journalism at i-D, W magazine, British Vogue, US Vogue, and Italian Vogue.

His appointment was also important because he is the first male Editor and the first Editor of colour in British Vogue’s 101 years of publishing. Diversity in fashion has become a unique selling point for Ghana-born Enninful. In 2008, during his time at Italian Vogue, he hailed a “Black models only” issue of the magazine, a first in western fashion journalism and a move that was lauded the world over.

Heads of Diversity appointed at the BFI and BBC

Miranda Wayland

In an attempt to broaden the diversity of the BBC, Miranda Wayland was appointed the new role of Diversity Lead. Wayland joins BBC Studios from ITV, where she previously played a key role in influencing their diversity strategy.

Wayland has made further progress in the industry as a result of her involvement with Creative Diversity Network (CDN), Channel 4, Sky and various independent production companies.

The BFI also appointed a Head of Diversity in the form of Jennifer Smith. Smith is responsible for leading on diversity and inclusion across all BFI activity — identified as key strategic priorities in the BFI2022 five-year strategy. She also works to foster working relationships with those in government and across the film and screen industries to make film in the UK more inclusive and representative.

Prince Philip to step down from Royal Engagements

In a bit of a surprise announcement, the 95-year-old Duke of Edinburgh announced in May that he was to stand down from public engagements in the Autumn.

Prince Philip has been the longest serving royal consort, standing beside the Queen her six decades of rule, but in recent years has had a number of bouts of ill health.

He is a patron, president or member of 780 organisations.

Harvey Weinstein blew apart Hollywood

October saw Harvey Weinstein at the centre of a controversy that tore through Hollywood and then ripped through social media and other prominent industries.

It started with a story published on 5 October by the New York Times detailing decades of allegations against the director. Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd were those who came forward. By the end of October, over 80 women had levelled accusations against Weinstein

The #metoo hashtag took social media by storm, with people posting their own stories of sexual harassment or abuse in a display of solidarity.

Accusations of sexual abuse also came out against stars such as Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., and a number of politicians in Westminster.

Time have compiled a list of over 100 people who have had accusations made against them.

The Silence Breakers named as Time 2017 Person of the Year

The bravery of these silence breakers did not go unnoticed. Time Magazine named those who spoke out against their abusers the 2017 Person of the Year.

The magazine described the silence breakers as “individuals who set off a national reckoning over the prevalence of sexual harassment.”

The front cover featured a composite image of some of the more prominent voices: Taylor Swift, Ashley Judd, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, corporate lobbyist Adams Iwu and Mexican strawberry picker who used the pseudonym Isabel Pascual.

Read more: Voice

More Headlines…

BBC annual report shows a gender wage gap

Jodie Whittaker announced as the new Doctor Who announced

Uber loses its operating license in London…

…and then Sheffield

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child sweeps the Olivier Awards

Sebastian Barry wins Costa Book of the Year – again!

Meet Julia: the first autistic character on The Muppets

Club Penguin closed down…

…And AOL Instant Messenger

Apple shows the world their vision of a modern smartphone

Nintendo redeemed themselves with the Switch

Arts Council England announced the National Portfolio Organisations for 2018-2022

Chelsea Manning walks free from prison

Jane Austen on the new £10 note

Jenny Holzer chosen for Blenheim Palace installations


Header image: Number 10

About the author

Tom Inniss

Tom is a journalist and feature writer with interests in politics, technology and culture. He currently works as the editor of Voice - an online magazine for young people interested in art and culture.

Tom Inniss Journalist and podcaster

Tom Inniss

Tom is a journalist and feature writer with interests in politics, technology and culture. He currently works as the editor of Voice - an online magazine for young people interested in art and culture.

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