It is customary at the end of a year for commentators to assess the year just finishing and as usual we have been treated to the endless opinions of those who like to think that they are the experts. However, as has been rightly pointed out, if 2016 has shown one thing above all, it is that self appointed experts in the field of politics, finance and social affairs are not to be trusted and that their views, far from being objective analyses, are nothing more than the result of their own prejudices and group think.
Despite the millions of votes won by UKIP in the 2015 general election we entered the new year with the so called liberal political consensus still in charge of the UK, continuing to trap us within the EU, while in the United States a well meaning, but ineffectual president, looked set to pass on the reins of power to another of his party who shared his particular view of the world, destroying the power base of the main opposition in the process. We leave it with the UK on its way out of the EU, the liberal consensus in tatters, and an incoming American president with diametrically opposed policies to his predecessor, whose party now controls both the House and the Senate. How many of the experts saw any of this coming, and how they have squealed as their cosy club finds itself suddenly thrown on the scrapheap!
Of course those of us who were out on the streets during the early part of the year, fighting for a Leave vote in June, were far more aware of the feelings of the ordinary people than were the denizens of the Westminster village and their creatures in the media. The enthusiasm which greeted us on the street stalls and on the doorsteps was in complete contrast to the picture painted by the out of touch elite but clearly, judging by the shock and horror with which the latter received the result of the referendum, they really believed their own propaganda.
The losers have spent the second half of the year in denial, while at the same time doing all they can to overturn the democratic will of the people, frequently claiming that the Leave campaign had deceived the poor, gullible electorate while the supporters of Remain had of course behaved in an exemplary manner, so it is worth recalling just what despicable lies the latter uttered. If were we to dare to vote to leave 'Project Fear' involved the most ridiculous claims by all the major elements of the pro EU elite, from the Prime Minister downwards, including, inter alia, the Bank of England, the IMF, the Treasury and the CBI. We were told that interest rates would rise and asset values would fall steeply, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer declared that there would need to be an emergency budget. The Prime Minster prevailed upon his ally President Obama to interfere, promising to put the UK at the back of the queue for any trade deal, while Cameron even tried to make our flesh creep by warning of a Third World War.
In America, despite the predictions of their governing elite, and so called opinion formers, Donald Trump spoke to those who had seen their hopes destroyed by the policies of the selfish inhabitants of the Washington Beltway, as he won a famous victory over the arrogant political class. Whether he will be able to achieve what he has promised is a question for the future but his success, and that of Brexit supporters in the UK, can truly prove to be a watershed in the affairs of the Western democracies.
What has become clear is that those who shouted loudest about respecting democracy have proved themselves to be arrant hypocrites, who only believe in the will of the people if it accords with the wishes of the elite. The list of those now declaring 2016 to be a terrible year includes the BBC, the left liberal press, many know nothing luvvies and supposed celebrities and, of course, the politicians, who have found themselves on the wrong side of the argument. That they are still trying to reverse the decision, through the courts, parliament or even by reviving 'Project Fear' shows just what sort of people they are. They should be treated with the contempt they deserve.
It might seem unkind to intrude on then private grief of the EU but, after the way they have responded to British democracy, perhaps we should point out that the Emperor has no clothes. The sacrifice of Greece, and now Italy, on the altar of the common currency, the devastation being caused by the migrant crisis, and Mrs Merkel's insane policy of open borders, and the reversal of democracy in Turkey are but some of the problems that point the way to a grim future for the European project. That these problems may be overtaken by even worse news for Brussels in 2017 is obvious, as victory for Marine Le Pen would finish matters, and it may be that the EU will collapse before we have had time to leave, another reason to grasp the nettle now and go tomorrow.
UKIP was the only major party whose leadership advocating voting to leave in June and we triumphed. On a personal note I attended the parliamentary assessments in Nottingham in November and, apart from being pleased and honoured to be approved, met dozens of other applicants and was greatly heartened by the calibre of those now seeking to represent the party. There were men and women from all walks of life, among them barristers, retired policemen and service personnel, as well as many from the mainstream workforce. They were all intelligent, committed and decent people and UKIP clearly has a great future.
It hardly needs saying that the threats of the Remain camp have all disappeared in the light of the new dawn, Britain striding forward towards a bright future, as our old friends around the world clamour to welcome us back, and every economic indicator shows we are on the way to growing prosperity. The fall in the value of sterling was overdue and will have the same beneficial effects as did our exit from the ERM in 1992 and from the gold standard in 1931. For us, and for the USA, 2016 can be the start of a new and marvellous chapter in the stories of our nations.