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Good riddance to 2016, next year cannot be worse, can it? asks Paul Geater

PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:39 29 December 2016

Boris Johnson brought the Vote Leave message to Ipswich in the spring.

Boris Johnson brought the Vote Leave message to Ipswich in the spring.

If I’d been looking in a crystal ball at the start of 2016 and seen all the events of the next 12 months, I think I’d have been left feeling I was having a nightmare, writes Paul Geater.

At least we are finally going to get a better rail service

One piece of news that was good in 2016 was the award of a rail franchise that should really transform rail services across the region over the next nine years.

Abellio’s pledge to introduce a fleet of brand new trains for all its services in the region within the next four years is bold and should make journeys much better for most people.

It’s a decision that could only have come from a privatised rail company.

Can anyone with any knowledge of the old days of British Rail really believe we would have such a transformation on the cards if the fate of the region’s railways was still being decided by a national board sitting in their London headquarters?

The new trains are still between three and four years away being fully introduced – and their arrival will make life slightly less interesting for the region’s rail enthusiasts.

But they should make journeys much better and faster for the travellers in and around East Anglia.

Now all we need is for Network Rail to promise that it will carry out the improvement it needs to do to enable the trains to run at their full potential.

I suspect that will happen . . . eventually.

And then we’ll have to stop thinking of East Anglia’s railways as a “Cinderella service” and see it as one of the best rail routes in Britain.

On the national and international stage it’s been a thoroughly unpleasant year – and the world is now a much nastier and more unsettling place than it was a year ago.

Let’s start with the Brexit vote.

There is much about the administration of the EU that is dysfunctional and I can understand the political frustration that led 52% of the population to vote leave.

But that decision makes no sense economically. It may be what the majority of voters wanted, but the majority of people in this country will be left poorer as a result of withdrawal.

The value of the pound has fallen. That will really hit prices in the shops next year. Will you get a 5%-plus pay rise to compensate for increasing prices?

And the uncertainty the decision has caused will impact on jobs. Nissan was offered a secret deal to stay in the country – but what about other major exporters? How will they cope when we leave the single market?

Because we will leave the single market. There is no way the rest of Europe will let us remain if we want to keep their citizens away from our jobs which is what many voters seem to want.

And the Brexit vote has made society nastier. Warped people with unpleasant views seem to think it’s given them the excuse they need to express those views for the first time in a generation.

And with a tiny minority it’s gone further. We’ve ended up with an MP murdered by a white supremacist and a Polish man who died after being set upon by thugs in Harlow.

Now a noisy advocate of Brexit has accused Jo Cox’s widower of “politicising” her murder. Is that acceptable in the new Britain?

One last point about Brexit. For all its faults the EU has brought peace to its members for the last 60 years after 45 years of conflict during the first half of the century. Could that be endangered by the rise of extremists in a nationalist-focussed continent?

On the other side of the Atlantic we’ve seen a businessman with no political experience being elected president of the USA.

He appears to be bringing in a load of non-politicians to the top jobs and is showing a worrying lack of political nous.

It’s all very well for the public to say they’re fed up with politicians holding political office – but you need some people who know what they’re doing, especially in the world of diplomacy and economic issues.

If you have a specialist heart unit at a hospital with a mortality rate that is too high, do you sack all the surgeons and replace them with accountants? Of course not.

Let’s hope sanity returns to politics in 2017 and that somehow we get through next year!

16 comments

  • Oh no, more comments about how we are all going to starve because of BREXIT. So he's pretending to be an economist now, as well as a general purpose soothsayer! Well 'Mr Ipswich', beware the Ides of March. That's when the BREXIT starts. You might need to book into some kind of clinic for distressed metropolitans during that time, only please don't tell us any more about your silly juvenile angst about the refo.

    Report this comment

    Gobby

    Thursday, January 5, 2017

  • Waspie's wife....Oh dear, chance for a rant. I don't agree with you. I voted leave. Cameron and Osborne were on telly interviews enough time,speaking plainly, "Leaving the E.U. means leaving the single market. There's footage on the net, if you never watch political programmes or the news. There has been growing division thanks to shutting down reasonable debate over the years. It's caused problems for incomers and just as bad problems for locals. While the good needs promoting, it doesn't work long term ignoring the bad.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Tuesday, January 3, 2017

  • Complete and utter drivel from Geater. No wonder Archant is continuing to waste its money on publishing Remainiac propaganda that nobody wants to read! 2016 was a great year, heralding a fresh start for the UK and a break from the dead hand of the EU. The clear majority of East Anglian voters recognise this and are grateful for the chance to break free of nonsense such as this.. Please find some new correspondents who are in touch with your readership and with reality - and get rid of the tired old guard who are just parrots and ciphers for their chums.

    Report this comment

    KJP

    Saturday, December 31, 2016

  • The murder of St Jo of Cox was politiciased by none other than her widower himself! Brendan Cox was exploiting her death and exploiting her children while her saintly body was still warm! Another twist of reality from Mr Ipswich!

    Report this comment

    cthulu

    Saturday, December 31, 2016

  • Quote: "For all its faults the EU has brought peace to its members for the last 60 years after 45 years of conflict during the first half of the century". Er... WW1 1914-1918 & WW2 1939-1945 does not add up to 45 years of conflict! See how Geeter twists the facts? 'Peace to its members...' Er... ever heard of the war in the Balkans, Geeter? NATO bombing Belgrade -a European capital city? Another bogus story from Mr Ipswich!

    Report this comment

    cthulu

    Saturday, December 31, 2016

  • I am so proud of my country voting LEAVE. If the large number of people in Suffolk - and in particular Ipswich - who voted LEAVE made an effort the county would be a much better place. These people who woke up and smelt the coffee... but at the same time is okay with our corrupt local government system, could do so much for Ipswich if they cared to make an effort. Likely wants: a nice town centre, good leisure and culture, and jobs. What we get: new bridge to cover the Orwell Bridge when shut to benefit Felixstowe docks. More people need to get involved. Both local MPs are not local and when voted out of office will just move; you are left with the consequences of their policies and ideals. Didn't Gummer promise to improve the town centre? What has he done? Ipswich Vision is a joke - same people - different name.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Friday, December 30, 2016

  • Maybe not the best of years ! Plenty of unpleasant happenings to rue ! However putting into motion the escape from the United States of Germany surely trumps many of of the downsides !

    Report this comment

    Morgan

    Friday, December 30, 2016

  • Geaters rather golden eyed view of the UK Rail Network today in comparison to the old BR is as always totally laughable and innaccurate. With a national subsidy level 5-6 times greater than BR received, the current Franchisees should be doing a damn sight more than they currently manage. This of course is because they have to answer first and foremost to their profit seeking shareholders. Even with the 10 day shutdown over Christmas, Abellio still draw public subsidy plus compensation from Network Rail for the disruption. What do passengers get? Fragmented reduced service with coaches through most of Essex and East London. Shameful! The euphoria over new trains is all smoke and mirrors also. The trains are all bought by Leasing Companies from which Abellio lease them. Being new Operating Costs should reduce so a net financial gain to Abellio. Meanwhile the Governments obsession with more capacity ensures more trains, but with smaller seats, more standing room and a fundamentally less comfortable and satisfying journey (as confirmed in much Transport technical press). The East Anglian main line had more chance of a fairer investment scenario under one Authority than it ever will under the profit based sham we have today. So Dream on, it won't get much better....and risks getting worse!

    Report this comment

    Disbeliever

    Friday, December 30, 2016

  • I think it's a bit strong to call 2016 an unpleasant year. The beginning of increased uncertainty, yes, but not unpleasant. The electorate were given the chance to vote on staying in or leaving the EU; and the will of the people is going to be respected. That isn't unpleasant at all. The uncertainty lies in when the UK will actually leave and what the future relationship with the EU will be like. I voted remain but accept the result. In the USA it has to be said the presidential election result was bizarre. The Democrats fielded the wrong candidate and the American electorate voted in someone with minimal political experience. We don't know what Trump will be like as president of the USA. This country has experienced times far more troubling than a referendum result and the ensuing political fall-out. There are far worse places to live than the UK and there is no better place to live in the UK than East Anglia.

    Report this comment

    Suffolk Exile

    Thursday, December 29, 2016

  • All seven of Suffolk's former Remainder MPs are now on the Leave bandwagon. A remarkable turnaround, perhaps it has something to do with their mentor and buddy Mr Cameron's summary resignation on June 24th. Not for them a chance of the same fate. We have since had six months of Remainder snivelling, whingeing, complaining and whining about that democratically arrived at referendum result. The most surprising aspect is that the Remainders, with Mr Geater chief amongst them, believe that such name calling and yes, assumptions of moral superiority, will change our minds to back their cause. Not for them a period of introspection, nor careful review of the many opportunities and freedoms afforded by Brexit, but just a stubborn inability to see that they are on the wrong side of history, of economics, and of the popular will. We welcome a new post-Brexit accord with the world which now wants to trade openly with us. Particularly the USA, where we have already taken the step of repairing relations through their new president-elect and the UK's only political leader in support of the new president, Nigel Farage. The future is bright with opportunity.

    Report this comment

    Steven Whalley

    Thursday, December 29, 2016

  • Just to comment on your piece about the trains. You say, "Can anyone with any knowledge of the old days of British Rail really believe we would have such a transformation on the cards if the fate of the region’s railways was still being decided by a national board sitting in their London headquarters?" The answer is "Yes". Think of the huge transformation of the West Coast main line (Euston to Manchester and Liverpool) in the early Sixties. Or think of the "Total Route Modernization" carried out on the Chiltern route in the early Nineties, admittedly with a view to future privatisation. It is my contention that, if the railways were still run as one unified whole, and if they had received the amount of Government subsidy that they've had over the last 20 years, and if no profits had been creamed off for shareholders, we would have a had an absolutely superb railway system. Yes, British Rail had had a reputation for inefficiency; but by its last days it was a much sleeker and commercially-focused operation that knew what it was doing. After all, the "new" Liverpool Street station we have today was a British Rail initiative, largely financed by clever land deals in the 80s boom years.

    Report this comment

    Baptist Trainfan

    Thursday, December 29, 2016

  • Yes Paul, good riddance to 2016 and welcome to 2017. Hopefully the start of our separation from the German Union (I think there are 26 other countries but they don't seem to have any say in the way things are run anyway). Economically we will have more freedom to remove tariffs which are only there to protect industry in other parts of the EU, so things might actually become cheaper. We will also have more freedom with how we implement VAT rules and even remove it from things such as women's sanitary products which are currently liable. Then there is the massive youth unemployment in southern Europe, the bailed out and faltering economies in the Euro zone, the weakness of the European currency, ...

    Report this comment

    Felixstowe Twit

    Thursday, December 29, 2016

  • Quite right there sudders more than a touch of the old "sour grapes" ,don't forget to back the northern bypass in 2017 paul Geater, we know you hate that idea too.

    Report this comment

    Macke

    Thursday, December 29, 2016

  • Come on Brad Jones, this is a laughable piece of nonsense by a journalist who simply does not know the people of Ipswich. Time for the gold watch that is my New Years wish. Just total rubbish.

    Report this comment

    Joseph Marshall

    Thursday, December 29, 2016

  • Well that was a wonderful piece of unbiased 'journalism'. Perhaps whoever wrote this drivel should be forbidden from passing off his crybaby opinions as serious journalism, utterly disgraceful.

    Report this comment

    Sudders

    Thursday, December 29, 2016

  • Proves how out of touch you are Mr Geater ! Overwhelming support in Ipswich for brexit and still you moan you grumpy old goat . Democracy won the day something you and Gummer cannot accept , Gummer has ditched his ideology in order to grab a seat at the top table , what a turncoat he is . I do hope the star removes old grumpy pants and gives him a marks and sparks voucher as a retirement present.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Thursday, December 29, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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