In usual times one would expect that when a General Election takes place that it would qualify as the political event of the year. Not so for for 2017 according to our Panel. They concluded that the triggering of Article 50 was more momentous. Of course these are not usual times.
There were 1,045 of you who responded to this question. An overall majority – 548 equating to 52.4 per cent – plumped “for triggering of Article 50”. Perhaps it was due to the General Election failing to provide an overall majority that only 34.3 per cent chose that as the Event of the Year. Conservative activists might prefer to forget a disappointing outcome. The decisive Conservative victory that had been expected could well have prompted Jeremy Corbyn’s removal as Labour leader. Perhaps the only ones even more disappointed than the Conservatives that this did not materialise were some Labour MPs who now find themselves stuck with serving under him for another five years.
On the other hand might not future historians agree with our panel? May they not regard the process of Brexit, including the House of Commons vote by 498 votes to 114 allowing it to proceed, as of greater consequence than a lacklustre General Election campaign followed by a result which didn’t really change very much?
Donald Trump’s inauguration came a distant third with 8.33 per cent. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, may be disappointed that his Autumn Budget did not generate much excitement. Only 18 respondents, or 1.7 per cent, decided it was the main event for them.
A few wrote in their own nominations. These included President Macron’s election in France, the Copeland by-election and the General Election in New Zealand.