A Recap Of 2022

Poppy Read-Pitt

Let’s cast our minds back to this time last year, January 2022. This month, like all of the months before it, was largely dominated by news of Covid which -for the sake of our collective sanities- I won’t recount. I’ll instead focus on another devastating blow from the month of January: Joni Mitchell taking her music off Spotify. In response to Joe Rogan spreading misinformation about Covid, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young took their respective music catalogues off the site; personally my worst day of the year as I could no longer listen to Blue. A grand political statement from both artists, as they stood up to a brand prioritising profits over ethics. This was marginally shadowed, however, by both putting their catalogues up on Amazon music instead. Joni, my love, why?

Following on from Tory tomfoolery last year, January also saw the beginning of partygate. At the end of the month, Sue Gray’s report noted that partygate showed “a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time”, yet Boris Johnson remained Prime Minister in defiance of many calling for him to step down. How foolish of us to expect our leaders to be held accountable for wrongdoings.

Over the course of 2022, Musk brought a sort of teen boy energy to one of the most politically influential platforms

Putin invaded Ukraine in February which brought us a defining piece of modern art: ‘Dear Mister President Vladimir Putin’. England made a big show about welcoming Ukrainian refugees, but with some refugees having to register as homeless once the Homes for Ukraine scheme ended, we once again embodied the phrase ‘all mouth and no trousers’ perfectly. February also saw the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, where we juiced the last drops of life out of The Queen. Energy bills rose by 54% in February, as the UK began to enter what we now know as the cost of living crisis.

March was a bad month for victims of child sexual abuse as Prince Andrew settled his law suit with Virginia Giuffre for an estimated £12 million, and the Academy Awards collectively decided that their moral line was: hitting someone inside the venue is instantly not okay but raping a child outside the venue is fine for about 30 years.

April was when everyone’s favourite balding emerald mine heir bought Twitter for a sum of money that no one human should be able to possess. Over the course of 2022, Musk brought a sort of teen boy energy to one of the most politically influential platforms of our time that no one asked for, and arrived with promises of restoring free speech to the site. What this meant in reality was restoring former president Donald Trump’s account, which had previously been permanently suspended back in 2021 for seeming to encourage the January 6th capitol riots. On top of this, Musk took a slightly libertarian approach to Twitter verification tick, when he announced that everyone could get themselves verified via a subscription service called Twitter Blue.

Sorry, the government don’t want the energy companies to feel the financial pinch, so you can effectively go fuck yourself

This was one of my favourite pop culture moments of the year, as we saw lots of users buying a subscription and changing their named to impersonate people and brands. Drug company Eli Lilly & Co fell prey to this when an impersonator tweeted “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.”, which caused the company’s stock price to plummet and meant that they had to publicly reiterate that the lifesaving drug insulin was still being sold for enormous profit. Tony Blair and George W. Bush also got impersonated, with someone tweeting “I miss killing Iraqis” as Bush and another impersonating Tony Blair quote retweeted with “Same tbh.” Meanwhile in the UK, energy prices rose once again by another 54%. Did you want to want to be warm this winter? Sorry, the government don’t want the energy companies to feel the financial pinch, so you can effectively go fuck yourself. Enjoy!

May was an exceptionally bad month for America, as details of a draft opinion to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling was leaked to the public, and a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in a school shooting in Texas. Partygate continued to dominate headlines in the UK, as Johnson clung onto the leadership despite the Met half-heartedly doing their job and issuing 50 more fixed penalty notices for breaches of lockdown rules. Johnson seemed so secure in his own moral position, that he changed the ministerial code so that minsters who broke it didn’t have to quit.

The rug was, for once, pulled out from under Johnson

Platinum jubilee celebrations were back in full force for June and Johnson faced his first vote of no confidence- winning with a majority of 211 to 148. Hide your folders and shelter your civil servants, because Priti Patel is back in the news. Her latest insane and borderline human rights abusing idea was putting refugees on a flight to Rwanda, which got approved by the Court of Appeal in mid-June but was halted the very next day by the European Court of Human Rights. June also saw the biggest rail strikes since 1989. The RMT were followed by a plethora of other trade unions in what many were calling the ‘summer of strikes’.

July saw a mass exodus of government officials and ministers as the rug was, for once, pulled out from under Johnson. In his resignation speech he thanked his wife, Carrie, and his children- though it was unclear if he meant his 6 canonical children or all of his children, the rumoured 8.

August saw the heatwaves hit the UK as 40 degree weather impacted schools, businesses and hospitals and set a new record for the hottest day on record in the UK. Just Stop Oil launches their controversial campaign of direct action this month, and even after the very recent heatwaves, many still seemed to be unconvinced of the pressing issue at hand. Strikes continued throughout August, most notably from the RMT and the CWU.

The Queen’s death and the subsequent displays of patriotic mourning saw the tendrils of fascism creep in

Goodbye Queen and hello Liz Truss, it’s September. The Queen’s death and the subsequent displays of patriotic mourning saw the tendrils of fascism creep in, as a man who shouted at Prince Andrew calling him ‘a sick old man’ was dragged from the crowd by the police and charged with breaching the peace. September was when we saw the hard launch of the disasterous mini budget, which was so poorly received it resulted in the pound’s value hitting an all-time low against the dollar.

In response to this disastrous mini budget, chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng was sacked in October. Rip king. Just Stop Oil were back in the news for throwing soup over Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, which everyone lost their minds about. Aside from the fact that the painting wasn’t damaged (it was behind glass) people still endlessly debated the value of a stunt like that, whether even the potential damage to art was worth the message they were trying to send. Those arguing against the stunt seemed to have forgotten that when we’re submerged under water due to climate change, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers will be too. No sooner had we said hello than we found ourselves bidding goodbye to Liz Truss as she resigned in October after 45 days of premiership. Rip queen. The next winner of the Tory leadership race was man of the people Rishi Sunak, our third PM of the year elected by the Tory party as the premiership began to resemble a monarchy more than a democratically elected position.

November was my personal hell, as a I battled op-eds for Matt Hancock’s redemption arc on Twitter

I’m a Celeb was back on our screens in November, as the jungle controversially welcomed Matt Hancock. November was my personal hell, as a I battled op-eds for Matt Hancock’s redemption arc on Twitter and fan cam edits of him all over TikTok. With journalist Katie Hind confessing that she had a crush on the ‘charming, self-depreciating and buff’ Hancock, November genuinely was a struggle. The long awaited World Cup was also back this month which, while reminding us of what people are willing to overlook for money (cough, David Beckham, cough), also gave us the head of FIFA responding in the strangest way to critics of the World Cup.

It’s December and once against I’ll implore you to hide the civil servants, as Priti Patel is back. Not her exactly, but her psychotic Rwanda immigration plan is back in the news as it’s ruled lawful by the High Court. Happy Christmas!

Poppy Read-Pitt

Featured image courtesy of Phil Shaw via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image. 

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