Now that we’ve found ourselves in December already, it’s time to look back on 2018. It’s been a busy year politically, both in Westminster and across the pond, but with the current Brexit situation, the biggest political story of the year could still be yet to come.
Besides politics, here’s a look at what else happened in 2018…
World Cup: England’s Summer of Success
Whilst the country was soaking up the sun, England were triumphing at the World Cup in Russia.
A string of wins for England saw fans come together to celebrate, especially after their 6–1 win against Panama and their luck continued, winning a penalty shootout against Colombia, watched by over 23 million viewers.
Unfortunately, England’s World Cup journey came to an end on 11th July, when they were defeated by Croatia in the Semi Final.
Weather: A Year of Extremes
This year has seen some extremes in weather. From late February, heavy snow and freezing temperatures caused disruption to much of the UK, even in the South. Nicknamed ‘the beast from the East’, red snow warnings were issued by the Met Office and the Army was called in to help rescue stranded motorists.
The snow gradually cleared, but it wasn’t over for long. From 17th March, the snow was back in a storm dubbed ‘the mini beast from the East’ and this time amber warnings were issued.
Just a month after the cold snap, the UK experienced its hottest day in April since 1949. Temperatures reached 28°C in some areas.
The hot weather continued and from June and the UK basked in the sunshine for much of the summer, causing drought and wildfires. The worse of the wildfires were in Greater Manchester and Lancashire. The heat wave led to the Met Office urging people to stay out of the sun, as the summer of 2018 became the joint hottest summer on record with 1976.
Royal Family: Two weddings, one baby and another on the way
It’s fair to say it’s been a busy year for the Royal family. On 23rd April, William and Kate welcomed their third child. Louis Arthur Charles was born at St Mary’s Hospital in London, weighing 8lbs 7oz and became the fifth-in-line to the throne.
Just a few weeks later was the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. An estimated 1.9 billion people watched globally. The couple has since announced they’re expecting their first child.
In October, St George’s Chapel played host to the second Royal Wedding of the year for Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.
Other Major Stories of 2018
Thinking back January seems like a long time ago now, but it was a tough start to the year for the country.
The NHS in England faced a winter crisis with patients being stuck in corridors and ambulances as well as facing long waiting times. All non-urgent treatments were cancelled from the middle of January until the end of the month.
Later that month, the number of rough sleepers in England was at an estimated 4,751, the highest level since records began.
An earthquake hit the UK in February – the biggest for ten years. It was a magnitude 4.4 and hit South Wales, although the effects could even be felt in Devon and Cornwall.
Early March saw former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury. After a long spell in hospital, they both survived the attack, which was investigated by counter-terrorism police.
There was sad news on 14th March, when we found out that physicist and author Stephen Hawking had died, aged 76.
Also in March, the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light after a Channel 4 documentary aired. Cambridge Analytica was the company that worked on the Leave.EU campaign and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The documentary discovered the use of fake news campaigns, bribes and operations with ex-spies to influence election campaigns. Less than two months later, Cambridge Analytica filed for bankruptcy, following the scandal.
There was some much needed good news in April when the National Living Wage for people over 25 increased. It rose from £7.50 to £7.83 an hour.
In May, Ph.D. student Matthew Hedges was arrested on suspicion of spying in the United Arab Emirates. After much campaigning and pleas from his family, Hedges was released last month and was able to return to the UK.
In the same month, Marks & Spencer confirmed it would be closing 100 of its stores by 2022, and remember all those emails you got about data protection? That’s because, on 25th May, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force.
In June, the government approved the plan for a third runway at Heathrow Airport. The plan caused much controversy because of the extra pollution it would cause and the homes that would be knocked down to accommodate it.
In July, police began investigating a second nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury, just four months after the incident involving Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
In August, a man was arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences after a car was driven into pedestrians and cyclists outside Parliament, injuring three people.
In September, the Office for National Statistics reported that life expectancy improvements in the UK have stalled for the first time since records began. On average women live for 82.9 years and men for 79.2.
October saw Leicester CityFootball Club’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha die after his helicopter crashed outside the King Power Stadium shortly after taking off from the pitch. Srivaddhanaprabha and four other passengers were killed. For weeks following the accident, tributes poured in from fans.
On 11th November, the UK marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. As part of the commemorations, 10,000 people took part in a march past theCenotaph and there was a ceremony at Westminster Abbey in the evening.
And that brings us to 5th December and who knows what news this month will bring. It’s fair to say this year has been an eventful one.
Photo by AJC1 on Flickr.