Following a year of shock political results and the rise of the alt-right, it feels unlikely that we'll all just be able to get along any time soon. There have been fears over the possibility of new wars, even greater threats from Isis, and of course the most powerful country in the world is about to inaugurate a man who hates half the planet.
But, as we enter the new year making personal resolutions, we can remain optimistic that our politicians will do the same for the sake of everyone. Here's what our columnists have picked as their top political hopes for 2017.
JANE MERRICK: Three things: Theresa May to negotiate a Brexit in the best interests of the British people and not the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party; for far-right parties in Europe to be found out by voters; and for Jeremy Corbyn to step aside in favour of someone who can make a decent fist of being leader of the opposition.
DANIEL HANNAN: That the world should continue to become wealthier, healthier, cleaner and greener – as it did, despite all the headlines, in 2016. Deaths in war, extreme poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, infant mortality and violent crimes are all, proportionately, at their lowest ever levels. There has never been a better time to be alive.
MICHAEL TONER: My passionate hope is that 2017 doesn't turn out to be the year that sees the end of press freedom in Britain, opening the way to the political censorship of our newspapers for the first time since the 17th century. Under new legislation, any paper which refuses to sign to the state-approved regulator faces financial ruin and the likelihood of closure. Her Majesty's Government is now behaving like a common blackmailer to bludgeon newspapers into making themselves beholden to the political establishment. So a struggling publication that exposed the evils of a Jimmy Savile, say, could be put out of business if they chose to sue. If Section 40 is invoked next year the only beneficiaries will be the rich, the powerful and people with something to hide. And the losers, or course, would be the rest of us – not to mention democracy itself.
YASMIN ALIBHAI-BROWN: That good people, liberals, human rights activists, internationalists and those of conscience will find strength, energy and purpose and fight the forces of political darkness. We have been too cowed and perhaps a little too well behaved. We are in a pre-fascist era. This is no time to become fatalistic or roll over.
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL: That neither Brexit nor Trump last the course.
JAMES BLOODWORTH: That the Labour Party elects someone credible and with better politics.
LAURA BATES: A powerful, energised grassroots movement for change, confronting prejudice and bigotry in all its forms and engaging people from all walks of life in standing up against the politics of division and fear.
JIMMY LEACH: Twelve very dull months would be fantastic. We've had enough of drama.
GUYLINER: That we wake up and discover it's all been a dream. But in all seriousness – a backtrack on Brexit. I'm ready for the fallout when it comes. It'll be worth it.