In 2017, the world came closer to nuclear war than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Not since John F. Kennedy confronted Nikita Khrushchev, have two leaders confronted each other with the bellicose nuclear brinksmanship shown by Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un of North Korea last summer. Trump threatened “fire and fury” if Kim didn't stop testing his intercontinental ballistic missiles. Kim didn’t stop.

Yet, where was the mass political response to this renewed threat of nuclear annihilation? There were no huge CND demonstrations in 2017, as there were in the 1960s and again in the 1980s. Politicians in Westminster have rarely mentioned it, and I can’t recall nuclear war being raised at Prime Minister’s Questions. Nor has here been a clamour from artists, writers, philosophers as in times past. Where’s the “Dr Strangelove" of the 21st Century? The updated “Give Peace A Chance”?

Perhaps it’s because most people regard Trump and Kim as figures of fun, eccentrics who can’t be taken seriously. But it is precisely because these two irrational and impetuous individuals are confronting each other with nuclear arsenals that we should take them very seriously indeed. They aren’t statesmen like Khrushchev and Kennedy, but bumbling incompetents, who hide their lack of vision behind bluster and threats. War may be only a tweet away.

In 2017, key Trump advisers, and former members of his administration, were indicted by the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller, over their Russia connections. It seems only a matter of time until the waters lap around the president himself. What better time to launch a limited war against a pariah state like North Korea? Only there is no such thing as limited war on the nuclear stage.

Here in the UK we’ve been too busy goggling at the resignations of government ministers and MPs over sex, lies and inappropriate touching. Theresa May lost her closest friend, the Deputy Prime Minister, Damian Green, not over porn on his computer, but inaccurate statements he gave about his knowledge of it. To any other administration the resignations of three key cabinet ministers in as many months would be a catastrophe, but May seems to have turned crisis into a mode of governance. Look at Brexit.

2017 will go down, depending on your point of view, as either the worst year for British diplomacy since the Suez crisis in 1956, or the greatest since VE Day in 1945. Suez: because the chaotic handling of the Brexit negotiations has left Britain isolated in Europe and regarded with something akin to pity by most of the rest of the world. VE Day: because the Brexiteers like Boris Johnson believe that 2017 saw a bold “independent” Britain make a triumphant reentry on the international stage, ready to lead the world again, as after the defeat of Germany in the Second World War. There were unmistakeable echoes of Imperial nostalgia in the speeches of the Brexiteers. “It is time”, said Johnson channelling Winston Churchill, “to let the British Lion roar again.”

But Brexit, looks like ending, not with a roar, but with a whimper. The conduct of the Phase 1 “divorce” negotiations were a national humiliation. Nothing made sense. Britain ended up paying a very large sum of money to the EU for the privilege of being allowed to negotiate a poorer trade agreement than the one we already have. To get those trade talks started the UK had to give a cast iron promise that there would be no border, either between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland or between the North and the rest of the UK. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

History may judge that the ten strong Democratic Unionist Party MPs did more to ensure a soft Brexit than the massed ranks of the Remainers in 2017. It was their No Surrender over a border in the North Sea that forced the UK government to promise to remain in “full alignment” with the European Single Market and the Customs Union, if that is necessary to avoid such a border being created, which is almost certainly is. If you have tariffs, or regulatory divergence, you have a border: that’s the very definition of the word.

So we seem to have left the European Union only to find ourselves umbilically connected to it. This is probably, on balance, a good thing - better, certainly, than the cliff edge, hard Brexit advocated by the Rees Moggs. But it’s an odd way to run a whelk stall. Attempts were made to credit Theresa May - who is after all a Remainer herself - with a diplomatic coup in stitching Brexit Britain back into the single market. She is certainly being hailed as the great survivor of 2017. It is indeed a tribute to her sheer, iron-bottomed staying power that she survived her disastrous and unnecessary snap election in June.

It looked like a surefire winner. How could she fail to win a three figure majority against the hapless, bearded, IRA-sympathising Jeremy Corbyn? The Tory press hooted with glee after her fateful Number Ten declaration that Britain needed “certainty, stability and strong leadership”. The result would, we were assured, “Crush the Saboteurs”. The opinion pollsters mostly agreed - which should have been a warning sign, since the polls have been wrong about most of the key electoral events in recent years.

Instead of a majority of one hundred, May came crawling back to Westminster with no majority at all, and had to strike a humiliating and costly deal with the Democratic Unionists in order to govern at all. May had spent much of her campaign, when she wasn’t hiding from debates, jeering at Corbyn’s “Magic Money Tree” which was going to pay for reduced tuition fees and nurses pay. But she had to shake the money tree herself to get the billion pound bung to Ulster’s finest. Truly, 2017 has been the year of the DUP.

It wasn’t Nicola Sturgeon’s year, however. She began well, upstaging the UK government with a rather well-argued White Paper on Brexit calling for Scotland, either to remain in the single market, or be permitted a special relationship to it. If Theresa May had bothered to read the document, she might not have got into such terrible knots about the Irish Border issue. But she rejected it out of hand. In a fit of frustration, Nicola Sturgeon announced in March her intention to hold a second independence referendum. She won a vote for indyref2 in the Scottish Parliament with the help of the Greens. But this was rejected immediately by the UK PM on the grounds that “now is not the time” for another referendum on Scottish independence.

Most Scottish voters seemed to agree with the PM, as Sturgeon eventually realised after she lost a third of the SNP’s MPs - including Alex Salmond and the Westminster leader, Angus Robertson - in the June general election. It was the most humiliating set-back for the SNP since they entered government ten years ago, even though they remain the largest party. Later, the First Minister announced that, after speaking to “hundreds of Scots”, she’d realised that they are indeed - to use the vernacular - scunnered with elections. So she “reset” the indyref timetable. Some nationalists believe the FM will still call a referendum before the fateful date in March 2019 when Britain - and therefore Scotland - leaves the EU. But that seems increasingly like wishful thinking.

You’d think that calling off a referendum might have damaged Nicola Sturgeon's authority. But there’s been no obvious dissension in the SNP ranks. The opinion polls still give the SNP a convincing lead over Labour. And while the Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, won plaudits from the right-wing press throughout 2017, her party ended the year in third place. Indeed, some believe that we have seen peak Ruth. Her belated confirmation that she does indeed see a future for herself in Westminster politics - where many in the Tory party and the press believe she could be the next UK Tory leader - may be confirmation that she sees little long term future in Scotland, despite gaining 12 seats in June.

Scottish Labour also did rather well in the general election, gaining six seats against the odds. In fact, Labour found itself back in contention in a host of Scottish seats. Which made it all the more surprising when the Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale announced in August that she was standing down, to “get a life”. Normally political leaders resign when they do badly in elections. It was another first for Scottish Labour.

She then did her best to eclipse her successor, the prominent trades unionist, Richard Leonard's victory, by jetting off to guzzle bull penis smoothies on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Hell hath no fury, said Labour insiders. Only Kezia Dugdale was hardly a woman scorned, since she had strong support in the press and in the UK Labour Party, as became clear when Jeremy Corbyn insisted that she should not be suspended for bunking off to the telly jungle.

Jeremy Corbyn has been the unlikely hero of 2017, after he won 40% of the UK vote in the June General election. The Tories only won 42%. His relative success indicated that the mainstream London press - which universally condemned him - may have lost its ability to decide elections, if it ever had it. Corbyn was propelled to victory by mostly young left-wing activists in Momentum, which has transformed Labour and made it the largest mass membership party in Western Europe. Old guard Labourites like the former deputy leader, Lord Hattersley, portray Momentum as Trotskyite entryists. But Corbyn’s manifesto is not all that radical. Following the landmark Scottish budget, Labour in the UK is now less left wing, on income tax at least, than the Scottish government.

To understand Corbyn’s appeal it’s worth listening to Ed Sheeran, who became Britain’s greatest superstar of 2017, despite being reviled on social media. Sheeran insists that he is “not political”, but he says he loves Jeremy Corbyn “because he really cares for people”. When Corbyn embraced victims of the Grenfell Fire, no-one thought he was just doing it for the cameras. Few politicians can get away with that. Especially in a year when sleazy politicians of his generation were resigning left right and centre over “inappropriate touching”.

There is something very English about Corbyn’s downbeat, allotment socialism. He loves his marrows, and his jam, and didn’t mind the One Show making fun of him collecting manhole covers. It may be a passing fad, but people rather like the Labour leader in the way they like the BBC’s hit TV sit com, The Detectorists about a couple of blokes who spend their time wandering fields with metal detectors.

In a world of monsters like Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, with everyone shouting at each other on social media, and with Brexit driving everyone round the bend, perhaps Corbyn reminds people of how England used to be: a land of amiable eccentrics, with sheds, who look for buried treasure beneath the dirt of the mundane.