Friday, January 02, 2009

9 for 09

I guess it's my turn to try the fortune telling lark. It will be interesting to look back on 31st December and see how many of these actually come true. I suspect this will be more Sybil Trelawney than anything else, although she did get it right once..........

Anyway, here goes:

1 Obama will have a brief honeymoon and then his popularity will drop like a stone as the recession bites in the US and he fails to magic it all away when he takes office. He has already tried to manage expectations about this - in his victory speech he said that he couldn't do it all at once, but I suspect that people will want too much, too soon from him. I think any blip will be temporary as he has the communication skills to deal with it and things will be better by the mid-terms in 2010.

2. There will not be a UK general election in 2009. I don't think the polls are clear cut enough to make Gordon think it's worth the risk. Once he calls the election, there will be a particularly vicious, dirty scrap between Labour and the Tories south of the border which will probably endear neither of them to anybody. Nobody can really predict the outcome and literally anything could happen and I doubt that he would want to take the risk. I think Gordon should announce that he's going in April 2010 and introduce legislation for fixed term parliaments and have done with it.

3. The Liberal Democrats will make steady progress throughout the year. This might not come out so much in the polls, but more in the preparation and continuing the structural changes we need within the party. I think that we will do better than we think in the European elections.

4. Tavish Scott already hit the ground running as Scottish Lib Dem leader in 2009 and will establish himself as the true opposition leader in Holyrood. Annabel is too schoolmarmy and Iain Gray too boring to make an impact. In Tavish we have a warrior with Viking tenacity and fight in him - watch this space as he makes further dents in the Salmond ego and shows the SNP Government up for its failings.

5. Having screeched to a halt in Glenrothes, the SNP juggernaut actually starts to go into reverse. Questions will be asked about what exactly they have achieved, and if they fail to move on key issues such as their extra national income tax, their illiberal plans to stop 18-21 year old adults buying alcohol in off licences and the joke that is their Scottish Futures Trust to name but 3, then they are going to come seriously unstuck.

6. Unless someone takes Israel by the scruff of the neck and says, ok, unless you stop your disproportionate and aggressive behaviour, we are not going to give you any more money/weapons/invites to the White House for tea and sandwiches etc, then the situation in the Middle East will get a whole lot worse. Obama and Clinton need to give the Israeli Government a good talking to, and threaten them if they have to. It will be better for everyone in the Middle East in the long term if they do.

7. The banks will end free banking on current accounts in credit and start charging either a monthly fee, or a charge for every transaction. The last few months has proved that they simply don't care about public opinion and they don't really get what they have done wrong. It's time to make sure that the necessary regulations are put in place to avoid their irresponsible behaviour from putting the economy in jeopardy again. If they won't act in a sustainable way by themselves, then they have to be forced to.

8. A major broadcaster will throw all their toys out of the pram in spectacular fashion after being prevented from doing something perfectly legitimate, but mildly outrageous, because of fears of a Daily Mail Brand/Ross style backlash.

9. Homelessness reaches crisis point as repossessions and evictions force families onto the street and local councils simply can't cope with the demand for emergency accommodation. Preventative action now might help, but I suspect people will have to endure incredible misery before something is done to help them.

10. On a lighter note, the Pet Shop Boys new album will be fabulous, as will the new Harry Potter film. And David Tennant's departure from Doctor Who will be spectacular and emotional. Don't ask me who the new Doctor will be - although I suspect it won't be either David Morrissey or Lesley Sharp. Oh, and Andrew Lloyd Webber will produce a fabulous and very catchy song for Eurovision, which will still get trashed in the competition because of political voting.

Now, those were the predictions, but what are my hopes for this year? World peace and an end to poverty go without saying.

1. Obviously, and most importantly, that Bob, Anna and I get through the year happily and healthily.

2. That Anna continues to do well at school and grows in confidence, quirkiness and curiosity. While I would like her occasionally to just do what I ask without entering into debate (and some of it can be high quality stuff), I don't want to subdue her questioning of authority or her sense of fun.

3. That Powder Puff the hamster will be joined by two new rabbits in the Spring time - this will happen if Anna continues to look after her as well as she has done up until now.

4. That both Bob and I manage to lose some weight and get fit. I know that this is not going to happen by magic and we have to eat better and take more exercise to make it happen.

5. That I manage to get some sort of balance between home and the Liberal Democrats and that I finally get around to tidying the house on a regular basis. But there's always something better to do, a book to read, a place to go, a blog post to write...

And that we find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, find a unicorn in our back garden one morning and definitively discover that the moon is made of cream cheese, cos they are all as likely.

6. That the BBC does not muck around with Strictly too much. Let's not have them pick the young, fit and beautiful exclusively. It's a Saturday night light entertainment show, not a dance competition. Part of its appeal is that the likes of you and I can think that we might just be able to learn to dance. If they can all do it from the start, then we might as well give the show back. They obviously need to sort out the situation with ties on the leaderboard, but they shouldn't diminish the role of the judges, who should continue to speak their minds. I would put the results show back on to Saturday though - I can never wait until Sunday to find out what's happened and it always leaks.

7. That Louis Walsh gets a playmate on the X Factor. He has at times been like a wee lost soul this year without Sharon who was his partner in outrageous and often very funny antics. Oh, and for people not to get stressed when their favourite gets voted off one of these tv programmes - that's kind of the whole point, and there's no point in raising it in Parliament if you don't like the result.

8. That Andy Murray finally makes his mark on Wimbledon.

9. That the whole ridiculous notion of a Team GB football squad for the Olympics in 2012 gets kicked into the long grass where it belongs.

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