Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top ten predictions for 2009

You've all been waiting for my top ten predictions for 2009 haven't you? Well, here they are. You may notice some of them are not entirely wild speculation, and many of them are not very cheery, apologies.

Economy: I predict bad news all year, tinged with ingenuity and humour as ordinary people combat the deepening effects of the crisis. There will be a few much trumpeted false dawns, and possibly a genuine levelling out towards the end of the year. Needless to say the next few months will see some big names go to the wall, and sadly many small businesses.

Elections: There wont be a general election this year. Those local elections that take place will, once again, see a very modest increase in the number of Green Party councillors. The Euros will see two comfortable wins in the South East and London for the Greens, and two very tight finishes in the North West and the Eastern region. If we lose them I predict it wont be by much, if we win a seat in either it will be by the skin of our teeth.

Obama: There will be highs and lows. By the end of the year we will have forgotten that there ever was an inarticulate barbarian in the White House. Obama will do enough good to satisfy his (real) supporters that there choice was the right one, undoing many of the harmful decisions the previous regime made and creating a positive vision for the future. He will also make enough pragmatic decisions (specificly in Afghanistan, on the economy and on Israel) to give his leftist opponents meat for their grinder.

Israel: After the shelling stops, the rubble cleared, the dead buried and the fires extinguished it will be back to business as usual. The Israeli electorate will vote to the right and Hamas will become totally dominant in Palestine. Fatah will be completely unable to reverse their terminal decline. Expect more killings and, although the new regime in the USA will appear better placed to make headway as a peace broker, 2009 will not see much movement - perhaps 2010 will be better.

Latin America: There will be good electoral results for the left in El Salvidor, Bolivia, and Ecuador and there will be very positive initiatives across the region which will be almost entirely ignored by the left in favour of their favourite foghorn Hugo Chavez, who has many good points but whose macho confrontational style will completely obscure the work of the left elsewhere in Latin America.

Direct Action: We'll see more and more environmental direct actions, some of which will be quite spectacular, amusing and irritating by turns. It's also likely that we'll see a widening gap between an emerging class of semi-professional activists and the ordinary people who feel less and less inclined to take part in such actions.

Big Brother: Labour's authoritarian streak will continue unabated, and whilst some Labour rebellions will occasional cause the whips a bit of a sweat we will continue to see the unsightly development of the Tories as the self styled defenders of our civil liberties. We can expect attacks on immigrants, the disabled, single mums, poor children, and the rights of defendants, oh, I mean criminals. There will be no further arrests of Tory MPs :(

Trade Unions: as the economy worsens and the general election approaches we'll see more noises from the trade unions, but less action barring the occasional lovely strike. 2009 will see a dwindling of support for industrial action - although I suspect the more leftist unions will still be the ones most able at maintaining their membership in difficult circumstances. The CWU will disaffiliate from Labour, rightly.

Ideology: the most unexpected people will come out as fire breathing anti-capitalists. Whilst I wont predict exactly who, we should expect to see celebrities of the stature of John Sergeant, Eric Bristo and Sooty make the most colourful denunciations of modern capitalism in 2009.

Disasters: the situation in Zimbabwe, Burma, Bangladesh and Indonesia will all go beyond crisis point and the international community's response will range from ineffectual to counter productive. International Development budgets and aid in general will feel the pinch of the credit crunch, much to the detriment of the world's poorest and most vulnerable.

My eleventh prediction is that a great many of you, my cherished readers, will have a very splendid 2009 on a personal level. Regardless of international and domestic politics you'll be falling in and out of love, telling the funniest jokes, delighting children with your antics and comforting those in most need. God bless you all.


scott redding said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
weggis said...

"an emerging class of semi-professional activists"

Do you mean semi-professionals who are also activists, or activists who are semi-professional at being an activist?

Jim Jay said...

I mean essentially a class of activists who treat activism as either their full or part time "job" (although only in some cases will this be paid) and therefore form a clique.

I don't mean that they exhibit professionalism *necessarily* although one of the striking features of the direct action movement "cadre" is that they really do know how to do what they do.

scott redding said...

Obama's greatest difficulty will be with opposition from Democrats in Congress, especially with cutting pork/earmarks from all this stimulus spending.

Disaffiliation, only the CWU?

I've been a bit surprised that we've only had Chernobyl since Three Mile Island, so we may be a bit overdue for a scary nuclear emergency.

Iain Dale has a collection of 2009 predictions.

Jim Jay said...

Well find Obama - and his relationships with political currents inside and outside of the Dems endlessly fascinating - I really want him to be President now so we can start getting our teeth into the meat.

I think only the CWU. There will be a general shoring up of support from unions in the run up to the general election - but it may well not last beyond 2009. imo

Iain's predictions have the benefit of predicting the end of the Independent - which I think extremely likely, which is a real shame. However the quality of the paper has declined over the last year (I suspect as a result of cost cutting) and even ~I've begun deserting ym favourite paper...