1 January 2011

New Year Predictions

There is a tendency at the end of the year to contemplate the recent past and to consider what could lie ahead, not always drawing optimistic conclusions. This may, of course, be a melancholic reaction to seasonal excesses of food and alcohol. Although I’m not particularly royalist or religious, the tones of King George VI in his 1939 Christmas broadcast, often rerun by the BBC in December, seem to echo this mood. In particular, the King quoted from a poem by Minnie Louise Harkins:
"I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way.'"
The speech can be listened to at the CBC archive, but is not available from the BBC. King George VI’s determination to overcome a speech impediment is the subject of an already acclaimed film, The King’s Speech, which will be released in the UK on 7 January. Apparently it closes with the King’s broadcast at the outbreak of the war in September 1939, which is on the BBC website.

1940 turned out to be one of the most calamitous years in British history, almost terminal. Hopefully 2011, for all its likely problems (the eurozone for one), will be relatively forgettable. Nonetheless, it may be timely to record three predictions which surfaced in 2010 and could prove worth revisiting in the course of time, if not in 2011.

First, in September from Tony Blair’s A Journey (page 120 of the UK edition):
“It will be fascinating to see whether the coalition conceived after the 2010 election holds. It may, since the Lib Dem desire for electoral reform is so intrinsic to them. But if that doesn’t come about, I doubt the coalition will last long. However, I may be wrong ...”
Blair is far too smart to make an unqualified prediction, but if he is right (as opposed to “wrong”), before the end of 2011 we may begin to test the second prediction. This was attributed to Mervyn King by a US economist, David Hale, in an interview on Australian TV and reported by Reuters in April:
"I saw the governor of the Bank of England last week when I was in London and he told me whoever wins this election will be out of power for a whole generation because of how tough the fiscal austerity will have to be"
The third prediction – to be tested well after 2011 one hopes - resurfaced in the media in November when Prince William’s engagement was announced. It had been made by his mother to the effect that Prince Charles would never be King and that William would succeed his grandmother. At Princess Diana’s inquest in 2008, Sandra Davis, head of family law at the elite solicitors Mishcon de Reya, stated that Diana was convinced her prediction that Charles would be forced to stand aside would come true.

End note: I began this blog on 30 October, primarily to amuse myself, and certainly doubtful as to whether there would be any readers. In fact some of my 18 posts since then seem to have gone unhit. However, over 150 visitors have looked at others, coming from countries stretching from the US and Argentina to Singapore, as well as from the UK. Whether anyone has ever felt inclined to come back, I don’t know, certainly I have yet to be left any comments. Anyway, I feel mildly encouraged, and intend in 2011, all being well, to keep posting my views on the same types of topics, and some new ones.

Happy New Year and Bonne Année to anyone who reads this far!

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