2 January 2013

New Year Predictions 2013

In January 2011, not long after starting this blog, I posted three predictions (see below) which had surfaced in 2010 and might prove worth revisiting in time. At the beginning of January 2012 I posted three more which had come up in 2011. So what came along in 2012?

Firstly, the future of the UK coalition and the outcome of the next election. On 11 March Max Hastings opined in the Financial Times:
The prime minister [David Cameron] himself looks every inch a king, playing the part of national leader with an assurance Gordon Brown and John Major lacked. Few doubt he will remain tenant of Downing Street after the next election.
But a few weeks later on 1 April, Ed Miliband took the line that might be expected in an interview for the Observer:
Ed Miliband predicts that the Conservatives will be thrown out of office by Labour after one term in Downing Street, … … he said that while his party had much to do, and he was far from complacent, he was now confident the Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition would be a one-term government. "Opposition is a long and difficult haul," he said. "It is going to be a one-term haul, I am confident about that."
On 27 June, Tony Blair, with nothing to lose by being cautious, was interviewed by Sarah Sands for the London Evening Standard:
What are his predictions for the next election? “I think the Lib-Dems will struggle at the next election. My advice to the Labour party is to sort ourselves out with a strong modern policy. Frankly you can’t tell what will happen, if there will be a Coalition or not, but I suspect it will be far more of a two-party fight next time.
Secondly, the future of the euro. And two views on the same day, 20 May. Hamish McRae in the Independent on Sunday:
… I thought it might be helpful to sketch my own most probable outcome. The first thing that seems inevitable is that Greece will leave the eurozone. … an exit in the next two years is going to happen. When it does there will be huge political pressure on the rest of the eurozone to hang together. That could work for a while. The most exposed members, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy, will be bullied and bribed to stay. … These countries have to leave the eurozone. I would guess this will be within five years, so let's say 2017.
But Niall Ferguson took a different view in the Sunday Times (£):
… “I am not a federalist,” he says. “But the costs of the single currency disintegrating are really so high and would impact so many people, that the only responsible thing for me to do is to argue urgently for the next step to a federal Europe. I see no alternative at the moment that isn’t a great deal worse.” He has no truck with the increasing number of people, both commentators and politicians, who entertain the possibility of an orderly exit from the euro for Greece. “It’s too late to unravel the single currency,” he says. … “There has got to be a possibility that this [monetary and fiscal union] will all go horribly wrong with a Greek exit, but it has got to be in the 10% to 20% range [of probability] because this would be so costly to everybody. It would be a massive act of self-immolation and I don’t think they’re that crazy.”
And thirdly, the global shape of things to come in the form of a tweet from Rupert Murdoch on 10 November:
@rupertmurdoch: 2012-2016 changes. Iran gets bomb, china begins major reforms, US crash as bond market revolts, N Africa explodes, etc. What next?

Happy New Year!

The Previous Six

10.1 “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 ...” Tony Blair, now, more than half-way through the coalition’s intended five year life, so looking as though he was “wrong”.

10.2 “whoever wins this [2010] election will be out of power for a whole generation because of how tough the fiscal austerity will have to be” Attributed to Mervyn King, who may still be proved right in that many aspects of the UK’s fiscal austerity have yet to be realised.

10.3 Prince Charles will never be King and that William would succeed his grandmother. Attributed to Princess Diana – too soon to tell.

11.1 Adam Posen predicted that UK inflation would fall below 1.5% by the middle of 2012. Oh dear!

11.2 Henry Kissinger worrying that after ISAF withdraws from Afghanistan, an India-Pakistan war may ensue. We will see.

11.3 My suggestion that the Queen might retire in April 2016 after her 90th birthday. Again, we will see.

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