Daniel Korski

A handful of predictions

A handful of predictions
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Here we go. Spurred on by Pete earlier, it's time for that essential, although often regrettable, end-of-year ritual. Not the prosecco-fuelled partying, but rather something with far more embarrassment potential: predictions for next year. That's right, amateur guesswork dressed up as serious-ish journalism.

Some scribes are better at this than others. Ex-blogger Iain Dale hit the nail on the head by predicting the election of Ed Miliband as Labour leader. In a German aquarium, Paul the Octopus nailed all eight of his predictions for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

By contrast, Mike Adams from NaturalNews probably ought to stop trying to channel Nostradamus. Last year, he predicted that nuclear weapons would be unleashed in the Middle East. Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb predicted that, in 2010, Facebook would face a major new competitor – when, in fact, the networking site had a great year. In turn, Vice-President Joe Biden's hopeful forecast that "more people are going to be put to work this summer" came to little, with the unemployment rate increasing to 9.8 percent by winter 2010.

And so – knowing all the pitfalls and having read some of yours here – here are a few of my predictions for 2011:

1. Ed Miliband will face his first major challenge, as he fails to capitalise on the coalition's increasing unpopularity. AV passes by a razor-thin margin.

2. Liam Fox will come under renewed pressure when it becomes clear that the defence budget cannot afford both aircraft carriers. A reshuffle will happen – with some Tory ministers quitting and David Laws being brought back.

3. Problems in Portugal, Greece, Spain and Belgium will mean a weak euro and new initiatives for Eurozone reform, including some form of fiscal federalism – which will endanger the coalition.

4. Pakistan's government will fall, and either the military leadership or Nawaz Sharif will take power. In Afghanistan, talks between Hamid Karzai and the Taliban will begin.

5. President Obama’s popularity will continue to decline to record lows – but he will still poll better than Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney. Haley Barbour will emerge as a Republican front-runner. Colin Powell, meanwhile, will become US Defence Secretary.

6. The global economy will slowly recover, with the US economy – so important for the rest of the world – likely to grow at an annualised rate of around 3 percent for most of 2011 and the UK economy doing better than the OBR's forecast of 2.1 percent.