My predictions for 2012
2. Boris will make some spectacular gaffe. Perhaps he will suggest, outrageously, that the gentle clean-living folk of Glasgow live on nothing but fried Mars bars, heroin and Buckfast; perhaps he will dispute the widely acknowledged saw that Islam is the ‘Religion of Peace’; perhaps he will point out that HS2 (High Speed 2) is the equivalent of paying the unemployed £10,000 an hour to dig holes then fill them up again, only less useful. Even more certain than the gaffe, though, will be the spectacular recovery. So graceful, charming, funny, self-deprecating, and oddly unapologetic will be Boris’s public apology that he will end up more popular than ever, very possibly in No. 10 Downing Street.
3. Toby Young will turn down his OBE. No question, mate: you deserve one for all the brilliant work you’ve put in with that free school. Here’s the problem, though: you know and I know that our old Oxford mucker Dave is a wrong ’un. By accepting his regime’s baubles, what you’re essentially doing is endorsing not just the good stuff he’s done (Gove’s education reforms) but the bad stuff too (everything else). Wait and see if the offer is upgraded to a knighthood. Then still say ‘No’.
4. The CPS will decide that Chris Huhne has no case to answer over that speeding incident. To celebrate, he will announce plans to build 32,000 more wind towers taller than the spire of Salisbury Cathedral at strategic positions on Britain’s most famous beauty spots from Box Hill to Stonehenge to the Yorkshire Dales. Meanwhile, by spooky coincidence, at the Hadron Collider at Cern, final proof will be established that ‘No: there really is no God’.
5. In November 2009 I wrote a blog titled ‘Ten reasons why it won’t be so bad when the Tories get in’. Each of the ten entries said the same thing: in the promised ‘Bonfire of the Quangos’, ‘Dame’ ‘Suzi’ ‘Leather’ would inevitably lose her job as the head of the Charities Commission. But the Bonfire of the Quangos never happened. And astonishingly £80,000 p.a. (for a three-day week; plus £25,000 p.a. approximate expenses), St-Mary’s-Calne-educated ‘Dame’ ‘Suzi’ ‘Leather’ remains in a job whose primary function, she seems to imagine, is to pursue a spiteful vendetta against independent schools. None of this will change in 2012, except she’ll probably get a pay rise.
6. US conservatives will grow increasingly desperate as they try to find a more plausible Republican presidential candidate for 2012 than Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich. After a nationwide search for an established politician who has stronger conservative credentials than Romney, more charm and less baggage than Gingrich, and broader appeal than either across key demographics, they will finally settle on a Hawaiian-born lawyer of mixed-race parentage with attractive coffee-coloured skin, a rich, speaking voice and a certain presidential swagger. Fortunately, just in time, the US economy will implode in a Mark-Steyn-like apocalypse of riots, hyperinflation and systemic collapse, and everyone will belatedly realise that the answer was staring them in the face all along. Ron Paul.
7. David Cameron will disappoint. You knew that, of course. But not in your most jaded, cynical, pessimistic, masochistic despair fantasies did you ever imagine how much he will disappoint. On tax, on Europe, on the size of the state, on the bloated public sector, on energy and the environment, on Islamism, on crime, on multiculturalism, on immigration, on the economy, on foreign policy, his every decision will be informed by his bizarre conflation of the continued survival of his Frankenstein coalition with ‘the national interest’. This is a bit like being told by your oncologist that in order to secure your ongoing health, it’s imperative that you do nothing to upset your tumour.
8. Ukip will become Britain’s third largest party. This will go almost completely unreported in the media. Other headlines you won’t read: ‘Climategate scientists: “Oh all right. We confess. We’ve just been making it up as we go along”’; ‘Vince Cable: “Only the free market can save us now”’; ‘Archbishop of Canterbury: “If water cannons don’t shift ’em then we should try napalm. It’s what Jesus would have wanted”’.
9. The EU and the euro will not collapse. This is not because they don’t deserve to collapse, obviously. It’s because, just as evil Mister Burns on The Simpsons is kept alive by all the diseases in his body co-existing in perfect balance, so the dark forces of the corporatist/banker/technocrat New World Order will vie with endlessly imaginative cunning and cynicism to find ever new devious ways to keep the zombie corpse still functioning. Those of us who understand this should be grateful. It will give us maybe another year to stock up on gold, silver coins, razor wire, water purification tablets and ammo.
10. City bankers propose a new Luvvie Tax. Every time an overpaid thespian is caught talking out of his or her arse — be it Bill Nighy calling (yet again) for a Tobin tax on the only productive sector of the UK economy, Vanessa Redgrave praising the Dale Farm ‘travellers’ or Richard E. Grant berating Margaret Thatcher for not having taken Michael Heseltine’s advice on Europe, they have to surrender their third home in Tuscany and get a lifetime ban from the Ivy.