It's near enough the end of the year now, and since I still don't know where I will be on the 31st (though I can pretty much guarantee I won't be sober), it is now time to review the annual Skinner predictions.
It might be time to return to the day job. Perhaps the crystal ball needs a good wipe down. But it won't stop me having another go tomorrow on what 2009 has in store for us.
Now, on with the show:
JC said: Pakistan becomes the no. 1 threat to world peace. By no. 1, I mean the return of the nuclear fear and five minutes to midnight.
2008 said: This is true. It's not covered so much on the Western media, but Pakistan is desperately unstable and is easily the biggest threat to global security (apart from the United States ongoing foreign policy, which we've had for some time.)
What with the Islamist bombings of Mumbai, the murder of Benazir Bhutto, the ongoing Kashmir issue, the porous tribal area borders with Afghanistan and the instability of Pakistani politics internally, we're set for more sweats from Pakistan, I suspect. Good prediction.
JC said: Bertie gets dumped at long last by Fianna Fail. When the chairman starts offering support to the manager in soccer, it's invariably followed by a sacking. So how else to read the fact that half the cabinet are sympathising with El Berto's ongoing tribunal antics?
2008 said: Jumped before pushed. If one disregard's Cowen's visit to Bertie's office on the Friday before he resigned, that is. That makes two for two.
JC said: A Republican, possibly Romney, will be the next US President. Pace Richard Delevan, who's been proselytising for Obama for some time (which is odd as eggs for an American right-winger), I can't see the US electing a black man. If he ran as Hilary's Veep, they could do it, but the 'dream ticket' will never come off, now that Obama thinks he can gain the nomination.
2008 said: Wrong, wrong, wrong. Change I couldn't believe in occurred. It remains to be seen of course what this leads to. So far, judging by the shape of Obama's cabinet, it's looking like Clinton II anyway. Not necessarily a bad thing in itself, I feel. But he's yet to be tested, and that is nailed on to happen sooner rather than later.
JC said: Man Utd for the premiership, annoyingly. Ferguson to again fail in Europe, and again to delay his retirement, much to Carlos Queiroz's chagrin. Real or Sevilla for the champion's league. Rafa Benitez to leave Liverpool in the summer after row with the club owners.
2008 said: Half right. United did their double, albeit helped significantly by twinkletoes John Terry. Fergie did delay the long-promised retirement, and Queiroz looks less likely a United manager by the day. The Mirror's Oliver Holt is tipping Martin O'Neill for that job now. Somehow both Benitez and the Americans remain involved in Liverpool. And they're currently top of the league. No one would have predicted that a year ago.
JC said: The SDLP and UUP to leave the Northern executive and set up in proper opposition. The SDLP will be courted by FF and Irish Labour who both finally formally set up as Northern parties, thus simultaneously copper-fastening the union and pissing off the unionists.
2008 said: The SDLP and UUP should have but they didn't. And with Bertie gone, FF's desire to push North has withered. Labour's eyes are all on the 26 county local elections. No sudden movements from anyone in this area.
JC said: British final pull-out from Iraq, and probably Afghanistan too.
2008 said: Well, they've announced it. But don't hold yer breath.
JC said: Ongoing dollar collapse, commodity surges, oil spikes, banking crises and falling house prices in Northern Europe, especially the bubbles like NI and Spain. In other words, job losses, house repos, and the end of living beyond your means on credit. There will be no credit available this time next year.
2008 said: Couldn't be more right. Unfortunately, we're in for an awful lot more of this.
JC said: No boycotts of the Beijing Olympics, despite the appalling behaviour of the Chinese government. The Chinese will finally outperform America in the medals table. People will mutter about drugs, as if that's a surprise. The 13 year old British diver will be the new Eddie the Eagle Edwards. In other words, he'll be crap but the British public will love him.
2008 said: Nope, no boycotts. But there was an unbelievable public response to the journey of the Olympic torch about the planet. It's cheering to know that the world at large genuinely does care for the fate of the occupied people of Tibet.
China did top the medals table. People did mumble about drugs and one or two even got caught. But the Brits did especially well and had some actual winners to talk about as 'personalities of the year' as opposed to the usual plucky telegenic losers.
On the other hand, Ireland now is apparently worse at Olympic sports compared to mighty nations like Trinidad, Bahrain and the Dominican Republic.
JC said: People will realise that 'social networking' sites are a waste of their time. Others will migrate from one site to another with increasing frequency. Astronomical share valuations in these firms will collapse. Call it Dot-bomb 2.0.
2008 said: Everything tanked economically last year. But this phenomenon keeps on trucking. There has been some consolidation, and there will likely be some specialisation in store in future. In the interim, everyone's on Facebook bar me. And that seems to suit everyone and me just fine.
JC said: I will finish my damn novel. Really, I will.
2008 said: Errr...