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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tis the season to be clairvoyant

It's that time of the year again, when most people defer cynical normality until the New Year, eschew common sense and start spouting goodwill to fellow men.

But not Skinner, no sirree bob.

For me, it's the season for casting a gloomy, pessimistic, jaundiced eye over the year to come, read the runes, scatter the entrails, gaze into the crystal ball and attempt to predict what the year ahead has to offer.

We'll hold fire on last year's predictions until this year is officially up. (Though nothing's stopping you checking now.) Instead, it's full steam ahead with what's ahead in 2010.

1. I can haz double-dip recession? Sort of inevitable at this stage, really. Credit card debt should do it for Ireland, which is tragically appropriate for what has happened to us as a nation in the mass delusion of the 'Celtic Tiger'.
In America, it will be the ongoing slide in dollar value, while Britain will simply run out of cash. China is hamstrung by its dollar exposure, lack of Western demand for plastic tat made in sweatshops and the fact that the rest of the world will be slow to forget how China stitched up Copenhagen for its own ends.
In short, more red lines on the charts, more capital flight to precious metals, more lost jobs, more housing price decline, more negative equity, more foreclosures, more unemployment and more excuses from those responsible.

2. What does Africa need right now? You were thinking 'major soccer tournament', weren't you? Isn't that top of their list of needs?
Africans agree, of course, which is why they're having two in six months. Never mind the HIV epidemic, the grinding poverty, the neverending wars, famines and disease. I must haz mi football. Right?
South Africa 2010 will see predictions of violence against the occasional drunk affluent visitor sadly fulfilled. Stadia will be full of white people flown in for the occasion. A European team, likely Spain or Italy, will win, though an African team, likely Nigeria, will get to the semis.

3. General election in the Republic of Ireland.
Seriously, this government wouldn't even have lasted this long were it not for the dire standard of political opposition in the Dail, and the utter disorganisation of political opposition outside of it.
Enda Kenny is as effective and reliable as the Billings method, while the beards running the unions have already shot their bolt and allowed their campaign to be cleverly cut in two by a government sneakily talking up public sector V private rivalries.
But to hold together an administration this flimsy, talentless and aimless would require both the cunning of a natural alliancemaker like Bertie Ahern and endless pots of overflowing gold to pay everyone off and keep them all happy.
Cowen has neither Ahern's touch nor any money whatsoever, since Ahern spent it all already. So it's inevitable that sooner rather than later the faeces will fly into the fan.

4. Result of election? Fine Gael and Labour, that unhappily married couple, back in the saddle again, this time minus the self-exploded Greens.
Stasis for the Shinners, though a few new faces in their line-up, including Joe McHugh. A move against Churry as leader of the party finally coalesces around someone other than the unelectable Mary Lou. Toireasa Ferris, perhaps?
Fianna Fail to regroup around a new leader - with Martin facing off against Dermot Ahern for the job and Martin winning. Most of the current cabinet retire to count their ill-gotten gains.

5. A general election is already scheduled for next year in Britain and the North, so they're already in mid-campaign.
The toff Tories to edge it in a surprisingly close-run thing after an initial rally of the British economy in the Spring. But they will claim no seats in the North, leaving their alliance with the UUP in tatters.
Lady Sylvia to win as independent in North Down, taking their last seat, leaving them behind the TUV, for whom Allister will ascend Paisley's old throne in North Antrim.
Alisdair McDonnell to become the next SDLP leader, and subsequently hold South Belfast. A resurgence for this party might then finally be possible, especially if a Shinner generation shift starts to coalesce.

6. Post-Lisbon, the EU will grow ever more important. Initially in Ireland this will either not be noticed or welcomed when spotted, since it will come alongside support for our comatose economy or will be warmly contrasted with our indigenous mismanagement of our political affairs.
But elsewhere, the twin-track Europe does begin to finally emerge. Eager to push on with the long march to federalism, the elites of Brussels will seek to seduce an inner circle to move faster. Welcome to the beginning of a Europe of the centre and the fringes again, just like the Roman Empire.

7. Poor ole spook kid Barack just won't catch an even break in 2010. With the messiah sheen of his election campaign long lost in most memories, Americans will get on with the fact of confronting growing poverty and unemployment, a reduction in international relevance alongside a growth in international danger, not only in current war spots but also in some new ones too.
I'd expect more Islamoterror next year, likely of the old Nineties format of attacks on foreign -based US troops. And that will of course stabilise Pakistan hugely.

8. China realises its dollars are worthless and we don't want their tat anymore, and there's only so much African resources and commodities you can stockpile for future good times, so it belatedly decides to spree its dollar mountain on Western assets.
This overt accumulation of Western trophies, akin to the Japanese intervention into California in the Eighties, will be the first sign for many of the Chinese century everyone was suspecting might come about.

9. Chelsea for the league, Barcelona for the Champions League, Rafa for Real and Mourinho for Anfield after an Arab buyout of the bankrupt Yanks.

10. Russia will play silly buggers with the gas pipeline to the West again as it tries and largely succeeds in splitting both Georgia and the Ukraine in two.
Everyone talks tough, but the Kremlin ain't listening. Once again, decadent old Europe realises too late that the Eastern threat to its stability has never gone away but merely morphed into yet another totalitarian guise, following the Tsarism and Sovietism of the past.

Should be a good year.


truthisfree said...

100% agree about China, another Japan, just a whole lot bigger. Happy Xmas JC

Rua, long suffering empathiser with LFC said...

Well, at least we'll be rid of Rafa. I can see myself getting behind the Great One