Okay, I made a few predictions about where 2009 was heading before it happened, so let's take a look back and see whether my crystal ball was on the blink or not.
1. A severe crash in the housing market of Britain and Ireland, even worse than what's already occurred. The governments forced to intervene with banks to prevent massive scale repossessions and defaults.
Half-right. Bizarrely, the British market rose slightly due to so little properties being on the market. Nevertheless that's only an indication of a delayed further crash.
2. The credit card lifestyle bill finally lands on the mat. Plenty of people with no assets other than a few payments on a 08-D car are going to find themselves defaulting on some very expensive credit loans. The problem of arranging refinancing, from semi-bankrupt banks who themselves cannot get credit, for these unsupported loans is going to stretch the banking sector beyond breaking point.
I think we can note this down as correct.
3. Multinationals use the excuse of recession to relocate to Eastern Europe. Cue 100,000 redundancies next year in Ireland.
Dell, anyone? And we got way more than 100,000 redundancies last year.
4. Euro or no euro (and given that 40% of our trade is with the sterling zone even today, the euro is not currently helping), we might actually have to call in the IMF if the government cannot raise the funds to deal with their income shortfall AND that of the banks, especially if the credit card bill arrives too.
They've avoided complete collapse so far, but then again all sorts of zombie economies are currently being propped up around the world. Faeces meets fan time has therefore been delayed until even worse culprits like Greece and the Baltics are dealt with first.
5. Empty shopfronts in high streets. Cars with for sale signs. Travel agents, estate agents, motor retailers all going bust.
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. 100% correct.
6. A general election in Ireland after either the Greens grow stones and pull out of Government or they lose a crucial Dail vote, an election which Fianna Fail lose quite significantly to a Fine Gael-Labour coalition.
Pure fail. We should have had an election but we didn't. Blame the spineless Greens. When we do get one in 2010, I expect the same result as I predicted will finally occur.
7. Obama's Clinton re-run presidency gets off to a poor start with a series of foreign affairs crises that even Bill and Hill can't solve for the noobie. For potential flashpoints, think Pakistan, Israel/Palestine, Ukraine, Indonesia and as usual most of Africa.
I think buyer's regret has definitely kicked in by now. And foreign affairs has been the locale for most of Obama's poor performance, even if he is being criticised over his (very good) health plan and the economy.
8. Britain definitely starts pulling out of their occupations. Troops to start leaving Iraq and Afghanistan. As recession bites, there will be a further round of culls in the Northern Irish public service sector.
We've seen the start of this already. Much more of the same to come this year.
9. Chelsea for the league, with Liverpool nipping their heels in second. United a distant third. Fergie to quit at long last. Perhaps Wenger to join him in walking from the Premiership.
Wishful thinking on my part, perhaps. None of the above occurred.
10. The beginning of the end of low cost air travel. As airlines consolidate, and routes decrease, and more and more craft are parked in the Nevada desert, the consumer ends up with the worst of all worlds - prices like the luxury days of the 1970s with service of contemporary Ryanair.
Sadly, this has come to pass. Hundreds of airlines went belly up last year, prices are rising, routes are being reduced and service standards across the board are abysmal and hardly helped by ridiculous (and pointless) security measures at airports.
I make that around 6/10 right. Meh. I always was a B student.