Okay, here's my hostages to fortune for this year ahead:
1. FG and Labour elected in Ireland. No banksters prosecuted over the banking collapse. Further Irish debt servicing problems resulting in more pressure on the euro. I don't see the currency breaking up this year, but I do see moves towards a twin-track Europe and integrated eurozone economic policies (taxation, etc) picking up speed.
In short, we'll elect a government who can do nothing because they'll not have the bottle to renegotiate the IMF deal meaningfully (ie by burning the bank bondholders) and who will be ordered around by the EU under the terms of a deal struck by the FF regime who just left the building.
2. Muck and brass in Africa. The muck in places that remain a mess, like Sudan (about to separate under UN pressure), various West coast micro-countries (Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, for example) and the existing warzones in Chad and the Congo.
The brass in unexpected quarters, where African nations are quietly democratising, gaining Chinese investment and benefitting from a brain-drain reversal, thanks to returning economic migrants. Examples: Ethiopia, Botswana, Uganda.
3. The dollar looks likely to win out in the currency wars, if only because the euro is so flawed and weak, and the US economy is beginning a slow, faltering march in the vague direction of recovery. The Chinese will continue to diversify out of it, however, and many investors won't be fooled by the Dow's performance, resulting in at least another year of choppy growth for bullion.
4. Mass immigration from Ireland. It's already underway, so this isn't much of a prediction. But I have a feeling that the sheer scale of this, though it mightn't dwarf the levels from the Fifties or Eighties immediately, will be noticed due to the relative youth and education levels of those departing this time. We'll be left with an ageing, moribund, docile, ill-educated populace once again, only this time, many of those remaining in Ireland will be of Polish, Chinese and Nigerian origin too.
5. Nadal will continue eclipsing Federer, being hungrier for success. United will win the Premiership again. Barca will take the Champions League again, thanks to Messi. AC Milan for Serie A, and possibly a run in Europe too. More Irish soccer clubs will go to the wall, and attendances will be flat at Lansdowne Road as Trap realises that you can't polish a turd of a squad. We won't qualify for 2012.
6. Natalie Portman will get an oscar for performing lesbian sex on another hot Jewish brunette. It will be probably the most deserving oscar win all year. The music industry will continue to be dominated by corporate creations gleaned from Cowell's 'talent' shows. Labels will continue to decline in importance. It will get ever harder for bands and singers to gain an audience outside of viral internet gimmicks.
Similar will happen in the worlds of books (ongoing domination of celeb ghost-written trash, celeb and sporting biogs, novels by actors and singers, etc.) Media standards will continue to plummet as opinion replaces reporting, having the advantage of being a lot cheaper to produce (when not actually free).
7. House prices will continue to fall in Britain, Ireland, the US and Spain for some time to come. Expect ever more desperate fortnightly calls of the bottom by vested interests in the media and the estate agency industry.
8. David Norris will be nominated for the presidency but then won't win because Ireland would rather elect another lemon-sucking, platitude spouting timeserver than a gay man.
9. At least one developed country (or part thereof) will fully legalise and tax cannabis usage.
10. 3D TVs will turn out to be this generation's betamax. Tablets, on the other hand, will take off and begin an inexorable rise to passing out laptops as the personal informational device of choice, except perhaps in the Third World.