So, happy reader, in between the family gatherings and usual overindulgence of the festive season, here's my predictions for 2008. You will be pleased to know that they are an edited version! I will look again at these with you in 12 months and see whether my crystal ball was clear or murky.
In their writing I wish you good blessing for the New Year in all that it brings!
International EventsI predict that:
- New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg will realise that although the Republicans won’t win the election, no-one is excited about the two Democratic candidates (Hilary Clint0n and Barack Obama; Clinton because she is seen as more of the same despite her gender and Obama because he is seen as inexperienced and people are up for real change. He will stand and because he can fund his own campaign personally, he will rise above any funding issues and he will win. It will be close but he will win.
- The death of Benazir Bhutto will change the face of world politics forever. Whoever killed her did not mean this to happen but her supporters and those of her opponents, principally Nawaz Sharif, will join forces to oust President Pervez Musharrif. Before that happens it will be very bloody but by a great irony given the objective of the assassination was to divide, the gathering of former rivals will win the day
- The other big international issue will Darfur both because it matters and as a way of turning from their own domestic trials both America and Britain in particular will focus in finding a political solution to this continuing crisis.
- I predict that Labour will slowly recover its ground but mostly because David Cameron will be exposed as not having the nerve or the capacity to step into the breach that Labour has inflicted upon itself in the last 3 or so months.
I predict that:
- Alex Salmond will continue to dominate Scottish Politics but although he will remain popular as a leader who seems to know where he is going, support for the one thing his party actually stands for will plateau.
- Wendy Alexander will begin to lead Scottish Labour with confidence but will spend as much of her time reforming the party as she will leading the opposition in the Parliament.
- The Lib Dems will shy away from local income tax arguing that the SNP version is not their version (which is true), but deep down it will be because they know that if the SNP deliver on actually getting rid of the Council Tax as opposed to just freezing it, (which will soon become financially unsustainable), then they will win the next election by a mile.
- The rest of the SNP commitments will fall by the wayside but with Council tax freeze delivered, much will be forgiven, (though not forgotten)
I predict that:
- The Libdem/SNP administration will present a balanced budget in February (as we did for 23 consecutive years) but they will do so by selling something (as we suggested in June and in August), but they will struggle to cope as pressures become tougher and those suffering from the administrations inability to make decisions become more vocal
- The coalition will survive next year but only just as tensions between Libdems genuine attempts to run the city despite their total inability to make strategic decisions will clash against the SNPs one card which is to always play for the good news. The one change will be that the SNP locally will choose a new leader.
- The administration will fail miserably to deal with schools issue and will see constant criticism from the voluntary sector who will argue that the compact is effectively over
- The Labour Group will be seen as the voice of Edinburgh as the administration struggle to pay for their commitments and keeping the coalition from falling apart
- My team Dunfermline Athletic will appoint Jim McIntyre permanently as their manager and survive in Division one just missing out on promotion but most people will agree that this will benefit the club in the long run as an early return would mean us struggling in the top flight again
- In my other spectator experience I predict that with the team spirit Andy Robinson has brought to Edinburgh Rugby the Capital side will have their best season ever in the Magners league although they just miss out on the silverware