Wednesday, 1 January 2014

My predictions for 2014

David Cameron on the day of his Syria defeat. No more rebellions?
When I did this same exercise on New Year's Day 2013, I wrote: 'This is a soberly realistic view of what I think is most likely to happen. It is not always what I want to happen: in several instances I very much hope things will work out differently to my predictions.' The same is true again this year.

Note: You may be interested in reading my assessment of how last year's predictions actually turned out.

OK, here we go...

1. There will be growing tensions between US and Israel, with the latter increasingly asserting independent positions in relation to the wider Middle East. The same will apply to the US-Saudi relationship.

2. Egypt will witness the consolidation of the Army-led counter-revolution; there will be various isolated and sectional forms of opposition, but this won't cohere in a serious challenge to the current order.

3. In the wake of upheavals in Ukraine in recent weeks, there will be rumbling tensions in some former Soviet states; this will increasingly become a fissure point in global geopolitics, with rivalry between the US and Russia. The Winter Olympics in Russia in February will be a focal point for political grandstanding.

4. There will be repeated diplomatic clashes between China and Japan throughout the year, with a jittery US supporting Japan as a counterweight to rising Chinese influence.

5. Tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world, especially South Korea, will increase.

6. The football World Cup will be the most politicised for decades, with a revival of the kind of protests seen some months ago in Brazil providing a counterpoint to the official corporate pageant.

7. Turkey will see continuing large-scale social and political unrest, though the current government will remain in office.

8. The controversies around NSA, whistleblowers and the surveillance state will continue throughout the year, with fresh revelations and controversies, plaguing the Obama administration.

9. In the UK the shallow recovery (in reality a debt-based bubble) will continue, with modest growth throughout the year, and the Tories will make this the centrepiece of their propaganda, though it will not discernibly affect people's living standards.

10. People's inability to make mortgage repayments will be a major story of the year, with a growth in repossessions.

11. Scotland will vote No to independence, but around 40% of voters will opt for independence. The outcome will be greater pressure for devolved powers ('devo max'), especially over economic questions.

12. There will be no major parliamentary rebellions by backbench Tories, aided by the disciplining effect of a looming general election.

13. There will be more frequent clashes between Tories and Lib Dems than ever before, as Nick Clegg's party seeks to assert an independent profile ahead of 2015's general election. Immigration and Europe will be especially big areas of dispute. Vince Cable will be at the forefront in making criticisms of the senior coalition partners.

14. Labour will push the 'cost of living' agenda, therefore putting clear water between itself and the Tories. In a number of other areas, however, it will maintain its right-wing stance or move even further rightwards: immigration, welfare and education will all clearly illustrate this. It will, however, command a convincing opinion poll lead at the end of 2014, with predictions of a Labour majority in the 2015 general election (a situation driven by popular disquiet with the experience of austerity).

15. Ukip will do well in the European elections and continue to score well in opinion polls, but will fail to make any new breakthrough and will stutter after May's elections. Nick Griffin of the BNP will be booted out of the European Parliament by voters.

16. The Cameron's government's massive propaganda drive around the legacy of World War One will be widely contested and challenged: not in parliament, where Miliband and other Labour leaders will be supine for fear of being portrayed as 'unpatriotic', but in wider civil society and particularly on the cultural field.

17. There will some further public sector national strikes - including by teachers, firefighters, higher education workers and civil service workers - but no major co-ordinated strike action on anything like the scale seen on 30 November 2011. Pay will be the major battleground for trade unions.

18. The bedroom tax will be scrapped, thus bringing the anti-cuts movement its first major national victory.

19. The student movement's revival will continue in the spring term, though not nearly reaching levels comparable to autumn 2010. The privatisation of student loans will prove to be the central issue for the movement.

20. The People's Assembly will be the English left's great success story, the primary vehicle for co-ordinated opposition to cuts, with a national demonstration in June proving especially successful. However, any left-of-Labour electoral vehicles will be no further advanced at the end of 2014 than they are now.


1 comment:

  1. Well we'll have to wait and see I suppose. The geopolitical situation is very interesting at the moment and I feel that there is reason for optimism with regard to Russian, EU, US relationships. I suspect that tensions within North Korea could emerge and that there could be some positives there too for geopolitical relationships. Japan is finished and America doesn't care about it that much any more.

    I would like to see the left getting more involved in the mortgage and debt issues. Ideally through a strategy of mass defaulting. Perhaps the Unions could fund some serious legal support at least?

    Thanks for a balanced and interesting blog!

    Happy New Year Sibling!