Looking forward to 2012

The New Year is traditionally the time when politicians, journalists and commentators kick-start the news cycle by making predictions about the coming year. As the last week has been no different, Keene thought it would save you the trouble of trawling through the papers yourself and bring you some of the most interesting predictions out there.

Prime Minister David Cameron used his New Year’s message to argue that the Jubilee and the Olympics will help get Britain ‘up to strength’ in 2012 despite the tough economic climate, while Labour leader Ed Miliband claimed that his party will rise to face the challenges coming this year. Foremost of these will be the economy and the NHS, the latter of which Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls predicted will be the ‘massive story’ of 2012.

In Parliament, the BBC’s Parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy has raised the spectre of a tough year for the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, with the Upper House seemingly likely to make changes to a number of pieces of legislation and the Government looking in detail at plans to reform the House of Lords.

Elsewhere, political Blog Guido Fawkes has called the London Mayoral election in favour of Conservative incumbent Boris Johnson, and also predicted that Margaret Thatcher will ‘outlive the euro as we now know it’. Times columnist Daniel Finkelstein makes one of the less dramatic predictions of the New Year with his assertion that very little will change in 2012, with the Coalition remaining in tact ‘whether it likes it or not’.

Looking further afield, the BBC’s Diplomatic correspondent James Robbins has said 2012 will be a ‘dangerously rudderless year with key leaders in the US, China, Russia and France distracted by elections or changes at the top.’

This may also contribute to the prediction by the Daily Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard that there will be a ‘global downturn on all fronts’ in 2012, echoing a BBC survey which found that the vast majority of economists are predicting a European recession in 2012.

He’s also suggested that the upcoming French Presidential election will return the Socialist François Hollande, with the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy failing to make the run-off after being beaten by The Front National’s Marie Le Pen.

Andrew Rawnsley writing in the Observer reinforces the predictions of many other commentators including that of the Times’ Washington correspondent Alexandra Frean by predicting that the American electorate will stick with Obama come November’s Presidential election.

In the Middle East the Washington Post’s David Ignatius has claimed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is ‘probably on his last legs’, a view shared by many other commentators including the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, who has predicted that the Free Syrian Army will march into Damascus in March.

And if none of those come true, at least we can fall back on the ancient Mayan prediction that the world will end in December.

Happy New Year!

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