May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy 2012. Apologies for the lateness of this greeting. I took the family away to Centreparks for New Year in Sherwood Forest. Sadly for me, the internet on site was not what I expected, so I had an enforced break from blogging. I must say that it was nice to have a break from it and hoped you hadn't missed it too much.
My top 10 predictions for 2012.
1. The OneBarnet project to be rebranded by the end of the year.
2. cBrian Coleman to lose the GLA seat in May (don't know whether to a Tory or Labour Candidate!)
3. Another Tory leadership contest this year in Barnet
4. Barnet Council to feature in a major documentary scandal on national television
5. Ed Milliband to be replaced as Labour Leader
6. 9 Premiership managers to be sacked this year
7. Arsenal to win nothing again
8. Barnet FC to stay in League 2
9. At least 10 shops in Mill Hill Broadway to close/ change hands
10. At least 3 major scandals to hit Barnet Council and make NATIONAL news between now and the end of the year.
Now I'll let you in on a little secret. Some of the above are pure guesses by me, using my psychic powers. Some are flavoured by a little bit of insider knowledge and some are dead certs. At the end of the year, I'll give a round up and we'll see just how close to the mark I was.
I have a pretty good track record of predictions - In this blog in 2009 (when the Tories were streets ahead in the polls and Gordon Brown was clearly a millstone to sink labour) I predicted - http://barneteye.blogspot.com/2009/07/great-britain-will-join-euro-within-5.html -
Jan 2010 - Britain begins a borrowing lead recovery
May 2010 - Tories would not get a majority
June 2010 - Tories pass vicious austerity budget
September 2010 - Tory cuts start to bite
May 2011 - Boris Johnson distances himself from Cameron
September 2011 - Mass demonstrations as Tory cuts bite deeper. Nurses and teachers pay frozen. The economy stagnates.
Of course I got a few things wrong in there as well, but at the time everyone with half a brain assumed Cameron would romp home to a massive majority. I predicted that George Osborne's incompetence would cause the economy to unravel. What I didn't for one second consider was that the Lib Dems would prop him up and moderate the worst excesses of right wing bonkers thinking.
I suspect that the coalition deal has saved Osborne's bacon (thus far). If he'd made the cuts that he'd liked to have, with a massive Tory majority, I think the economy would already be over the cliff, rather than teetering on the edge. Having some vaguely sane people such as Vince Cable around to point out the more bleeding obvious flaws in Osbornes strategy and ideology has probably spared us a complete calamity. I know that many on the left hate the Lib Dems for propping up the Tories, I am none to pleased myself. As far as I'm concerned, the fault is with Labour for not getting rid of Gordon Brown, when it was clear he was useless and leading them to defeat. The whole party prostituted itself for his vanity and landed us in the calamitous situation we find ourselves in. They have made matters worse by choosing another leader who is totally unable to connect with the general public and who seems more interested in beating up working people defending their livelyhoods than he does taking the fight to the Tories. He should have backed the recent strikes to the hilt and pointed out that the reason the Tory leadership doesn't understand strikers is because they are all posh boy millionaires, who have no concept of what it is like to worry how you will pay the bills, if you are a low income family.
The Labour Party should be engaging with the radical and left leaning members of the Lib Dems to try and split the coalition, rather than seeing the coalition as the chance to polish off an annoying third party that is a pain in the arse. The Labour Party is under a very strange misapprehension that all of the Lib Dem supporters would vote Labour if the Lib Dems disappeared. This is simply not true. I suspect that what would actually happen is that we'd get a slim Tory majority on the split of seats. Labour should make it a 100% priority to ensure that there is non Tory/Lib Dem pact going into the next election.
I happen to believe that the biggest winner from the coalition is David Cameron. His cabinet is of a far higher calibre than it would have been with an outright Tory victory. I think he's what used to be called a "wet" (ie a Liberal Tory). He knew Osborne was a basket case, but didn't have a clue how to control him. The Lib Dems give him that power (to a degree). He also has a few people in the cabinet to calm the more insane members of his team down, when they start spouting nonsense. I've been told (and I don't know if it's true or not), that whenever the more Europhobic Tory cabinet members start going off on one, Vince Cable gives them a long, tedious lecture on the ways in which the EU benefits the UK economy. As they are all as thick as S*** and do not understand economics (Cable is a career economist, having worked for Shell) they have no choice but to back down, in the face of superior intellect.
Sadly, I think that we are all going to suffer the consequences of a shotgun wedding government, with a bipolar economic strategy. Unless Labour can get it's act together, elect an effective leader and get out on the streets campaigning side by side with it's natural supporters, we are faced with the unenviable choice of the coalition or a full blown Tory government, which to me is like a choice between cancer and the flu (which I am lucky enough to have both of right now!).