Friday 31 December 2021

So how did my predictions for 2021 do in the end?

On New Years day, as a bit of fun, I made a set of predictions for the year. I'm the opposite of psychic, which is why I rarely gamble! I thought it might be fun to see how I did. My comments are in Red Italics. 


We will shortly see the beginning of the roll out of the Astra Zeneca vaccine. Many of us are pinning our hopes of a return to normality on this. I predict that the ramp up of the vaccination program will initially be a fiasco with questions in the house. Given the governments inability to organise anything, I don't really think you need to be Mystic Meg to predict this.

We will also see the inauguration of President Joe Biden. I predict that Donald Trump will not go gracefully and we will not have heard the last of him when he walks out of the White House. Trump grants whisltleblower Edward Snowden and Julian Asange a Presidential pardon on his last day of office.

I predict that Republicans in the Senate and the House of Representatives will initially rally around Joe Biden, to show that they do care about the National interest, in a bid to beat Coronavirus and stop the economy tanking completely. I suspect Biden will have a very good first hundred days, with Donald Trump claiming it is all really down to him.

I also predict that by the end of January, we start to see far less complimentary headlines for Boris in the Daily Express and Mail, as the true nature of what he's negotiated becomes clear. I suspect that we will see Farage claiming that the chaos is all because Boris betrayed Brexit and stitched us all up and that the chaos is down to not having a hard Brexit. I suspect that facts will not support this.

So, as I stated, I'm no mystic meg. I got the vaccine rollout completely wrong. For once, Boris Johnson and his govt got it right. Mind you I was spot on with Trump not going quietly. With every month it has become clear that Brexit is a fiasco. 


By the end of February, we should see the fruits of the vaccination program starting to take hold, with a gradual easing back of restrictions. A return of crowds to football and us all to pubs and restaurants, albeit in limited numbers will be more than welcome. The national mood will start to improve. The papers will start to fill with stories of how Brexit is ruining businesses, problems for ex pats and stunted financial growth. I predict that President Macron will take great delight in whatever pain the UK suffers. I predict that Irish reunification will start to be seriously discussed as the DUP wake up to the fact that Great Britain has sold them down the river. As the Covid crisis improves, the SNP will step up pressure for a referendum to leave the UK. Within the Tory party, serious mutterings about the suitability of Boris as PM will start to emerge. When all the heavy lifting has been done with Covid and Brexit, the ambitious chancers will see the opportunity to steal the crown. 

So I was a bit more on the nail with the Covid vaccination rollout, although over ambitious with the scaling back of the restrictions. 


As the vaccination program rolls on, things open up ever more. Live music starts to return, larger crowds start to appear at football matches. The chancellors mind turns to how we are to pay the overdraft we've run up. For a nation that has had the worst year in living memory, this is not welcome news. 

The governments postpones phase 2 of HS2 and calls for a major costs review. As the economy opens up, it is clear that the days of the High street as we know it are numbered. The people who have switched to online are not switching back. Our city centres are hollowed out as firms have realised that there is no point spending huge rents on offices when people can do the job at home. Rishi Sunak responds by bringing in new taxes on home working, in a desperate attempt to shore up the nations finances.

As the true cost starts to become apparent and the austerity ++++ measures become clear, any credibility that Rishi Sunak may have retained ebbs away. The questions as to how the Uk could have had the worst death rate and the worst economic damage in Europe start to hammer away at the government. With every day it becomes clearer that the Government needs a serious reboot. With the EU it is clear that the hastily signed and unscrutinised agreement needs a major overhaul as it is causing problems for both the EU and the UK. 

It seems that far from ending the arguments, Brexit has just split the UK and caused deep structural problems. Nigel Farage claims this is down to the lack of a proper Brexit, Kier Starmer claims it is down to a bad agreement and Ed Davey says that it is because Brexit was a bonkers idea in the first place.

So again I was spot on about HS2 phase 2, if a bit out on the date. I think that is true of my comments on Brexit as well. This will become ever clearer as we emerge from Covid. I was wrong about Rishi Sunak's credibility. Not quite sure what Farage said, as he's become an irrelevant non entity.


The end of the pandemic is in sight. All of the vulnerable people in the UK have been innoculated. All of the key workers and schools, offices and public transport are declared safe to use. However the number of people commuting has declined. The London Mayoral Election looms amid total apathy. No one has any enthusiasm for Sadiq Khan and they have even less for Shaun Bailey. A Barnet Council by election in Edgware, formerly a safe Tory seat becomes interesting, as the decline of Edgware becomes a key factor. The rampant unpopularity of the Tory government looks set to deliver a massive upset.

Well again the pandemic predictions appeared pretty close to the mark, with the vaccination programme going well. I think my view of the Mayoral race was spot on. Sadly, the comments about Edgware were wildly optimistic. With Lockdown it was impossible to put the donkey work into turning the Tory majority there around.


To no ones great surprise, Sadiq Khan delivers a victory with a far smaller turnout than ever. The Tory candidate Shaun Bailey gets a comprehensive kicking coming fourth, as Londoners blame him for Brexit and the failures of the pandemic. The Tories come fourth in the Edgware by election behind the Lib Dems, Greens and Labour as a huge protest vote. It appears that Boris is living on borrowed time.

See comments for April


The UK and USA officially declare the pandemic beaten. Boris announces a 'Festival of Brexit' to celebrate, to widespread derision. Keir Starmer says the money should be spent rebuilding the NHS and Nigel Farage says that Brexit has been betrayed so there is nothing to celebrate. Ed Davey announces that Lib Dem policy will be for a referendum to rejoin as the economic figures show that Brexit has had a massive impact on UK GDP. Boris states that the impact is due to covid and Starmer claims it is down to Boris mismanaging everything.

In June, things opened up. I went to my first gig and Boris declared the Covid restrictions lifting as irreversable. Sadly, no opposition figure has the balls to address the elephant in the room that is Brexit


Japan announces that the Olympics are being postponed, as a new vaccine resistant variant of Covid is identified and start to spread across the globe. Boris announces that Britain is well placed to develop a new vaccine to beat the virus because of Brexit. Everyones holiday plans are thrown into chaos as borders are closed and flights cancelled. Boris announces that the Festival of Brexit is being cancelled as a precaution.

Thankfully the Olympics did go ahead, although sadly the prediction of new variants was also pretty accurate.


President Joe Biden announces that his 'Virus task force' has a new vaccine and we only need to wait three months before it can be deployed. The UK sees its first cases of the new strain of the virus, as Boris is criticised for not following the EU and closing borders. Boris reaches a record low popularity.

Again, this is pretty much correct if out by a few months. 


Jeremy Hunt launches a leadership bid, stating that the Tories are finished if they don't appoint someone not tainted with the failures of the past year. Rishi Sunak throws his hat in to the ring, as Boris succumbs to the inevitable. As is the way with the Conservative party, the favourites are shafted and Elisabeth Truss takes over, largely on the basis that no one has a clue who she is, so they don't hate her yet.  Boris responds to his fall from grace by claiming French citizenship and moving to his Dad's chateau.

Clearly most of this was wishful thinking, although I suspect that by April next year it might appear a slightly better prediction.


Elisabeth Truss flies to the USA to try and negotiate a trade deal. Joe Biden tells her that this can only be completed if the UK cedes Northern Ireland to the Republic. Truss agrees and Irish Nationalists everywhere celebrate. Truss claims that her action is only a practical recognition of what Boris had put into effect with the Brexit treaty.  The DUP announce that they will be seeking full independence for the North.

Well Liz Truss has negotiated a trade deal with Australia, albiet one that has shafted British Farmers. I suspect that my comments about Biden and a Trade deal are not far from the mark.


The UK enters lockdown as new cases of the mutant virus run rampant. Liz Truss announces that Xmas is cancelled as we will not have a vaccine until January. Keir Starmer announces that it is 'Groundhog Year' due to Tory mismanagement. Ed Davey bemoans the fact that the EU has slammed 500% export duties on the new vaccine to the UK, ensuring that we have no supplies, except for the mega rich who can afford it from private clinics. Liz Truss announces that this "levelling up in action".

Omicron emerged. We had new restrictions as a result, albiet not a full lockdown. Earlier in the year we saw EU shenanigans about vaccines. Of course Liz Truss is not PM!


Donald Trump launches his new TV channel, based in Moscow, where he has fled to avoid the FBI. On its first day, it reveals that the USA has been in constant contact with Aliens since 1947 and that Joe Biden is in fact an Alien. Trump reveals that the Chinese have also been in contact with the Aliens and it was the Aliens who distributed the virus to ensure he was not re-elected. 

In the UK, the Queen's speech is a rather different affair. Her majesty makes an unexpected live broadcast. She apologises to the nation for the total ineptitude of her government and announcing that she is abdicating as she's had enough of them all. Furthermore, she is taking up German citizenship, as she's of German ancestry and they seem to know what they are doing. Her parting shot is "I am leaving you lot in the hands of Charles and Camilla, God knows you deserve each other.

Well, oddly enough, the us govt has been making all sorts of strange noises about UFO's. They've released footage of Navy pilots chasing them and set up a new task force. Donald Trump announced he's setting up a new media platform, albiet not from Moscow. Watching the Queens mas speech, I could almost imagine that she wished she was delivering the speech I imagined. No woman her age deserves the year she's had. Losing her husband, a weekly call with Boris, the antics of Randy Andy and estrangement from her Grandson. 

All in all, I think I deserve 8/10 on the mystic Meg scale. If only my football bets were as accurate!

Let me leave you with some music to see the New Year in. I am rather proud of this video and music, it's had a great response. If you enjoy a bit of Ska and nostalgia I think you'll enjoy it. 

Thursday 30 December 2021

Why did we abandon the concept of decent housing for key workers

 Today, my good friend Mark Amies, who runs the amazing @Time_NW Twitter feed, posted this amazing tweet. 

I was fascinated. I pride myself on my local knowledge, but I don't recall this house at all. My Uncles owned a business next to the site, so I should have some recollection, but I don't. Apparently it was demolished around 1971, When I thought about it, I realised that there was a far more interesting question than what happened to a fine old house. The question is 'why did we stop providing such decent accomodation for key workers'. Around station road, prior to the construction of the M1 motorway, we also had the 'railway cottages', housies for workers on the Midland Railway. It seemed that in the Victorian era, companies realised that they had a responsibility to their workforce to make sure they had somewhere decent to live. Caretakers, vicars, the police,  park keepers, etc would all have accomodation provided, on site. I think it is only vicars that still have such a perk. It seems to me to be a very false economy. If the stationmaster lives next to the station or the park keeper lives by the park, then they can keep an eye on the place. I believe it is no coincidence that vandalism was almost unheard of at the time. Another thought which occurs to me is that it massively reduced the carbon footprint, as no journey to work was needed.

I was speaking recently to a friend who runs a restaurant. I asked if he had problems retaining staff. He said he didn't as his restaurant had flats where his staff lived. Some are students during the day, so it works well for everyone. He told me that he'd considered letting them out a few years ago, but now was grateful that he hadn't as he was able to keep staff when many of his competetors haven't.

We need to revisit the concept of decent accomodation for key workers. We need to recognise that it is a false economy to flog off such properties and not have people on site to keep an eye on where they work.  We need to recognise that society works better and we are happer when there is less inequality. We need to recognise that the best way to cut our carbon footprint is to make less journeys. There are many benefits of providing such accomodation. It is crazy that we don't recognise this and the governmet doesn't incentivise organisations to provide it. 


Wednesday 29 December 2021

My year in music

 For me, 2021 has been a surprisingly good year musically. I got my Mojo back, I've written more songs than I have done since the early 1980's and the feedback on them has been remarkably good. We even went out to Portugal and recorded half an albums worth of material, with my old mate Boz Boorer producing. We are planning to go back in the new year to finish it off. I just need to write a couple more numbers and rehearse them.  I've never taken lead vocals in the band before, not particularly liking the sound of my own voice. However I wrote a song for Lee Thompson of Madness, who is a mate and when I played the demo to everyone, they said that I should do it myself. This gave me a bit of confidence to try and develop my own style. I'm never going to be Marvin Gaye, but I've written songs that suit what I do. One of my mates jokingly calls the new material SKRAP -  a cross between Ska and Rap (at least that's what I think he was saying ;)

A couple of weeks ago, I set myself a challenge. To write, rehearse, record and make a video of a new song in two weeks. When I explained this to my bandmates, they were sceptical, however it has come out rather well. For the video, I used an old video my mum had of me starring in a Heinz Beans Commercial when I was six (yes really, it even won an award at The Cannes Festival). I also spliced in some old video footage of Mill Hill and old pictures. It is an unashamedly nostalgic piece called Sunday in the 70's. I got a a mate, Richard Logue, who collects vintage tellies to help out with some great footage of one of his tellies in action, which gives it a really authentic feel.

Anyway, here is the number. Enjoy. 

That's enough of my own music, what about the gigs I've seen. Surprisingly, not having seen a gig for 15 months, in June live music started up again. I've seen some banging gigs. Here are a few highlights.

My first gig back, I chronicled here. It was Ray Gelato at Ronnie Scotts and was wonderful!

Here's a selection of a few. Real highlights were The Average White Band at Festival Hall, Madness and Squeeze at Wembley Arena and The Specials at The Roundhouse. It is just good to be out enjoying ourselves again. Lets hope that 2022 is a classic year. When the plague subsides, get out there and support the local music scene. There are some great places to see music. Follow the Barnet Music Facebook page to find out all of the best local gigs