So. 2011 is upon us. What to look out for in the next twelve months?
Politics: if the Coalition is going to crack, it will happen this year. Paradoxically, those most likely to cause the fracture – Lib Dems and disaffected Tories – would be the biggest losers. That would put Young Dave in an even stronger position, although if Labour organise their opposition to Government policy coherently, they can exploit divisions. That last means that Mil The Younger needs to focus his party around a clear narrative and maintain discipline (which, historically, is not a Labour strongpoint).
Press And Media: the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) will be as useless as before. The Maily Telegraph will continue on its grubby path of politician entrapment, the Desmond press will see declines in both readership and standards, few will notice the Screws and Sun vanish behind paywalls, and Paul Dacre will resist attempts to retire him, while swearing a lot. Fortunately, we will still have the BBC.
USA: the Tea Party movement will continue to distract the Republican Party from such trivialities as real world politics. Piers “Morgan” Moron will swiftly realise that you can’t build style, ratings and credibility out of shameless self publicity, giving CNN another headache. The hunt for whoever is leaking inside information to Media Matters For America (MMFA) will prove yet more distracting to Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). And the country’s most trusted news presenter will still be fronting a show on Comedy Central.
Climate: Christopher Booker will continue to tell a variety of dubiously sourced tales in his bid to disprove climate change, but far fewer people will be bothered, even with his gofer James Delingpole sneering even more than in 2010. Strong possibility that Booker (and/or his other pal Richard North) will overstep the defamation line and land one or more publications in court. Again.
Blogosphere: more bloggers will come to the attention of the MSM, partly because they break stories, and partly because they can write half decently. The political centre of gravity in the blogosphere will shift leftwards, and towards local and specialist contributors, if only slightly.
Astroturf: the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) will start to lose credibility under the weight of adverse publicity as its output continues to be ridiculed and its lack of transparency is questioned. Moderate possibility of TPA funding and accounts being leaked, to general rejoicing.
And finally: there is a slight possibility that an outbreak of common sense will break out and allow a reasoned debate on currently illegal drugs. But don’t bet on it.