So. 2012 has arrived. What will the New Year bring?
Politics: the Coalition will keep coming under strain, but barring the principals being caught up in major financial scandal, drugs busts, or equivalent misbehaviour, will carry on for another year at least. Those wanting to see Labour engage in internecine warfare and dump Mil The Younger will be disappointed. The real interest will be on when the Germans finally concede that the Euro must have a lender of last resort behind it. This latter will be key to markets regaining their confidence and the heading off of a Europe wide recession.
Press And Media: hacks, pundits and editors will continue as before, even as Leveson and his team expose yet more singularly unsavoury behaviour among their ranks. But the potentially most significant event could be at Associated Newspapers, where push must soon come to shove over the retirement of Paul Dacre. The Vagina Monologue looked equally old and tired during his tirade at Leveson recently, and had to hold himself upright at the lectern. It is almost 20 years since he took over from David English. A move upstairs could precipitate a major clearout of several overpaid and talentless dinosaur pundits, to the applause of many right thinking people who would rather it had happened earlier.
USA: Mitt Romney will get his party’s nomination to challenge Barack Obama, but many GOPers won’t get behind him and he will lose, whatever interventions come from Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). CNN will remain third in cable news ratings, and the most trusted newscaster will still be fronting a show on Comedy Central.
Climate: the ranting and abuse from the denial lobby will continue, but less people will take any notice. The warming trend will, sooner or later in the year, return.
Blogosphere: here, too, the ranting will fail to pay off as those out on the right will continue to lose ground. Breaking stories by actually doing some investigation will be key to blogs gaining credibility, while conversely, those promising to take scalps and failing to do so will lose theirs.
Astroturf: if the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance has its finances exposed, it will happen in 2012, and if that event comes to pass, there will be no way back and its dubiously talented array of non-job holders will have to get proper jobs.
And finally: if there is a change at the top of Associated Newspapers, this could be the best chance for decades to have a grown up debate about drugs. This alone could be a chance to reduce crime, claw back an industry from the hands of organised criminality, and end misery and dependence for tens of thousands. But don’t bet on it.