Back in 2010 I made ten predictions about what 2011 would have in store. I got eight out of ten right, not bad for a beginner.
So, what has 2012 got in store? Here’s ten predictions from me for the coming year:
1. Plymouth will win medals in the 2012 Olympic Games. Let’s start with some good news. I think we’re going to win some medals at London 2012. We’ve got some great Olympic hopefuls from our city – not just Tom Daley – but many more. The Big Screen in the city centre will likely become a home from home for many Plymouth Olympic fans, and rightly so!
2. Labour will win control of Plymouth City Council in May’s elections. The Tories know that defeat is imminent. Polling is showing Labour, but victory or defeat will be very close. This won’t be a landslide result for either party. Planning for defeat, I suspect the Tories might be considering leaving a budget filled with fiscal traps, legacy projects over-budget and hated planning decisions such as the Incinerator. In a commonly used political tactic, they’re seeking to spike the party that wins in May’s local elections. If it’s Labour if’s going to be a tough first year in office dealing with an appalling legacy from our local Tories… but if it is a Tory win, then they’ll get their own comeuppance!
3. Unemployment will steadily rise especially amongst young people. 2012 is going to be a tough year for our city. 2011 saw unemployment rise under a Government that cared little about the jobless. As harsh cuts bite further in the New Year and Ministers remain clueless about job creation, the numbers signing on will continue to rise. This will be worst felt among young people as we risk creating a lost generation of young people. It’s time for a proper plan B from the Chancellor.
4. Crime will continue to rise. As police numbers are cut and the economy worsens crime will rise across Devon and Cornwall.
5. Interest rates will rise. My prediction of interest rate rises was one of the two that didn’t happen. But interest rates will rise in 2012. Good news for savers; bad news for those with mortgages.
6. Europe bites back. After Cameron’s hubris and blind belief in the City of London forced a veto on the Eurozone’s attempts to stabilise their currency, officials and European Governments will bite back against Britain. Thanks to Mr Cameron’s mishandling we may see British interests in fisheries, common agricultural policy, the rebate and foreign policy all take a battering from Brussels as the UK’s influence takes a further knocking. This won’t be a deliberate punishment of Britain, but with so little influence we won’t be able to stop things we might otherwise have been able to.
7. The Tories will push on with the Devonport incinerator. Few local decisions are so hare-brained as plans to burn all our rubbish in the heart of the city. As other Tory councils across the country reject expensive PFI plans for incinerators, Plymouth’s Tories will press ahead with plans for one of the largest incinerator in Britain with a chimney stack taller than the Tamar Bridge. Crazy.
8. Bus services will be cut further. Since the bonkers sale of CityBus our local bus services have become more expensive and much reduced in terms of frequency and routes. The decline of public transport will continue as private sector bus companies hike prices and cut routes. School bus cuts could be on the cards in 2012 too.
9. Ed Miliband will visit Plymouth. The Labour Leader last visited Plymouth in the Leadership contest of 2010. It’s time for him to make a return to our city and see for himself the effects of the Tory-led Coalition Government on our local communities. I predict a handshake with the new Labour leader of Plymouth City Council might be on the cards…
10. The Lib Dems face electoral wipeout. Having correctly predicted they’d be punished in the 2011 elections, without a major change of approach, they face utter electoral wipeout. In the south west that means the Tories mop up most of the Lib Dem seats. I’m no fan of the Lib Dems but unless their activists inject some sense into their MPs, there may not be enough of them to fill a taxi after the next General Election and that means a Tory majority becomes a bit easier to achieve. 2012 is a make or break year for the south west Lib Dems – will their members assert themselves or will they continue to march inexorably towards annihilation?