Predictions for 2012

January 1, 2012

Presented without undue ceremony, here are my predictions for 2012. I don’t claim any great expertise in the realms of prognostication, politics or pop-culture, so they may be utter nonsense. But you can always check back in 12 months to see how I did.

1) The US presidential election is a genuinely terrifying spectacle for the rest of the world to watch, and is ultimately lost by Barack Obama to whatever ignorant chump the Republicans eventually nominate.

The religious right frame the election in apocalyptic terms, declaring Obama to be the antichrist and claiming that if he is allowed to win another term, God will withdraw his special protection from America spelling the end of the American way of life and the beginning of an eternity of tyranny. The business establishment, despite faring pretty well under Obama, decide that they’d still rather have a good old Republican in the White House committed to reducing their (already low) taxes still further. Consequently they pour money into the Republican campaign.

The result is that the Republicans fight the most cynical and dishonest campaign in US history, making hysterical claims which ought to fail even the most cursory scrutiny and playing dirty tricks that would have made Nixon blush. The media, afraid of being labelled as partisan, fail to report this (Fox has the chutzpah to go further and pin the blame for the lies and dirty tricks on the Democrats).

The Republican win decisively puts an end to America’s position as an important world power, but it takes them several decades to realise this.

2) Attempts to do something about the problem of climate change / global warming continue to fail.

The anti-AGW movement continues to frustrate all attempts to recognise and deal with the problem. Obviously they don’t have the science on their side, being driven entirely by hatred of Government and of taxation. However, they’re well-funded and aided by a media establishment which at best feels it has to present their side of the argument for “balance” and at worst actively supports it because they don’t like Government or taxation either.

Scientists are not media-savvy and are consequently unable to frame the discussion in terms that are favourable. Instead, they are constantly fighting the anti-AGW claims that it’s a conspiracy to ensure they keep getting their grant money, that it’s a religion that no-one within the scientific community dare question and so on.

Meanwhile, nature ignores the “argument” and keeps trapping more energy from the sun than is radiated into space, thus causing the average temperature of the planet to increase in order to restore equilibrium.

3) As austerity measures fail to fix the problems of the economy, attacks on the poor and unemployed increase.

Capitalism has always had a problem with poor people. On one hand, they provide a pool of available labour who will work for comparatively little. On the other hand, they’re an obvious reminder that capitalism really doesn’t work very well – every person without a job being evidence that the magic system of market forces has failed to create something for that person to do.

The obvious solution for this is to blame the poor for their predicament – their lack of employment is clearly nobody’s fault but theirs. After all, other people have managed to find jobs! So, as punishment, welfare programmes are slashed to provide an incentive for the poor to go out and find jobs. This is facilitated by a beautifully cynical piece of framing – by reminding us that benefit fraud costs the UK economy something like 1bn/year, we get taxpaying middle-class Britain all worked up about the greed of the poor instead of asking questions about the extent to which tax avoidance and evasion by Vodafone, Goldman Sachs et al is harming the economy (hint – a lot more than 1bn / year but then poor people can’t afford to take HMRC employees out to lunch).

Compounding the attacks on the poor are the appearance of companies like wonga.com and borro.com which are essentially legalised loan sharks and 21st century pawnbrokers. The result is an increase in suicides, home repossessions and social unrest with consequent increases in police deployments to “maintain order”.

4) Despite a massive security operation, we are unable to prevent a successful terrorist attack against the Olympic Games.

Firstly, I stress that I have no inside information here, and I certainly don’t want there to be a terrorist attack on the Games or anything else.

However, it is undeniable that some political and religious ideologies are pretty evil, that some such ideologies have determined and fanatical followers, that the Games are a massively inviting target, and that it is impossible to know that we have all ne’er-do-wells under surveillance or to figure out where they’re likely to strike. We will end up guarding all the wrong targets, not through incompetence, but because we genuinely won’t know what the right targets are until they’ve been hit. For the terrorist, the “right” target will be whatever we’ve left unguarded, and we can’t possibly guard everything.

In related news, the “war on terror” will remain unwinnable, not that this will stop the defence industry continuing to do rather well out of it.

5) The coalition falls apart in the second half of the year, the resulting election leaves Labour at the winning party but short of an overall majority, they’re forced to join with the Lib Dems and everyone feels very awkward.

Like parents determined to stay together for the sake of the kids, the coalition survives until after the Olympics so that we don’t look like a completely dysfunctional laughing stock in the eyes of the world. However, it turns out that even Clegg has a limit to the things he can support and when the Conservatives propose replacing the NHS with a US-style privately run healthcare system / selling all of the nation’s comprehensive schools to a consortium lead by McDonalds and Coca-Cola / building gas chambers to deal with the problem of the long-term unemployed (delete as appropriate), the Lib Dems pull out of the coalition.

However, since Labour aren’t offering anything radically different (and no-one is prepared to read the riot act to the “Great British Public” and put them right on a number of important points), the resulting election is inconclusive. So we end up as a laughing stock anyway, but at least our noses aren’t rubbed in it when the entire world is watching.

The city does quite nicely out of it though.

6) The world will not end in 2012, but panic about it will demonstrably kill people.

There will be at least one incident of a mass suicide of people who’ve come genuinely to believe that Mayan 2012 nonsense so, in a sense, the prediction will come out right for them in that their personal worlds will end.

Elsewhere, isolated and backward communities will find excuses to execute witches and wizards who are rumoured to have something to do with the prophecy. There will be panicked stampedes by crowds at events to mark the end of the world. Hucksters will find a way to make a quick buck out of it as they always do.

There will be some grim amusement to be had from watching cretins who believe the world was hand-made by God 6000 years ago ridicule the Mayan claims.

7) Despite gains in public education about the dubious merits of alternative therapies, they will remain popular, and their practitioners will remain quick to call their lawyers when criticised.

Homeopathy feels itself to be under attack from the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK, because the ASA is insisting (not unreasonably) that the homeopaths should be able to supply evidence for the claims they make and the homeopaths do not have any (at least, none that’s actually worth the paper it’s written on). The British Chiropractic Association made colossal idiots of themselves over the Simon Singh case. Nonetheless, there are many quacks out there (it should be said that in most cases, I believe the quacks have deluded themselves before deluding their patients) and the battle for evidence-based healthcare is far from over. It doesn’t help when outfits such as the Burzynski clinic in Texas get such an uncritical write-up from the press.

Perhaps it will take a high-profile celebrity death, one that could clearly have been prevented had the celebrity opted for scientific medicine instead of mystic mumbo-jumbo, really to turn the tide?

All the heavy-handed recourse to lawyers is, of course, grist to the mill of the Libel Reform Campaign and is thus ultimately counter-productive for the quacks. Still a bit tiresome though.

8) HMV announces that it will no longer sell CDs in many of its stores to make room for DVDs (to be phased out themselves within a few years) and fancy headphones.

I will be sorry to see the end of CDs. I like being able to get the measure of a new acquaintance by checking through their CD collection for warning signs (Coldplay, U2, Sting, Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers etc.) which may require gentle correction. I know that the day will come when music is all bought digitally from our corporate overlords (Apple, Amazon), and the DVDs and ultimately books will all suffer the same fate. This will be a sad day, and not just for those people who remain unconnected to the Internet or otherwise unable to access the on-line stores. If I end up trapped in a nightmare relationship because I don’t discover until it’s too late that my new partner’s music collection consists entirely of X Factor winners and pan-pipe Andrew Lloyd-Webber classics, I will blame the ghost of Steve Jobs.

9) No-one uses Google Plus.

Sorry, Google. Facebook has won this one.

10) Many of these predictions are wrong. Conversely, a cataclysmic occurs which no-one (including the professionals) saw coming.




  1. Well done Milomitu, great stuff. I greatly fear that most of your predictions will come true.

  2. 11) Jon Brown shamelessly promotes himself and Milomitu buys Jon’s book on Amazon – Bill Johnson: Zombie Issues Specialist.


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