New Year is rapidly becoming my favourite ‘holiday’ celebration. Why? Unlike Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and most of the others, it actually seems to have a purpose that’s neither religious nor consumerist. Although not the greatest fan of fireworks, I do enjoy using New Year as an opportunity for reflection on the year past, and to take a look at the year ahead. I do this for my own life – though that would be dreadfully boring to put on this blog – but I’m also increasingly trying to do it for the world at large. The rushed predictions I made for this year turned out to be 65% correct; next year I hope to beat that record! I’m going to split the predictions into categories rather than just focusing on exciting/dull political developments as I did for this year. So, without further ado, here are my 2014 predictions:
- The Coalition will survive to the end of the year, but the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will really start ramping up the rhetoric to differentiate themselves from one another. The Liberal Democrats will focus on the social liberal policies while remaining economically right-wing.
- European elections: The Conservatives will lose out massively, perhaps dropping to 15-20%, while I expect Labour to lead at maybe 25% or so. UKIP will, of course, dominate the news, and I expect them to come a close second to Labour but they won’t have a massive breakthrough. The Liberal Democrat vote will collapse, falling below 10%. The Greens will (hopefully!) keep at least one seat, while I think the SNP will make some gains in Scotland. There won’t, however, be a clear leader in the election.
- The Scottish electorate will reject independence in the upcoming referendum, but it’ll be closer than most are currently predicting. The share voting Yes will be above 35%.
- We might finally get some decent policy announcements from Labour. Maybe.
- The constitutional referendum in Egypt will go ahead and provide a Yes vote, resulting in parliamentary and presidential elections later in the year. I expect Sisi will run for president, or push a figure from the military. These elections might not be completely rigged but I don’t expect their results to be universally accepted.
- Libya will finally end up with a government by the end of the year, which will be more liberal-leaning than many other post-revolutionary governments in the region.
- North Korea’s ruling party candidates will be returned to parliament with 100% of the vote.
- Iraq will struggle to hold parliamentary elections within an increasingly violent atmosphere; Shia candidates will narrowly achieve a majority over Sunni and secular alternatives – Nour al-Maliki will probably continue as Prime Minister.
- The European Parliament as a whole will see a massive rise of national eurosceptic parties – like UKIP – gaining seats in the legislature. Otherwise, perhaps a small shift towards the left?
- The Bharatiya Janata Party will defeat the ruling Indian National Congress in India.
- The Fidesz Party in Hungary will consolidate its rule, leading to increasing concerns of authoritarianism in the country.
- The ANC will be re-elected in South Africa, although with a smaller majority than in any other post-Apartheid election. President Zuma’s popularity will continue to decline nonetheless.
- In Sweden the Social Democratic Party, in alliance with the Greens, shall sweep to power.
- Despite mass protests against her government earlier this year, I expect President Rousseff shall cling onto power in Brazil.
- The Democrats shall take control of the United States Congress, finally ending the gridlock upon American politics. (I can dream)
Other World Developments
- The Syrian conflict will become so depressing I’ll probably stop writing and talking about it. The death toll shall pass 200,000, the government and Islamic radicals will become increasing winners at the expense of the population, and the international community will twiddle its thumbs while Russia, Iran and Hezbollah more and more start to call the shots.
- The Sochi Winter Olympics will pass without too many more terrorist incidents. There will be heightened international criticism of Russia’s human rights record, which will then be largely forgotten once the media coverage dies down.
- We’ll be seeing a lot more about the travesty of oil-drilling in the Arctic.
- There will be another coup, either in Africa or Asia.
- Something big will happen to a South American country.
- At least two countries will become more democratic.
- Keep an eye on Ukraine – I expect certain elements of the country to increasingly resist Russian influence.
- China’s economic growth rate will recede although still stay above the majority of countries in the world.
- The dictator whose political demise I’ll predict this time is Abdelaziz Bouteflika, president of Algeria.
- Doctor Who: Steven Moffat will announce plans to resign within the next year, potentially followed by an announcement of a successor. The return of an undivided series structure, alongside the return of multiple-episode stories (not yet announced) will improve series 8’s standing in my reviews.
- Radiohead will release their ninth album, and it shall be amazing.
- J.K. Rowling will publish her sequel to The Cuckoo’s Calling, which will become an instant best-seller.