THE purpose of this column – apart from wishing you a successful New Year – is to show you that Old Moore, who has been publishing his almanac since 1697, has nowt on Old Ingham’s Prognostications.
I predict that Nostradamus’s 16th century grave will grow green with envy when he reviews my performance in 2016. He made 6,338 predictions in his time. I shall content myself with 10.
1 – Weather: When scientists are predicting global warming and others a new Ice Age, I must be cautious, especially as the Met Office has forecast a harsh winter and a hot summer. I am confident that, having in my old age bought another freezer against the risk of isolation caused by blizzards, the British weather over the next 12 months will be as unpredictably temperate as ever.
There will be frost, snow, sleet, hail, thaw, rain, drizzle, fog, mist, gales, balmy breezes, thunderstorms, overcast periods, humid days, sunshine from morn till night and periods of near-drought which will sadly not compensate those who are cruelly flooded. My advice is never to be surprised at what comes and thank the Lord for red skies at night.
2 – Foreign Affairs: Vladimir Putin will continue to do what comes naturally and cause trouble for the West. The West may contain Isil (or Daesh) with its bombing of Syria but bloody Islamic extremism is a long-term global problem. Increasingly, the Arab states, loaded with oil brass, will be told to take responsibility for their own backyard and Islamic migrants.
3 – European Union: With a bit of luck, we shall be out of it within two years, if not 12 months. Governments will then no longer have an excuse called Brussels. It is already clear that David Cameron has asked for next to nothing, will get even less and, from my experience, will find the EU reneging on whatever it had “agreed”. Meanwhile, the EU will go from bad to worse as a consequence of its obsession with becoming a United States of Europe, with its own currency, army and foreign policy.
4 – Scotland: Since around half the Scots are mad with jealousy of us Sassenachs, they will continue to delight us with their hypocrisy and economic naivete. We can expect a new drive for independence from the UK, though curiously not from Brussels, if the UK votes to walk out of the EU, and the certainty that Scotland’s own economic policies combined with the EU’s will bankrupt it in short order. It couldn’t happen to a dafter lot.
5 – Central Government: Cameron will find governing as difficult as coping with Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats because his own party will become ever more wayward as the Labour Party increasingly becomes more socialist than the Kremlin. The dearth of real quality in Labour’s ranks will mean that Jeremy Corbyn will be allowed to continue to amuse the nation with his designer stubble and wardrobe and seduce the young and otherwise silly into thinking he could run a whelk stall.
6 – Local Government: The drive for ever more devolution to local authorities will continue under such seductive phrases as The Powerhouse of the North. Village Hampdens know they have it made because when the money runs out they will, as usual, blame central government for cuts. George Osborne must have lost his marbles.
7 – Free speech: Under the influence of pathetic academics, pious teachers and potty students, we can be sure that by the end of 2016 I shall no longer be able to call a spade a bloody shovel since I might hurt its feelings. In fact, writing this column is already a constant challenge to see how far I can go without having my collar felt.
8 – Crime and punishment: This police obsession with people’s supposed feelings means you can bank on crime, especially cyber-crime, increasing, and punishment declining. It is now one of the seven wonders of the world that most folk are law-abiding.
9 - NHS: The NHS is probably better off for money than quality managers. It will become increasingly difficult for its overpaid bosses to hide because of the claims of neglect, inadequate week-end manning; the shortage of nurses with over two million unemployed; the gratuitous upsetting of junior doctors; and the millions of pounds being made out of hospital car parks while not charging A&E drunks.
10 – Public spending cuts: When the next cry of “cuts” goes up, I predict you will join me in telling the moaning minnies that there is nothing to prevent them from working harder.
Beat that, Old Moore.