For those of you bored rigid by Brexit I am afraid the first three months of next year – at the very least – are going to be a bit of a trial.
Brexit is likely to dominate on the domestic front with a crucial vote in January in the House of Commons on Theresa May’s withdrawal plan complete with concessions – if any – from the EU on the thorny issue of the Northern Irish backstop.
I predict that the establishment elite – who since 2016 have been on a two-and-a-half yearlong temper tantrum like a spoilt toddler denied a lollipop – will dial the hysteria up to 11. These entitled folk are simply unused to not getting their own way and as it becomes clear their plan to sabotage Brexit will fail you can expect much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. It won’t do any good – especially not for their mental health – and I predict we will indeed, finally, leave the EU either under Mrs May’s terms or under WTO regulations.
The good news is that on the following Saturday morning, March 30, things will carry on pretty much as before. The sun will rise, the birds will be singing and staff at rail operator Northern will be on strike.
I confidently predict that contrary to the preposterous doom mongering of Project Fear, World War Three will not begin and genocide will not break out.
The economy will not collapse, planes will not fall out of the sky and we will still travel to Europe for business and pleasure, as our European friends will visit the UK.
We will not run out of food, petrol, fresh drinking water or medicines and we will still be able to eat sandwiches. There will be no shortage of Mars Bars or cheese and we will not be invaded by an army of giant flesh-eating squirrels.
In other words, life will continue as normal with the only difference is that we won’t be contributing quite as much to Jean-Claude Juncker’s bar bill.
Where this leaves the bruised and battered Conservatives is anyone’s guess – particularly as Mrs May has apparently pledged not to fight the next election as leader. Can the wounds be healed? Can Anna Soubry and Jacob Rees-Mogg co-exist in the same party for much longer?
As for Labour, I reckon the Corbyn Cult has finally run into the sand. If Labour cannot build anything of a poll lead during the Conservative chaos of the last few months, I don’t think they will ever be able to do it.
All those posh, glassy-eyed young women who have been moronically chanting his name for the last two years are beginning to realise that Jeremy “Stupid Woman” Corbyn is not, in fact, the socialist messiah but a regular, grumpy old misogynist.
Internationally, I think we could be in for a very lively year, especially in the US where Donald Trump continues his unpredictable presidency, typified this month by his decision to pull US troops out of Syria and Afghanistan.
He could face a tough 2020 re-election bid – but only if the Democrats can find a candidate with broad appeal. That would require abandoning dead-end identity politics – obsessing over the choice of personal pronouns and gender-neutral bathrooms – and starting to talk about issues people actually care about, such as jobs, crime and immigration.
Europe, meanwhile, looks increasingly volatile and I expect the stresses that are pulling apart the moribund EU to intensify. Populist movements of both left and right will continue to grow across the continent. The one thing they have in common is they all hate the EU – which doesn’t bode well for dreams of a United States of Europe.
President Emmanuel Macron of France – the great globalist who was supposed to have halted the populist wave – has seen his poll ratings enter a death spiral. He capitulated in face of “gilets jaunes” protests and abandoned green taxes that hit the poor and rural voters.
As a result, France will break the EU’s strict deficit rules. Now here’s a final prediction – despite the EU constantly banging about the rules being sacrosanct during the Brexit negotiations, France will face no sanctions for this rule breach.
France and Germany will continue to obey the rules when it suits them, and ignore them when it doesn’t. Sound familiar?