Tuesday, 31 December 2013

14 Predictions for 2014

It is that time of year once again to dust of my crystal ball and try and work out that is going to happen over the next twelve months.

1. An Olympic medalist will make a statement/protest about LGBT rights live on the Olympic Broadcaster. This will be the reason why we were right to let the athletes attend the Games at least one of them will make a protest and it will be the LGBT communities 1968 Black Power moment.

2. After the 400 bomb alearts, some of them viable, in Northern Ireland in 2013 one of the ones in 2014 will lead to a fatality. This is the one forecast I want to get wrong but I'm scared that at some point one of these will go wrong, we had the carrier of one incendiary devise catch fire this month and other brave civilians have carried devices to safe areas before contacting the authorities, so I suspect that as these are not up to the high standards at the end of the troubles that something is going to go wrong.

3. Mark Cavendish will win stages in three of the British Isles capitals this year. It will a unique year of opportunity for the Manxman. He will have the chance to win in the capitals of three nations that can be seen from the Isle of Man. First there is stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia finishing in Belfast city centre and the following day when the race finishes in Dublin. Then in July stage three will finish in London and this time, unlike the 2012 Olympics Cav will have the chance to sign and show Marcel Kittel that he is back at full strength.

4. There will be a coup against Kim Jong-un. I've said this before about the North Korean leader but after a number of eliminations of senior opponents I think that for the sake o self preservation a group will rise up to challenge his leadership this year.

5. Olympians Katherine Grainger and Louis Smith will announce their retirements.  Both these two have taken a long time since the London to get back into action. Katherine did a BBC show in 2013 looking at those who continued and those who have quit while saying she was yet to come to her own decision, at 38 after over 12 months out she is unlikely to fancy getting back into the swing of training. Since the Olympics Louis has won Strictly Come Dancing in 2012 but has yet to compete again on the pommel. With the rising stars of British gymnastics that have been successful in 2013 being multiple discipline it is unlikely that being a pure specialist will suit well with Louis trying to fit back in.

6. Britain will win three or more medals in the Winter Olympics. With changes in the skeleton, short track skating, curling and slopestyle events there are multiple opportunities for Team GB to do well in Sochi so look for the Union flag going up the flag poles on a number of occasions and the National Anthem to play at least once. It will be the biggest haul since 1936 beating the two medal hauls of 1948, 1994 and 2002. Only at the first Winter Olympics in 1924 have GB ever won four medals at one games.

7. A DUP elected representative will actually speak/vote positively about an LGBT issue. The reason that the elected rep will state for this u-turn in their thinking is that a member of their family is either lesbian or gay.

8. Sammy Wilson will spend thousands of tax-payers money defending a court challenge by an same-sex couple who oppose their UK marriage being down graded to a civil partnership. Following the leadership of Edwin Poots the Minister for Finance and Personnel will waste finance and personnel on trying to defend that fact that marriages legal elsewhere in the UK as only being civil partnerships in Northern Ireland.

9.With Haass talks failing to reach an agreement on flags Northern Ireland descends into further acts of civil disobedience. With the lack of political leadership at the end of 2013 to realise that some solution had to be made on flags, both sides and especially the unionists continue to lose control of the situation in Northern Ireland. Alliance continue to be the main focus point of acts of civil disobedience which are on the verge, if not actually illegal.

10. England lose their first two group games in the World Cup in Brazil and are out before they face Costa Rica. After losing 1-0 to Italy in the first game in the heat of Manaus, England slump to a second defeat to Uruguay and the results of both those teams against Costa Rica mean that they are unable to progress before the final match on 24 June.

11. Scotland vote to stay in the UK. My prediction of the result 38% Yes, 62% No to the question that is put. Turnout will be under 50%.

12. As a result of the above Alex Salmond faces a leadership challenge from Nicola Sturgeon and John Mason in the Autumn and steps aside. The eventually contest will see Nicola Sturgeon elected as the new leader of the SNP. It leaves only the Scottish Liberal Democrats in Holyrood to have a sole male leader.

13. David Cameron is told by the EU that he cannot keep restricting free access to Romanians and Bulgarians, so he attempts to call an immediate referendum on EU membership. I use the word attempt as the coalition agreement and indeed act only relate to any constitutional change automatically prompting a referendum. So when David Cameron attempts to call this all the Liberal Democarats resign from Cabinet and the coalition is over forcing the Conservatives to operate as a minority Government.

14. As Parliament rises for the summer after months of failing to get his actual agenda through Parliament David Cameron announces he will resign after his party elect a successor. Immediately Zac Goldsmith resigns his seat and Boris Johnson stands for Richmond Park. But in the ensuing by election Lib Dem Robin Meltzer defeats Boris and his leadership aspirations are over.

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