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Ten Things That Are (Probably) Going to Happen in 2011

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Paul Mason | 09:25 UK time, Friday, 31 December 2010

I'll be appearing on the Radio 4 Correspondents Look Ahead programme tonight, repeated on New Year's Day (8pm 31 Dec, 1.10pm NYD). The idea is to make bold, unambigous predictions and be proved wrong a year later, getting ridiculed mercilessly by other journalists who actually know what they are talking about. In this spirit I will offer the following Pythian utterances for 2011 (and it goes without saying all kinds of unpredictable stuff will happen as well):

1. A Euro crisis
The markets will have a go at Spain and Portugal, also maybe Belgium. If Spain stands tough and the Euro-authorities back them, the bond vigilantes will turn with redoubled force and drive Greece out of the Euro. The EU leaders will, after dithering, create finally a shrunken but more stable Euro fiscal and political union, even to the point of creating a mini-Marshall plan for Ireland, which is a crucial quasi-offshore financial haven for the whole system.

2. A big cyber attack
Iran has already suffered one in 2010, and also Google. But with so much of the Western security apparatus being reoriented to finding (and launching) cyber attacks I suspect this is the year where we'll get the first big public, ie noticeable, cyber-skirmish between states.

3. Global commodity price inflation
The same combination is out there as in 2008. A tsunami of cheap money, real growth in demand for commodities in the emerging markets, hedge fund speculation and a gold bubble. What I can't predict is whether it will burst mid-year or not. Domestically, in the UK, it probably means they will not do QEII and will switch - probably after much political pressure - to hiking interest rates. (Oh, and Mervyn King will do an interview with Newsnight.)

4. The Sarah Palin bandwagon will stall
Power is too attractive for the career politicians of the American right to see this opportunity to beat Obama after one term thrown away. By December either Mitch Daniels or Marco Rubio (both quiet men with a grasp of statecraft) will have the big mo. If it is the former, I will shamelessly replay my 30 second walking setup shot of me and Mitch in the Indiana Capitol building, at every opportunity.

5. Economic crisis in Japan
I have lifted this straight out of the CEBR's predictions but it's been at the back of my mind for months. The economy is stagnant; debt is 200% of GDP, QEII has barely touched the problem and they are acutely susceptible to the rebalancing of the Asian economy.

6. Protectionism will return to the political agenda in Britain
Not since the 1970s has any British politician advocated protectionism and no mainstream leader will wake up on 1 Jan anything other than opposed to it: but with all three parties committed to rebalancing the UK economy they will learn that other countries are also rebalancing but using protectionist means: like Peter Mandelson they will become converts to tit-for-tat measures - above all, the unstated policy of a weak pound will be pursued. There will be a "signal moment" but I don't know what it will be.

7. A rash of Labour-aligned think-tanks will appear
Labour has learned that it lost the intellectual battle while in office to think tanks on the fringes of Conservatism - the Taxpayers Alliance, Migration Watch, Countryside Alliance, Policy Exchange etc. Funded by the unions it will create the equivalents - hardline fighters for core, "gut" Labour values - leaving the IPPR and Demos looking a bit like last year's thing.

8. The Chilcot Inquiry will drop a bombshell
The theory is, here among the hacks, that Chilcot has to be, for the Coalition, a moment of closure. For that its final report has to say something dramatic. The expectation is it will probably be harder on Blair and the JIC than it was originally expected to be, and also on the actual prosecution of the war and occupation. This will allow both the Coalition, the MoD, CDAS, the wider defence and intel community and also Ed Miliband to "move on" from Iraq.

9. Ukraine will be pulled decisively into the Russian orbit
Various bods who've seen the intel insist it is being relentlessly pulled into Putin's orbit, economically and politically, becoming highly hospitable to corruption and organised crime - and there's nothing the West can do. The West does not have enough will or unity to stage another standoff with Putin over a near-abroad country anytime in the near future. The EU and Nato will draw a line at the River Bug.

10. Finally, audaciously, because I've already said it on the recording of tonight's R4 programme....
The Coalition will fall. Not because of protest, not because of unpopularity but because everytime it tries to do something serious a bit falls off the machine. If they don't get AV and Vince Cable does not get radical banking reform, then by the time the public sector job losses are eating into their popularity, around party conference time, the Libdems will call it a day. Even more audaciously I will predict the outcome: no election but a Second Coalition to be formed between the Conservatives, an inner core of Orange Book Libdem leaders and various Unionists, with a slim majority. One or two Labour rightwingers, disgruntled by Ed Miliband, may also be tempted to join. Cameron will face down the Conservative right and embrace Coalition government as a modus operandi until 2015. Labour, locked in a policy review process and possibly still reeling from (8) above, will avoid an election.

Hit the Comments button - you know you want to! And let's hear your predictions too...

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Very interesting, and I agree with most of your views

  • Comment number 2.

    For point 5, Krugman blog 9 September 2010: "Oh, and about that debt; it’s not good — but net debt is about 100 percent of GDP, not 200, because the BOJ [Bank of Japan] holds so much of it."
    For point 3, Krugman blog 15 September 2010: "Second, we can have the global savings glut II: the revenge of the North. Robin Wells and I have argued that the original GSG, driven largely by developing country surpluses, was probably the main initial driver of the North Atlantic housing bubble; might the new version, driven by depressed demand in the North, produce comparable trouble in developing countries?"

  • Comment number 3.

    The big one you have missed (possibily) is the dollar crisis.

    The huge increase in dollars & the continuing twin deficits will finally make holding dollars very unattractive.

    US interest rates will rise rapidly, US workers will see further dramtic falls in their standard of living & the National Guard will kill its own citizens.

  • Comment number 4.

    While it may be a pretty accurate set of predictions you have to ask why we are so passive about being taken to the cleaners by the US-orchestrated financial markets and American foreign policy?

    OK...I can see that Westminster is a wholly owned and run satellite of Washington and Wall Street...and so politicians have to toe the line...whether they are emasculated Labour or emasculated Tory or risible Lib Dem.....but why can`t we exploit the fact that we have been dumped in the EU as a trojan horse for American capitalism and start to ask questions about what WE are getting out of being "at the heart of Europe"?

    There may be a much better future for us as part of a strong independent Europe after all.

    And now the USA is waking up to Chinese power and the cost of US foreign policy why can`t WE use our leverage in the "special relationship" to OUR advantage ....or just walk away from it and stop being their foreign policy poodles and socialising the losses caused by Wall Street fraud?

  • Comment number 5.

    I can't see anything wrong with your predictions except
    8. Chilcot I think it will turn out to be the damp squib that it was intended to be, we all have a fair idea of the truth of Iraq and we know that officially they can't admit to even the tiniest grain of truth as it will expose all the official untruths that were published at the time, this doesn't just encompass TB but the permanent government who are supposed to be apolitical but were conspiring with politicians to politically influence events.

    10. Coalition, I can see it crumbling as you say but the only reason there will not be an election is that no-one can afford it, Cameron will struggle on with a minority government (which is what he should have done in the first place) and we will watch the re-implementation of hard-core Thatcherism but without the benefit of North Sea oil or a healthy global economy to drag us out of the mire.


    My prediction

    More of the same but worse

    (good art though as artists work best when they suffer)

  • Comment number 6.

    Great set of predictions Paul. I hope you're right on 7 in particular - promising strides are being made but the left needs a much better ideas infrastructure to feed into Ed Miliband's policy review.

    Many thanks for great reporting during 2010 and looking forward to reading you in 2011. Happy New Year.

  • Comment number 7.

    I predict that at the age of sixty-four I shall become the oldest person to win the Turner Prize...(no moaning or I shall call you ageist and set the BBC on you!)....using a large container of urine with a sculpted model of myself sitting on top of it.....entitled "P artist taking the P out of P-awful modern art"

    Newsnight Review will think up some daft theories about why it`s the greatest thing since sliced sharks and I shall be on a financial roll!

    This capitalism is a piece of cake after social work!

  • Comment number 8.

    No good times then (possible exception of 10). A career in advertising for you does not beckon! A housing price crash, Public Sector strikes and more blood on the streets of London are safe bets. Dont write off the probability of a general election with a Con Lab coalition. I said at the time of the forming of the current coalition the Labour Cabinet had more in common with the Tories than the Lib Dems. Perhaps it was Ramsay McDonald you met metaphorically earlier this week not Lord Keynes.

  • Comment number 9.

    PS thank you for saving us from serious blogging deprivation in this period of enforced stupid winter public holidays.

  • Comment number 10.

    I particularly like the prediction that IPPR and Demos will be 'so last year'.... I want Real Labour spokespersons. Sometimes, the most leftwing representative on the Daily politics has been Andrew Neil!

    What about peak oil and the likelihood of oil being $100/barrel? Isn't that likely to push the US (and us)into a double dip?

  • Comment number 11.

    I also found that an interesting prediction. That utterly shocked look on Mrs Duffy's face, when told about Brown's 'bigoted' comment, captured the exact moment when the era liberal left politics came to an end.

    It's difficult to imagine how Ed Miliband can help the Labour Party get back in touch with the values and aspirations of working class Britain. The Wilderness Years of the 80s will soon seem like a walk in the park. That's my prediction for 2010



  • Comment number 12.

    THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY WILL BE STUCK WITH GENERAL ELECTION FRAUD

    Or I'll just have to keep trying.

  • Comment number 13.

    the persistent rumour is the flash crash in the markets was due to cyber attack?

    yes the pound has been sinking for a while. why do people believe in 'free' markets? Can anyone show me one?

    the commodity bubble is just another way for the rich to extract wealth from the poor and so maintain their wealth.

    Given a third of uk industry is foreign owned that trend will continue as profits extracted from the uk will be sent abroad.

    The uk will get poorer. The govt will have no jobs plan or any nation building plan because they hate the word plan and think 'market forces' are the only plan. Every subsidy will be cut except the one to millionaire landowners which is ringfenced [ notice no market forces in land ownership]. There will be no land tax or compulsory land registry.

    Debt will rise because it is the fuel that allows people to believe the uk is a rich country.

    Despite poor official govt figures shops will have good figures because of the size of the black economy in the uk. which is why there is an essential mismatch between the two. One report i read said there were now over 1500 organised crime gangs taking 40 billion a year from the public.

    A rising trend of more militant islamic insurgency. there seems no end in sight until a civil war between mutually exclusive society systems [as happened in old Spain]?

    the bbc will go into excess over the role gaming wedding.

    china will continue with the mantra 'to raise their currency when the time is right'

    china will have a financial collapse. why? because their growth is based on our debt. like japan they will not be able to stop internal bubbles in housing etc.

    now israel have 'apologised' to the uk for using the passports [and thereby admitting their death squad did the murder] JNF patron Cameron will allow Mossad chief back into uk probably at the begging of the neocon 'bomb Iran' FO?

    Cameron will not ask for a list of all british citizens who have served in the IDF so they can be prosecuted. There will be no closing down of uk organisations telling brits its ok to serve in the IDF and there will be no banning of the people/fundraising who wrote the King's Torah.

    Given nothing has philosophically changed regarding the model of society [norman monarchy hayekism] why should we expect any different outcome? Didn't Einstien say to keep doing the same things and expect a different outcome is madness? So the madness will go on. Bankers will get richer and their shareholders will do nothing, unions will strike to protect ponzis, carbon trading will become the new vehicle of official financial fraud etc.












  • Comment number 14.

    It`s just that sort of preposterous devotion to integrity and honesty that keeps Jaunty riding a pedal cycle and the divinely religious Blair family in the prosperity that goes with a devotion to christian precepts.
    Shame on you Jaunty!

  • Comment number 15.

    The student protests to balloon into a coalition of the disgruntled.
    An anti-terror raid on fringe elements of the student protest. Whether this is reasonable will not be discernable causing major social problems.
    The largest islamic fringe terror attack since 911, somewhere unlikely like China or South Africa.
    Corporate fraud cases to start filtering through.
    Better than excepted financial results in the first half of the year followed by shrinkage in the second.
    Bad but not horrific inflation.
    Our housing market to keep sliding.
    The US govt tools up to go to war with the money behind the bond market when they realise they are doing something crackers like betting against themselves via AIG.
    Cable's war on Murdoch comment and resultant removal from decision-making means that any and all decisions by the current govt in the media sphere look biased and shambolic. An EU appeals court ends up with the decision-making power.We have no discernable national media and communications plan. Leaving is behind in the infrastructure game but world leaders on apps development. But they can't be used here as we are unable to modernise our copyright laws.
    Lady Gaga to get embroiled in a sweat shop scandle.

  • Comment number 16.

    Only two predictions :

    1) I will have a headache in the morning, but the bacon butties will make it tolerable.

    2) China will win the currency war, and a new defacto currency regime will start to emerge from the fog.

    Thanks for the excellent blogs, particularly the chat with Keyne's ghost. Happy New Year

  • Comment number 17.

    SOMEONE MENTIONED EINSTIEN

    "Didn't Einstein say to keep doing the same things and expect a different outcome is madness?"

    He also said: "God doesn't play dice."

    Then it turned out that God is a Quantum Physics psychopath, who thinks Chaos is something you build a meaningless universe out of.

    Then the scientists who don't believe in God made Einstein into one. The Church of Dawkins followed, wherein reason was crucified.

    And we are still only on the 'first day'!

    You sure you want a-whole-nuther year? (:o)

  • Comment number 18.

    8. The Chilcot Inquiry will drop a bombshell.

    I feel the rest of your predictions are sound, and even conservative. I'd say this one is the equivalent of saying the US will totally collapse, or that Australia will be invaded by China. This is so left-field. As if the establishment will hurt their own. I can only assume you have inside info on this otherwise it looks fantastical.

    13 - juanty

    "the persistent rumour is the flash crash in the markets was due to cyber attack?" - haven't heard this at all, and it's my field. What is your source for this? Zerohedge is inadmissible btw as it's full of nutters ;-)

    As this is an economics blog how about some pointers around interest rates?

    Mine:

    1. Interest rates remain at or around 0.5% as house prices must be protected no matter what the cost
    2. Youth emigration to increase lots
    3. Car insurance up again a lot as the proportion of uninsured drivers goes up
    4. Fuel prices to rise, pound down, as part of...
    5. Inflation going up - tops 7% even using the deliberately flawed CPI/RPI
    6. Pressure on wages means strikes for increased pay in the public sector and some of them get their way. BoE watch this "like a hawk"
    7. House prices fall despite all the bailing out but no collapse as Brits are insane
    8. UK may loose it's top credit rating as markets revolt as deficit remains stubbornly high and they tire of rhetoric
    9. Pension age rises another 2 years. Boomers moan.
    10. BBC license fee cut => me buying a repo in Muswell Hill / Hampstead Garden Suburb.
    11. Students continue to organize over twitter and facebook which makes it a piece of cake for the plod to get inside info.

    ps just listening to 5-live coverage of house price figures from Nationwide - wow - they are mentioning the real world vs low volume. I'm amazed. Last line though: "it's a great time to buy a house". Says it all really.

  • Comment number 19.

    14

    ah the old the 'bad people who cultivate the appearance of morality which results in honours and wealth' problem as described in Platos Republic [bk 3].

    on the old c4 boards before they closed i did get praised by someone from the israeli internet warfare team [for exposing them and being resolute after 18 months of their hasbara book style abuse ] who said i should get an honour/medal from the Queen for defending the uk [the IIW leave the bbc boards alone for now].

    I thanked them for their sense of humour and went on to explain that in the UK the monarchist role gaming state apparatus, given their oath is to defending the monarchy and its privileges and not the people and their rights and laws, probably think, given my views that the head of state should not be privatised to hereditary role gamers, i'm not the right kind of person to get an 'honour'. Thus, in that respect, Israel has a higher level of democracy than the uk.

    Beside i don't feel common enough to make someone else feel royal. Kingship is a zero sum game. To be king you have to make someone else a subject ie deprive them of their human right to their own sense of sovereignty. Most object to this which is why it must be done with force and unjust laws till people are habituated to it and begin to think its good because its now custom and tradition.

    so one is up against those dogmatic pedants who think custom and tradition are highest ideas of the mind rather than the good. No right thinking person would take such a position.

    when was last time anyone from NN got a gong?

  • Comment number 20.

    My, am I glad you're still blogging, all your colleagues seem to be be so stuffed as to be unable to lift a typing finger. As for your predictions, well, maybe. I particularly enjoyed your meeting with the great man. He knows how to carry off being popular, then unpopular, then legend.
    Regards, etc.

  • Comment number 21.

    16 Ben-

    ZH is for nutters/the bored looking for entertainment.

    its a common rumour among traders that there was a three pronged cyber attack. clearly if it was then everyone will deny it. would you risk billions/trillions a day on a system with such flaws? as yet there is no credible explanations.

    the warning is just don't trade without a stoploss even if its only a black swan one. [unlike the bankers and their CDOs]

  • Comment number 22.

    17

    just think of the fun drinking coffee at the cafe at the end of the universe watching it all happen through the windows.

  • Comment number 23.

    21 jaunty

    Yes - ZH is good for entertainment. I suspect there is truth in the madness, but it's hard to sort through.

    Regarding the flash crash. I'm unaware of this rumour. All lines into exchanges are private so any "attacker" would have to go through a broker. Can you give an example of which stocks, and who they bought shares through / how did it happen? I'm not talking about low-level security etc, just which broker, which stocks? All counterparties have a dedicated connection and separate accounts with stops on them.

    I've seen individual stocks tank due entirely to errors. It's easier than you might think. Unless one has evidence of conspiracy it's best to go with "stupidity / greed" as the default position and work from that side across. Rightly or wrongly, this stuff is at the edge of what people can do and when it goes wrong, like Concorde, it goes really wrong.

    ps I've googled for this but so far all links are from authors who I would guess think computers are basically magic and that banks can just adjust the market and then press "print money".

  • Comment number 24.

    #Ben

    the flash crash was attributed to the 'fat finger'.

    High frequency trading is done by heuristic algorithms that have the ability to recognise and assimilate trading patterns.

    By watching on huge screens in real time, certain humans can see these algorithms working and can subtly train them to behave in a predictable way by feeding them trades and watching how they respond, each trade they do is a learning exercise.

    Train them like pavlovs' dog and when the time is right, feed the stimulus and take the profit, by the time they have learnt the new reality you are long gone with the money.

    The exchanges are only machines made by men, they can and are gamed regularly, the successful players are subtle and don't crash the system as they want to milk it long term, it only crashes cuz the tyros find out how to do it (but not the consequences, ie. trades rewound = no profit) and want to make the fast buck.


    Pauls 2. A Big Cyber Attack

    DDOS is easy to mitigate against if you know what you are doing, sadly most people in IT don't. (and I'm not going to tell them how because I don't have any interest either way)

    So yes it will happen and it will probably be effective, this is not because the attackers are any good but because the defenders are useless.


  • Comment number 25.

    Jan 2011, the barricades are up at the BBC, all the lefties and Andrew Neil are behind them...Hague with his tin hat on is mouthing obscenities screaming 'C4 is having most of your license fee....Feb 2011, the coalition is looking shaky but Vince is reading the six o'clock News and sanity prevails. Mar2011, David takes the Washington job as he is still pissed at his brother for 'winning' April 2011....the Euro collapses and the only one happy is....Gordon....the rest of the year? Don't care....emigrated.....

  • Comment number 26.

    Bobrocket - either that was for the benefit of a wider audience or you didn't read the bit that said I worked in this area.

    "High frequency trading is done by heuristic algorithms"

    I'd disagree. I don't think they "learn". Most offerings have static logic plus historical data and real-time data. At no point do they behave differently based on something learned from "their" experience.

    So at least you think the flash crash was a fat finger, not some cyber war. That's one throwaway comment we agree on.

    "The exchanges are only machines made by men, they can and are gamed regularly, the successful players are subtle and don't crash the system as they want to milk it long term, it only crashes cuz the tyros find out how to do it (but not the consequences, ie. trades rewound = no profit) and want to make the fast buck."

    Wow - sounds easy. And no risk either - just like the housing market. I wonder why people get sacked when / if they loose money on trades due to technical issues when it's apparently so easy to game. And if some banks can game it but others cannot how do the former get any clients? Methinks it's not as cut and dried as all this. Too many comments like "game it any time they want" etc.

    "By watching on huge screens in real time, certain humans can see these algorithms working and can subtly train them to behave in a predictable way by feeding them trades and watching how they respond, each trade they do is a learning exercise."

    So AI? Strange how these super sophisticated algos can learn but all other robots can't even hover the floor yet. I bet the banks are buying up dyson rivals to keep this technology from the masses!

    I'm not saying people don't play the system, but it's a lot more complicated than just waiting for a pattern on a screen. And a lot more hit and miss. I never like to see these comments about guaranteed profits, back door to the exchange, conspiracy guff. It simply doesn't hold water.

  • Comment number 27.

    jaunty - "its a common rumour among traders that there was a three pronged cyber attack. "

    Say cyber to most traders and they think "Doctor Who". These are the very last people in the world I'd get technical information from.

  • Comment number 28.

    #Ben

    sorry to disillusion you Ben, why do you think top end Physics and Maths PHDs are in so much demand in the city, surely it's not to calculate actuarial tables.
    We were doing machine learning and heuristics commercially in the 70's, NSA and GCHQ use it for pattern recognition, which is what high frequency trading is all about (spot a buyer and nip in there with a prior trade at a fractional increase of price, then sell it on to the original buyer, it forces prices to swing rapidly, demand to rise and fall, a faster algorithm = increase in profit, this also works when shorting)

    Pattern recognition is a particularly human characteristic, we can create machines in our own image but they will always be pale imitations, some people will choose to use their abilities for their own personal or idealogical gain.

    It is not a nice world out here Ben, I respectfully suggest that you open your eyes to the possibility that you have been lied to, all you life.



  • Comment number 29.

    This blog is starting to read like the Book of Revelations. Jeremiah might be dead but his music lives on, so lets all do the boogie.

    The Romans used to slaughter animals and read the future in their entrails, now we just slaughter the future in order to feed our entrails. A sentence including the words `hell' and `handcart' sits in my mind.

    However, we can take hope from the fact that the future is never quite what is expected and often is nowhere near as bad. It just gets a bit brown and smelly betimes but so long as the water supply holds up that need only be a temporary condition: unless you are in Belfast, that is. Home rule just means you can't get to put the kettle on.

    The Euro will wobble whilst a wave of austerity finally engulfs the last remaining bastions of social democracy. The people of Europe, including Britain, will find life a lot harder as the easy money ebbs away leaving entire economies high and dry, stranded upon the beaches of their own foolish aspiration.

    The European economy needs to be rebalanced away from lending money to each other towards adding value. This is the most critical measure of all and needs the fullest attention of all governments, including Britain. There is no point in just Britain waffling on about banking reform and greater protection for domestic industry as all these issues were shipped off to Brussels years ago. This calls for European initiatives and that must start now, immediately!

    Furthermore whilst the Coalition will stumble the UK will still need a government and this will have to necessarily be a national government of all the parties focussed on even further austerity. We have reached our version of Stunde Zero in which we either reform our body politic, root and branch, and restructure our economy or join Greece and others on the economic naughty step.

    As for the Labour Party and even the Left in general, they need to go back to the fundamentals of their existence and rediscover what they really stand for. As far as I can see at the moment the political Left is just a vehicle for careerists and opportunists intent on lining their own pockets at the public expense. As my old dad said when he quit the Labour Party having found the local organisation riddled with a corruption it was in nobody's interests to address: you can't build an alternative future behaving just like the other lot.

  • Comment number 30.

    BobR - do you work in this area - I do, so I don't think I'm lying to myself. People are not keen on code that can change it's behaviour in the middle of the day because it "thinks" it's got a better idea. They aren't even that keen on feedback loops. They want guaranteed prices relative to the market. Some people are gaming it but not all and it's not easy and you can loose your shirt doing it.

    Again I'm not saying people can't attempt this. I'm saying it's really hard and most don't. Imagining a world where computers make intelligent decisions in concert with humans is tempting, but I think it distracts from core issues, like the way finance is skimming off too much without creating real value. As always, the real problems are simpler and under our noses.

    AI was all the rage in the '70s and still hasn't delivered.

    "It is not a nice world out here Ben, I respectfully suggest that you open your eyes to the possibility that you have been lied to, all you life."

    That's pretty patronising, TBH.

  • Comment number 31.

    EU BANKING REFORM - EASY! (#29)

    All they need do is a little (more) political Rule of Law. They are already legendary for false accounting.

    De-regulate smoke and mirrors. Sorted.

  • Comment number 32.

    All probable + declining house prices + increasing bankruptcies + increasing civil unrest + second round of QE when our wobbly economy stalls again.
    Really hope your wrong on 6, protectionism would make this mess far worse.
    Happy New Years Eve

  • Comment number 33.

    there is lots which goes on in the markets which isn't in google :)

    no one knows for sure what went on. so all we have are fleetwood mac rumours

    the traders i know are mainly engineers or maths grad types.

    the speed suggests the robots went mad [over 60% of the market] like they did on black monday [still an 'unresolved' event 23 years later]. Humans can't react that fast.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Monday_%281987%29

  • Comment number 34.

    #Ben, sorry if you feel I am being patronising, that is not my intent.
    No, financial systems are not my field, I don't do computers anymore (boring), I do other stuff as my life goals are different now.
    (money doesn't feature heavily in my life any more and the Japanese broke 'money' anyway)

    The 'city' clusters in the 'city' to take advantage of the low latency of proximity to the fat pipe, those with the lowest latency can insert data/instructions on the input pipeline and can read the output pipeline before anybody else.
    (if you can read the input pipeline and insert instructions before execution then you can game the system quite easily, I imagine this is frowned upon by those in charge but detecting it is something else)

    AI is a dream that can't be realised yet (silicon does not have the ability to dream, carbon does though :) ) Apparently Intelligent Behaviour is a reality (a cashpoint giving out cash to the rightful owner is an example of this)

    Run multiple competing programs, some try to take a profit, others hedge losses, the object of the exercise is to skim the deals not interfere with them.

    Allow programmatical behavioural change but only within narrowly defined parameters, you don't want a rogue trader (who might make a big deal but is more likely to do a Leeson)

    You haven't explained what all those PHDs are doing (and not an economist amongst them)


  • Comment number 35.

    34

    there are different types of traders. From ex pit trading types who read the Sun and talking in rhyming slang to people who understand complex financial maths and a range in between.

    yes if there are cables you can tap into them like people can do with undersea cables.

  • Comment number 36.

    29...Nice seasonal try to raise our spirits Stanley but your Dad and I seem to have similar experiences with Old Labour....and the New Labour experience was the last straw!

    e must break the habit of imagining any of the electable parties have the freedom to represent any sort of grass roots British interests.Labour never did care about working people...it was always an internationalist movement obsessed with immigrants concerns.

    They spend a lot of energy pretending to reflect our views but all politicians either serve the powerful or lose their cosy jobs.

    The besetting problem in the AngloSaxon World is that the powerful people who our politicians have to serve are often not here in Britain ....or if they are resident here their money is unpatriotically placed where taxmen can`t get it.

    So talking about British politics on the assumption that we can steer our own course and vote out governments that don`t serve our interests is now just pie-in-the-sky fantasy.

    Ditto the rest of Europe where the manipulation of money by lending and borrowing has become as much of an addiction as it is in the USA.

    I don`t know much about economics but it`s not hard to see that our political and economic lives are changing swiftly now China and Russia and Saudi Arabia have become the new global financial frontier ....and they are lending Wall Street money at very low rates of interest which in turn has been used to get us right royally up to our ears in debts that frankly we didn`t need to take on.

    The West owes a fortune...but America will avoid responsibility and sail on as global capitalism`s empire builder..owing a fortune itself but carrying on moneylending and developing China/India/Russia and the EU ...and fighting wars for extremist capitalism.

    But where does the UK go? We can`t get away with owing a fortune like the USA....so I think we have to get into Europe and start turning it from being a moneyspinner for the USA into a social democratic independent powerhouse that shows the world that there is a third waybetween capitalist extremism and communism..... that doesn`t mean we have to be in hock to the superpower moneylenders.

  • Comment number 37.

    36

    europe [ie germany] would kill the uk. safety lies in having control of your own wheel. wealth creation is by making things. we have no natural resources, we can't compete with china's 40% currency discount so where is our edge?

    our edge is in the arts and knowledge. we should be exporting entertainment [books, films, software etc] and educated people. the uk should be awash with doctors and dentists etc who can then go overseas. so we can have an empire of culture and knowledge. And the uk should have safe banking given the stable nature of society. stability doesn't drop out the sky it has to be engineered and debated without those debating it getting shot or sent to some gulag. imo the market is right for new banks unhampered by toxic debt to enter and clean up leaving just the zombie banks on public subsidy medication. which is what is happening.

    all that service economy gump is parasitic and depends on the existence of rich people.

    people keep trying to say the crash was a failure of capitalism. Economic laws did not fail. they were ignored for private profit. Now the laws are reasserting themselves. Nothing failed except hayekism/greenspanism ie self interest as the only 'regulator'.

  • Comment number 38.

    my predictions
    no one will be taken to court for any of the corruption that has gone on aided and abetted by government ministers the world over

    tony blair will continue to live offshore for tax purposes and will not be carpeted for taking the uk into an illegal non war

    the ones left with a job in the public sector will support any measures brought in by the government in order to keep their jobs

    the westminster gravy train will continue on its merry way, nothing has changed really

    some false flag event will emerge to keep the natives occupied

    the bbc in scotland will continue to be the mouthpiece for labour/ common purpose as it looks to affect the scottish elections

    the bbc in scotland will fail in their attempt to get a majority labour ruling party in the scottish parliament

    there will be a moulding of the news to make a one world currency seem like a good idea and the only way to get out of paying back all the debt in the current currency situation

    there will be an assassination attempt on President Obama and it will be blamed on a terrorist

  • Comment number 39.

    BobRocket - phds are there - but they are not all trading using high frequency arbitrage, which is what you are describing. Many are analysing medium / long term trends. Many are selling analysis rather than prop trading. AFAIK much of what they are doing is pre-analysis which is then used to produce a simple trading instruction like buy X of Y. This is a world away from intelligent machines trading.

    I've been saying above that HFT isn't a zero sum game and anyone who states that banks can just hit "print money" doesn't know what they are saying.

    I think having moved from discussing vapourware intelligent programs that learn and beat the market down to cash machines being regarded as intelligent for correctly matching the account number on your card to your account shows the gap between 1970s hopes and reality.

    jaunty - dedicated lines into exchanges are not like nigerian pipelines - you can't just tap into one by running a line down a sewer.

  • Comment number 40.

    There will be a crisis in the Eurozone only because jouralnists are wanting/waiting for a crisis and will therefore report it as such, even if it is only a blip/hiccup ! ! !

  • Comment number 41.

    Happy New Year to one and all,
    whilst we speculate what 2011 might bring, spare a thought for Eric Rudsdale and George Orwell as they look forward to what 1941 might bring.

  • Comment number 42.

    MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN 2011

    When they say anything at all, that has the ring of truth about it, politicians are often found saying: "I came into politics to make a difference". Personally, I hold the view that (like Bluebottle in the Goon Show) they 'WANT TO BE THE MAN' that makes a difference; they want a LEGACY and they want their name on it. This boils down to an ambition to wield power over others, for personal aggrandisement. Hence my coinage: "Politics is the art of self deceit, wrapped in the craft of deceiving others, for their own good."

    In so many ways, the politician is identical to the con-man; do con-men, also, fool themselves that they are ACTUALLY honourable? What with constituency work, the party whip, and ambition to high office, all potentially at odds, the politician has little room for integrity. And now that so many are actually TRAINED to do politics, AS AN END IN ITSELF, the small matter of competence in the various offices of state, is eclipsed. So painfully self evident in recent times!

    Why do Westminster MPs presume to call themselves 'HONOURABLE'? It smacks of insecurity to me. I suppose it belongs to the world of 'HIS GRACE' and 'THE VENERABLE', but are MPs not COMMONERS? Are they not supposed to be one with US? Whence comes their elevation? When the Cold War chilled us, the USSR would preface their being with 'THE PEACE LOVING PEOPLES OF', even as their menacing parades of armaments, trundled through Red Square. They too were insecure. We need a higher calibre of MP to run our lives.

    When the 'COALITION OF DAVE’S SHILLING' (that Nick 'took', while being bought) finally collapses under it's own weight of infamy, let's try to see a few changes made at the next General Election. We must demand a box on the voting paper that says: 'A PLAGUE ON ALL YOUR HOUSES, AND ESPECIALLY WESTMINSTER' - I am a free agent, I WILL be counted’. We need an atmosphere of ROSETTE DENIGRATION and promotion of the INTEGRITY OF THE INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE (as urged by Martin Bell). If we are to break free from the oppressive hold that THE WESTMINSTER CITADEL exerts over us, I can see no better place to start than to: SPOILPARTYGAMES.

    Good luck England.

  • Comment number 43.

    Adding to #9: Besides Ukraine, Belarus will also be pulled into the increasingly hardening new Russian sphere.

    cheers

  • Comment number 44.

    Happy New Year Paul and to all of you!

    As I have done for over 40 years, I am listening to the New Year's Day concert from Vienna to put me into a calm mood. Prosit Neujahr Freunde!

    In my little bit of West Wales there were relatively few revellers out last night, and many went home much earlier than normal. People are not spending much, and although pubs increased their prices to compensate, this was self-defeating.

    Hence my first prediction: The economy will go back into recession before the cuts bite because of the "Paradox of Thrift".

    My Prediction no 2: the coalition may last in modified form, but the Lib-Dems will split formally by May at the latest. Charles Kennedy will lead the rebellion and take a majority of the non-parliamentary party with him. Clegg will lead half of the parliamentary party to form a modern equivalent of the "Liberal Nationals".

    2a) If the referendum on av takes place, there will be a resounding NO because people want to stick two fingers up at Clegg.

    3) There will be more direct action and a higher profile for grass roots campaigns like the "Other Tax payers Alliance", "False Economy", 38 degrees etc. The Labour Party will be playing catch-up.

    http://www.taxpayersalliance.org

    http://falseeconomy.org.uk/

    http://www.38degrees.org.uk

    In other ways I agree with Bob Rocket: more of the same but worse.

  • Comment number 45.

    @43 The Ukraine might split however, with the the old Polish Ukraine becoming independent by messy mutual consent. Remember that the Ukraine as a whole did not choose independence from Russia - it was left stranded when Yeltsin torpedoed the Soviet Union. My relatives in Kiev certainly felt betrayed by this.

    Most central and eastern Ukrainians want western prosperity, but also close ties with Russia. Remember too that Kiev was the first capital of Russia.

  • Comment number 46.

    36 worcesterjim

    Let me remind you of the words of Joe Hill immediately before he was executed for organising strikes by miners in the Land of The Free. His words were `Don't mourn; organise!'

    In other words stop worrying, there will be casualties in the struggle but by organising ourselves we can change the way things are.

    I know the system is broken, I know what we are told is often untrue but we must refuse to accept anything as inevitable. We can turn this round through our own behaviour and example. It will be tough but nothing anywhere near as tough as what Joe Hill faced. We don't have to accept the way things are, we don't have to listen to any assertions from whoever. This way we can start to make things work.

    I listened to Paul on the radio today whilst driving down to see me ancient mum in her nursing home - talk about the living dead - and he sees the dialogue of the youngsters facing a prospect of unemployment I can only imagine despite having been out on the cobbles in my time, as being the start of a new political dispensation. I am inclined to agree with that view as a million 16-24 year olds on the Old King Cole, many of them graduates, has a distinct whiff of revolution about it.

    The role us older souls must take is to cool the anger of the young away from the stupidity of political violence and focus their obvious frustration into an argument for practical policies that work. It is time to unload the old dogmas and start over.

  • Comment number 47.

    47....We are projecting our many discontented feelings and ideas on youngsters who have been diseducated and bewlildered by our modern apolitical state and it`s soap opera culture......they have no grasp of polics or history or even an English culture of dissent.

    Watt Tyler? Tolpuddle Martyrs? Or could they be limbering up for a revolution led by Snoop Doggy Dog as Lenin or Lady Gaga as Boadiccea?

    They are victims of global capitalism "blame and debt" syndrome....first capitalists convince people that all that befalls them in our unequal world is their fault ...then the capitalists get them into debt..which they feel responsible for.... and spend the rest of their lives dutifully paying off.... like good obedient little citizens ....while every unprincipled crook and con artists spends and "lends" them more money and so on and on!

    To the Barrak Obama Barricades comrades...you have nothing to lose but your money and your lives ....buying a house or taking freedom to Afghanistan!!

  • Comment number 48.

    @46 Well said Stan. There are all sorts of things we can do individually.

    Inspired by Rev Billy, I shall not be buying petrol from the UK branch of "The Big Box", or the Tescopoly, but using my local independent traders.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reverend-Billy-Talen/173744130973

    I have contributed financially to the forthcoming 38 anti tax avoidance campaign which will target George Osborne.

    http://38degrees.org.uk/campaigns

    No doubt there will be future protests at shops, banks etc who participate in tax avoidance. Get involved locally!

  • Comment number 49.

    47 jim

    `....they have no grasp of politics or history or even an English culture of dissent.'

    Neither did I as a fourteen year old street kid in early Sixties London. I was a cynical and cunning child despising my teachers and hating my home. Yet I was lucky enough to find good people who took their time to talk to me, to demonstrate to me that there were better ways to live than exploiting others, better ideas, good books to be read; so I became in turn a revolutionary, a talker for peace, an historian and in due time a proponent of self-organisation of work within industry and commerce.

    Things can be changed! I know as I have done it. Sure, the times and the powers can be against you but you must keep the faith otherwise the enemy has won! We just need to stop being frightened by the size of the task. For things to happen there only needs to be the political will. What always surprises me is the willingness of ordinary folk to give a hearing. From the consquent discussion better ideas flow forth so that some conception of the possible becomes apparent.

    The situationists always talked about the power of everyday life. Nothing is truer than that. Time to storm the reality studios!

    The best political advice I ever got was extraordinarily from a supporter of the UDA at the time of the Loyalists' strike in the mid-Seventies. He told me that `nothing is forever'. So Jim, to continue that theme I can only suggest to you that there must be no surrender.

  • Comment number 50.

    NASDAQ is looking very dot.con bubbly. Expect a 10% or more correction in the first 2 months of 2011 followed by new highs reached towards the late Summer/early Autumn.

    QEIII to be announced April/May 2011 this time putting serious cash, either in hard cash or tax cuts, to every single adult American. BBC News reports on homeless people being handed 2,500 bucks each.

    Or the Bernanke could just decide to collapse the Chinese economy by raising US interest rates and crashing commodities - oil, copper, gold, silver, etc.

    No chance of a Euro break-up as too much time, money and political careers - freebies and egoes - are wrapped up in the Euro experiment. Germany will back the Euro and by the Autumn expect the German Finance Minister to be running the ECB.

    Jennifer Aniston will still be single at the end of 2011.

    This is a possible outcome - i.e. prediction - for 2011 and not financial nor celebrity dating advice.

  • Comment number 51.

    Just listened to the programme. Thought it gave an interesting insight into some BBC Correspondents grasp of Economics.

    When Paul suggested that 2011 was looking like a repeat of 2008 and the run-up to the first banking crisis... which should have at least caused some pause for thought if not discussion... the conversation moved on almost as soon as Paul had finished his sentence.

    We can spend numerous minutes talking about Afghanistan or the Sudan - even Obama's birthday got raised more debate - but discussing what may potentially be an economic collapse of the global economy greater than 2008/09 and 1929 appeared to whizz above heads.

  • Comment number 52.

    49...Well said Stan...and my ancestors in Northern Ireland and the Hebrides would have joined your call for the red hand of Ulster to demand "no surrender".....though they would have been very concerned by the Pope`s recent victory rally over Protestantism and the antics of Blair and Paisley in the last decade!

    Sure we must keep "the faith"...and free peoples do stick together in countries that are truly still independent ....like the USA and Israel and China......but however well intentioned our liberal masters in London might be....the fact is that no people will fight wars alongside each other if they are told to be ashamed of nationalism and their religion and their very culture itself.

    If you examine why British people committed 7/7 and why we made more of one Brasilian`s death than Ian Tomlinsons...or why we have to write in code to get past the moderator ...you may truly see why those kids don`t know what they are fighting for!

    That`s me out for 2011...but I hope to return refreshed next year!

    Keep the faith....and if you find out what the faith is please let me know in 2012!

  • Comment number 53.

    I'm betting that BBC blogs will cease.

    This will be a direct result of some folk having alternative views to the staff bloggers and either noticing a total absence of some things being reported in the real world whilst pointing out other, BBC-favoured topics are over-played endlessly. And modding this 'correctly' can be awfully costly. So even the BBC can see merit in some cuts when it suits... and there is only so much money to go around.

    It will probably take the form of no one much posting at all for ages, followed by a rash of referals/House Rule removals of the half dozen who can sneak in a comment before watertight oversight or 'closed for comments' plug pulls.

    The final one will, ironically, be posted on The Editors, probably by Helen Boaden which will again be without irony broadcast only, 'explaining', in true Newswatch style, that 'the BBC has got it about right in this case' on impartiality and free speech, and it is time to move on... er... back to unique licence-fee funders being told what and how to think using opinions from special guests pre-vetted by researchers and then enhanced to suit the narrative in the edit-suite.

    Saw this summary recently, which was interesting:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/2010/10/new-bbc-editorial-guidelines-l.shtml – closed for good, and with it the promised answers to any questions licence fee payers may have

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/ – latest doesn’t have them enabled; the penultimate has closed on…. 4. Worth going back on the archive to check most others, especially Helen Boaden’s now-infamous ‘impartiality is in our genes’ market rate talent triumph.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/12/cancun_outcome_splits_opinion.html%E2%80%93 pulled at 28. Most do when things get ‘inconvenient’. Mr. Black is famed for coining the BBC editorial phrase ‘watertight oversight’, which means if it’s bad for the BBC’s buddies and/or agenda they get all professional and worried about legality and substantiation. Of course, if it’s pure speculative gossip from Michael Crick’s legions of ‘sources’ or the result of criminal espionage then it is a front page scoop.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/ – apparently he doesn’t even read ‘em.. does he even still write them?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/dailypolitics/andrewneil/2010/12/global_warming_and_the_snowfal.html%E2%80%93 after a long absence, closed at 19

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2010/12/rethinking_the_world_of_books.html%E2%80%93 Now closed at 14… and rather clearly still with neither author nor anyone else reading what they posted to find the advices the link to the subject of the story, and first word of the piece, is bad.

    Mind you, as observed, one can always look forward to Mr. Crick's 57 Varieties of 'source'... er... scoops.

    Or maybe Ethical Man returning, after a long sabbatical, to do a special on consistent (A)GW messaging, perhaps with various Newsnight staff flying in from the slopes they have been enjoying over the school hols for a midnight special set on Kirsty's balmy floodlit tennis court a la Mr. Miliband 'science is settled' E's famous kitchen cabinet.

    Probably.

  • Comment number 54.

    49

    You are getting me wrong again jim and putting sentiments into my words which are not there. Although, like you, I can own to be of good gal-Gaidheal Covenanting stock - far too many Billies in that side of the family - I also have some Irish Catholics roots and wider family connections. London was a great melting pot in the nineteenth century as it remains to this day and tracing my ancestors continues to be a source of entertainment. Mind you the family split over Ireland between 1919 and 1922 and some of that generation were only mumbling politely to each other some forty years later.

    I used the concept of `no surrender' in my argument as an example of not allowing yourself and your community to be ground down by external pressures. You have to know who you are and be true to yourself. In my experience when supporting Civil Rights in northern Ireland was that sure the Catholic community was being given an unecessarily hard time, but it was the poor Protestants who were being used by the better off to keep the Catholic population down. It was the classic political-economic model of the poor being divided by the wealthy to fight each other whilst the wealthy ran off with all the money. The trouble with such political models is that eventually both sets of poor folk manage to work out what is going on. It is just that some take longer than others.

    To a certain extent I can understand an assertion of nationality. Luton is just down the road from here and since some of my people worked the lime-kilns that built the place, I do talk to guys who are in the EDL. Using a nationalist framework to react to unfavourable events is understandable, but eventually any movement has to define that framework into a narrative which is comprehensible outside their own perceptions. The BNP is being twisted like a corkscrew at the moment on this particular issue. This is why nationalist organisations either have to mollify their nationalism - like Plaid, the SNP and even more so like Sinn Fein - to make themselves electable or turn into a narrow sectarian putchist gang which has no future. Even though I can't stand the man, I have to respect the skills in this respect of Ian Paisley, now Lord Bannside, who was a brilliant operator in redefining the Loyalist narrative.

    The nationalist narrative in Britain has moved on from being a hangover from empire but still retains elements of what can only be called bigotry. I have noted that the EDL leadership has deliberately set out to address racist intolerance. What still remains missing among British or English nationalists is any deeper historical understanding. However the nationalist narrative is constructed it has to be understood all the way through that ruling groups always legitimise themselves though the use of myth. There are too many of these myths at work in modern Britain. So the question I ask every nationalist is whether they are about the nation as a collective of all the people or are they about creating yet another sectarian myth?

    Even then, whatever flag you fly and whatever you believe otherwise, the real issue is the economy. Always it is the economy. Is there food on the table, a viable roof over your head, warm clothing, good shoes and a future for the children? This has to be the main measure of any society.

  • Comment number 55.

    and a happy new year to all our readers.....

  • Comment number 56.

    A prediction for interest rates, government borrowing and defaults.

    Base rates will be kept near zero by the BoE, BoJ and US Fed. Yields on treasury bonds in the second hand market continue to rise as bond holders see greater risks in government debt.

    Government borrowing increases more than planned as cuts in spending are not met and actual tax revenue 'unexpectedly' falls below forecasts. Higher interest rates on new bonds issued means a greater share of government spending is on debt repayment.

    The central banks in the UK, US, Japan and Europe are the single biggest holders of their own governments debt following QE. The governments then default on the bonds they owe to their own central banks.

  • Comment number 57.

    ALL SHALL HAVE PRIZES - GOING FORWARD (#56)

    You could get a PhD with that Junkk. So you reckon we are to suffer the blog-equivalent of 'constructive dismissal'?

    Ah well - I shall have more time to commit to bringing down this corruptly-founded government. http://spoilpartygames.blogspot.com/2010/08/entrenched-westminster-blight.html

    In passing: can someone send Simon Hughes for re-education regarding what the (rump) electorate ACTUALLY voted for? It was not a VOTE FOR INDECISION with de facto invitation to coalesce. With a few exceptions, voters voted for ROSETTES carried by ninnies, on the basis of bigotry (Labour) pedantry (Conservative) and 'signatory' (LibDems).

    (When sending Hughes for re-education, avoid the Goebbles Academy of Repetition.)

  • Comment number 58.

    LIVING (IF YOU CAN CALL IT LIVING, WITH MODERN WOUNDS) WITHIN THE LIE

    It seems that 1984, paradoxically, moves closer with each year passed, going forward. If you listen to Deceitful Dave's New Year Address, you will hear him refer to DEFENCE MEDICINE - words for tricksters to conjure with. What unspeakable charlatanry! These foolish adventurers, seduced into Tony's wars, now needing surgery and psychiatry beyond the gift of man; and then Newspeak dubs it 'DEFENCE MEDICINE'. I suppose we could always throw empty morphine bottles at Taliban hoards, as they swarm up our beaches - THAT might be a sort of Defence Medicine. Or is it simply that the crass name DEFENDS government against the consuming guilt that comes, when political war yields irreparable human wreckage?

    Disgraceful Dave should be made to acknowledge that the oblique name is political face-saving - even when a physical face can't be saved. . .

  • Comment number 59.

    I wonder what 2011 holds in stall for Pakistan.

  • Comment number 60.

    The extent of the problems caused by foreclosuregate in US will become more visible. This will have an increasingly detrimental effect on the US economy and the markets. The speed with which this happens will depend on their legal system and is thus difficult to assess. However, by the end of 2011, everyone will be following an unfolding catastrophe. How far will it spread, I don't know .....

    By the end of 2011, it will be clear that the ConDem cuts cannot be implemented as envisaged and explained so far. There will be some significant examples of changes in policy. Also it will start to be obvious that the policy is not working as the private sector will not be absorbing the ex-public sector employees.

  • Comment number 61.

    AMERICA WILL ALSO HAVE TO TRADE-IN OLD TRAUMA FOR NEW IN 2011 (#60)

    HNY Dormouse - should you be awake? You will run out of fat-reserves and not last the Winter.

    America, it seems, is still the weird place that hosted me in 1967. I found a juxtaposition of prudery and lechery, and endemic denial. 9/11 and the Great Money Myth, also call forth denial. How much of it can any one nation carry, without catastrophic collapse? No wonder Obama is preparing for civil unrest; the preparation cloaked in Terror-speak.

    Better that Yellowstone blows first, and we can get back to basics.

    Interesting times.

  • Comment number 62.

    @61 All societies have contradictions, but the contradictions of US democracy are particularly irrational. Reaganomics and Republican economics since have promised citizens a square circle. Facts and evidence count for far too little in either their religious or their political debates. In fact, the political agenda is more and more set by faith and repetition of lies and revisionist historical myths, strongly promoted by Murdoch's Fox "News". Here's one clip of Glenn Beck "joking" about slapping his grandfather (who lived through the great depression) for liking FDR.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awVcX5a8Km4

    Paul, I'm not at all convinced that the Palin bandwagon will fail. Murdoch and his allies have created a monster which could devour them all - people whose philosophy is an irrational combination of "Christian" and capitalist theology. Palin may yet become a US equivalent of Ahmadinejad and attempt to transform the US into a bizarre evangelising theocracy. Even if this fails, there will be serious violence, because the US right is inciting it with imagery and language against its opponents.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFWOLSIhYMg

    Murdoch promotes all this lunatic ordure. Why are most of our politicians still fawning over him? Time to fight back!

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 63.

    when George Osborne goes down the piste at Klosters...there are no ski trails.......whoar...scary or what?

  • Comment number 64.

    @62 It seems that Auntie Beeb is being understandably somewhat cautious in view of recent controversies, including perhaps that of Jeremy Naughtie-Word ;-D


    You may find the "unsuitable url" by googling livemind and wupert.

  • Comment number 65.

    Actually, I've been thinking about Political Predictions for 2011 - but from an Amerian perspective; however, some of my predictions as you will see, apply equally well to the UK. I guess because the UK and the US continue to be siamese twins - just plain inseperable, joined at the brain.
    So, begging your indulgence, here are my 2011 predictions:
    1. Politicians will continue to lie; in fact, the truth will no longer comes naturally to them, causing them to sputter, even when the truth is harmless. Lying will become knee-jerk.
    2. The Federal Reserve Bank will continue to print more money on worthless paper, which will weaken purchasing power and escalate inflation.
    3. The Government will continue to spy on its citizens with the uttermost cooperation of its citizens; It will use tools such as GPS, social networks and the internet, all of which our ignorant citizens continue to use without precaution and great carelessness.
    4. The Constitution will become less worthy than paper money. Rights will dissipate. At the first sign of insurrection the national guard will move to round up persons involved and hold them indifintely in internment camps (said camps already exist). This will be done without trial on something referred to as a "controlled order".
    5. Politicians will continue to use the military to occupy other countries, steal their wealth, eject the best of their politicians and commit collateral damage, as though picking ripe tomatoes. (The US has 750 bases in over 100 countries.).
    6. Politicians will fail at reducing the deficits; they will fail because they are gutless when it comes to confronting the investment banks too big to fail. They will continue to ignore the need for FAT (Foreign Activity Tax) which would force investment banks into auditable accounting positions (which could indeed lead to indictment re white collar crime) and reduce the deficits.
    7. Politicians (heavily lobbied) will pass more & more regulation that will make life easy for corporate entities - large competitive advantages, essentially making the palying field muddy for small businesses - totally uphill and potentially undoable. Mom and pop ownership will cease.
    8. The media will continue to say what it is paid to say. The public will essentially believe everything they are told, and we will start to hear "baying" around mid-year as more and more persons enter the sheepfold, clinging to their toys (e.g. hand-held phones) and unable to form an intelligent, independent thought.
    9. As for the media, the talking heads, the pundits: they will tell the public over and over (brainwashing) that spending is what will drive recovery, the dollar is strong, trade deficits are good things...By mid-year people will start repeating these messages like mantras. This will become part of the generalized baying.
    10. America’s economic decline will continue and government will seek more power in taking rights from the people - all in the name of solving the problems that the government & investment banks too big to fail created.
    11. People will continue to keep defending, supporting the 2 parties that aided in destroying the economy and stole so much people-liberty: the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. They will fail to realize that both parties are one and the same, and run by powerful lobbies.

    Something big will happen in 2011. The world will change for good or ill. People will wake up, or people will remain asleep.
    One will give us hope; the other will leave us comatose.
    Imagine if people woke up.
    Imagine if they stopped with their little gadgets, their isolation, their willingness to fight wars based on lies, and said:
    ENOUGH!

  • Comment number 66.

    This new Bilderberger member will become big in 2011

    http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/groceries/index.jsp?bmUID=1294065023458

  • Comment number 67.

    MAKE IT SO BB! (#65)

    But how inexorably we have drifted. Now it seems impossible to 'start from here' on any road back. That last line of '1984' continues to haunt: we have ALL come to 'love' Big Brother.

    I accidentally set myself on fire today, only instinct stopped me from doing the right thing . . .

  • Comment number 68.

    Marketing of goods or politics is often based upon lying by half-truth. Here's a very short term prediction:

    Today the message has been "Beat the VAT Increase!" However, I suspect that some retailers will have been using this "Do Panic" message both to protect their own margins and shift obsolete stock. Much advertising has been screeching "Buy Buy Buy! - offer ends 4th January."

    Tomorrow it will be "New Reductions!", Fantastic Offers Extended!", "New VAT not added on selected lines!" etc etc etc.

    How many times per decade does "Daz" become "New Daz"? How white can white become?

  • Comment number 69.

    We can predict, but there are three (3) Certainties for the United Kingdom 2011:
    1. The full national debt of the UK will be £4.8 trillion. This week the Office for National Statistics published data showing that the UK had a total debt of £816B (excluding the bail out amounts that were used to rescue the banks in the recent financial crisis, and not taking into account state pension liabilities).
    Pension liabilities that the government must include are
    - the public sector pension liability of £1.2 trillion and
    - the state pension liability amount of £2.7 trillion.
    The £816B debt figure is seriously misleading, unless citizens have agreed to bypass their pensions.
    The full debt of £4.8 trillion = every person in the UK having a debt of £78,000.
    2. CBI experts are forecasting that interest rates will rise by around 0.2% within the first four months of 2011. The CBI also says that it expects the Bank of England will then raise rates again to around 0.4% in the second quarter of 2011.
    Then of course there is the VAT increase.
    Expect more expensive bills/costs. Expect higher mortgage rates.
    3. In addition to forecasting interest rate hikes, the CBI also forecasts the rate of economic growth, and its prediction is: SLOW, slower than expected, no more than 2% in total by the end of 2011, maybe just under 2.5 percent in 2012.
    These are three things that are going to happen in 2011...

  • Comment number 70.

    DECLINE IS A DEFAULT STATE. (#69)

    One only has to attend, analytically, to the 'strategies of governance' to be aware that they are second and third order 'corrections', aimed at keeping the ship afloat - short term. Most politicians have no idea what that sentence is saying, and the few that do have gone over to the dark side.

    Three ubiquitous factors in all childhoods are TV, social-alcohol, and school (I should probably add electronic gizmos). During the years that we form and program our brains, they are subject to unnatural and unconducive inputs. We are all becoming more incompetent, generation by generation. This is of no concern to politicians, who are in a class of their own.

    DOUBLE VISION

    Oh this life is such a puzzle
    With its bustle and its hassle
    And I struggle to see meaning
    In its mad meanderings.
    Even though I do less rushing
    Still I find that time is pressing
    As I forge forever forward
    Navigating each new bend.

    But what’s this? – At three and seventy
    I perceive a subtle softening
    Of Nature’s shrouding darkness
    That besets the questing mind;
    It’s the light of understanding
    At the end of that dark tunnel
    Illuming cosmic writing
    On the wall - that blocks its end.

  • Comment number 71.

    This is the last thing I posted on FaceBook. I don't know the origin.

    Everything is advancing according to plan of natural law. The US is going down the same road of all empirical powers. Concentration of economic and political power creates a self-serving aristocracy-governmental structure which can only survive ending up as tyranny and then it gets overthrown, or withers away in its own corruption. And nobody knows why this is happening. Why, oh god, why?! And then God replies to those that would hear, "Read Progress and Poverty by Henry George, dammit!"

 

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