I think it is safe to say that Mystic Meg has little to fear from me. So masochistic as it is to look back on last year's predictions for 2010, here we go:
1 - The election: "If history is our guide, Kevin Rudd will win this year's federal election." Needless to say, history did not offer much of a guide. Far from it. Rudd became the first Australian prime minister not to survive a full first term. And he had the look of an "era politician".
"It will surely take some unforeseen, game-changing event or scandal to put his government in jeopardy," I added. Again, it is hard to pinpoint a single event, although his decision to delay the Emissions Trading Scheme was pivotal. And who would have thought the factional power-brokers, the so-called faceless men, would tire of him so quickly. But Kevin Rudd always traded on his popularity in the polls - they were his faction, if you like. So when the polls went south, so, too, did he.
2 - The election fall-out: "Tony Abbott might well prove a more formidable opponent than many expect." That was a better call, but I still followed the conventional wisdom in thinking the Liberals would lose quite a lop-sided election, and Joe Hockey would emerge as the new leader in that event. Abbott came close to winning, of course, and will surely take the Liberals into the next election.
3 - Most headline-making politician: I went for the former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull or the Nationals outspoken Senator Barnaby Joyce - he is, after all, a human headline. Both had a fairly quiet year by their standards. To everyone's surprise, the most headline-making politicians were the previously obscure "Three Amigos," Bob Katter, of boiling the billy fame, Tony Bishop and Rob Oakeshott.
4 - The wonder from down under: "The Australian economy is expected to continue on an upward trajectory, with the fourth quarter of consecutive growth likely in the months leading up to March. But the growth will be uneven, with the resources-based Western Australia and Queensland outstripping the older states of New South Wales and Victoria. The downside for property owners everywhere is that interest rates will continue to rise." Boilerplate predictions and borne out by events. The twin-track economy - the difference between the prosperous new, resource-rich states and the old - will be the big economic theme of the next year. Judging by retail figures, New South Wales feels as if it is almost in recession.
5 - Diplomatic problem areas: "With the surge in asylum seekers showing little sign of abating, and with the boat people issue expected to loom large in the federal election, relations with Indonesia, the home to most of the notorious people smugglers, will almost certainly continue to deteriorate." Actually, relations with Indonesia have not deteriorated that much, despite a continued surge of boat arrivals. Australia continued to have problems with China, especially over Stern Hu. Relations with East Timor were not that special either, after Julia Gillard announced the setting up of a regional asylum seekers processing centre in the country without first consulting her opposite number in Dili. Nor were they that good with Japan, after the Rudd government threatened to take Japan to the court of international justice over its support of whaling in the Southern Ocean.
6 - The next Aussie big things: I went for Abbie Cornish thinking that Jane Campion's Bright Star would be more successful. Oddly, the big Aussie breakthrough star of the year has been a veteran, Jacki Weaver, for a mesmerizing performance in Animal Kingdom, the film of the year. She's just received a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress, and there's already talk of a possible Oscar.
7 - The critics: I thought the Sydney Theatre Company's Uncle Vanya would probably attract rave reviews, a very safe choice given that its cast included Australian theatrical royalty, like Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving. But the biggest critical success of the year was Animal Kingdom, the Melbourne gangland thriller. I thought it was superb, partly because it was crammed with fast-paced, salty Aussie dialogue. Five stars.
8 - Grand Designs: "Australia will enjoy more international architectural attention than at any time since the opening of the Sydney Opera House." The American star architect Frank Gehry has actually been in Sydney this month talking about his characteristically outlandish design for the city's University of Technology, UTS. It does look like it will be Australia's most talked-about building since the Opera House.
9 -Tricky Ricky: "If his form slump continues, the debate over whether Ricky Ponting should be replaced at number three for Australia by Michael Clarke will intensify, as will the discussion of whether he can realise his oft-stated ambition of leading his country to an Ashes win in Britain in 2013." His form slump has continued, and he has only been average in the mid-thirties for most of the year, which, by his standards, is appalling.
10 - Back Page: In the AFL grand final I went for Geelong. Collingwood won, after the rarity of a replay. Queensland was an obvious choice in the rugby league's state of origin. A sure bet. I thought a horse trained by Bart Cummings would win the 150th Melbourne Cup, and put my money where my mouth was by backing his colt, So You Think (didn't everyone?). But it was Americain, of course, that tromped home.
"Rugby union will continue to lose fans to rugby league unless players and coaches rediscover the joys of the running game," I wrote. Well, thankfully, coaches and players did discover the joys of the running game, with the Wallabies in the fore of the game's revival. This has been rugby union's best season in years. In the NRL, I would have plumbed for the Melbourne Storm, and they produced what was arguably the biggest story of the year when they were stripped of two premierships and all of its points.
So over to you. What were the biggest upsets and surprises of 2010? And what was least surprising about the past twelve months?