Monday, 5 January 2009

2009 at a glance...

Hullo again, and Happy New Year. I hope everyone has had a grand old festive season, didn't eat too much and is ready for all that 2009 is going to throw at you. I've been away from the 'Burgh since Christmas Eve, and with NO (yep, zero, zip, none) internet at my parents' house, I've had to give blogging a wee break. And no, they don't live in a cave... just the North East of Scotland.

Let me start the New Year with a big thank you. Over 23,500 hits on this page since I started it in February 2008. That's either a fair few of you looking at these meanderings or my mum reading it a lot. Given the lack of internet at home, I'd like to thank all of you for coming back to read what I have to say. I hope to keep up the blogging for a good while yet, despite the blogging "retirement" that seems to be going round.

So, lets have some predictions for 2009:

1) First up, the biggie. Gordon Brown will put all his eggs in a June General Election after Labour don't do as badly as he thinks in the May Euros/ English Council elections. Brown's handling of the economy shrinks Tory poll leads but not enough to stop huge gains at their expense and resulting in a hung parliament and months of wrangling over power (see Canada 2008).

2) In Scotland, the SNP will double their seat tally at Westminster, but fall short of Alex Salmond's prediction of 20 seats (more to come on seat predictions in the coming weeks). And their government of Scotland will continue to be slow and unspectacular but effective... a "softly, softly approach", doing less but doing it better.

3) Staying with the Scottish Government, and after a struggle, the SNP will pass their next budget - though Labour will do significantly better than last year and extract some key concessions. And after this "success", the First Minister decides to shake things up a little, and reshuffle his Cabinet - but only three faces will change.

4) The Lib Dems' poor poll showing in 2008 will not improve any in 2009. They will lose their deposit in yet another by-election and see their vote slide away in council by-elections in Scotland. By the election they will win only 12% of the vote and less than half their current seats.

5) The Tories will replace the lacklustre George Osbourne as Shadow Chancellor at a "quiet" but opportune moment... a month before the next budget. Replacement? I'd like to say Ken Clarke... but would Cameron be that brave?

6) SNP Tactical Voting's Jeff will return home from his travels to a job at the Scottish Parliament... though perhaps not working for whom you'd expect!

7) Despite the mood-lifting election of Barack Obama in the US, I think there will be another assasination attempt on him. My gran told me she wanted John McCain to win because "people would hate him less and wouldn't want to kill him." There's a lesson here - listen to your Gran. I hope I'm wrong about this one.

8) Obama will base his policy on "restoring" peace between Israel & Palestine on Jed Bartlet's approach in season six of The West Wing. And if you don't know what I'm talking about - watch it!

9) Kris Boyd will swallow a whole tattie & bean pie and apologise to George Burley who immediately sticks him in the starting line-up for Scotland's next game. Though, by the end of the year, the national team can no longer qualify for the World Cup.

10) Finally, footie. Celtic will win the SPL for the fourth time in a row and Gordon Strachan will decide he's had enough crap from the fans and resign. Walter Smith will be sacked/resign (not sure the Chairman has it in him to sack his best bud) and Ally McCoist will take over. Aberdeen will finish 3rd, Inverness bottom and St. Johnstone will be promoted. In England, Arsenal miss out on Champions League football to Aston Villa while... you know what, I'm going with it: Liverpool will win their first Premier League title. Blackburn, West Brom and Stoke City will be relegated. And Barcelona will get their hands on the Champions League trophy.

And that is 2009 in a nutshell. Wake me up in time for Christmas. I'm off for a lemsip... smorran wi' the cal!


Anonymous,  5 January 2009 at 15:40  

Welcome back Malc. Interesting predictions there. I see you are saying the same as Will @ Macnumpty and saying there will be a Scottish Government reshuffle. Who do you think will be in and who do you think will be out?

James 5 January 2009 at 19:12  

Interesting; I always admire a brave prediction. The Euros are in June though, if that matters. Also, what do you think Labour want from the budget?

See you in 09, hopefully.

Malc 5 January 2009 at 19:30  


I'm not sure there will be huge changes (47 MSPs, 16 positions...) but I do think one or two changes.

As Will suggests, with the knives out for Fiona Hyslop, Salmond may bench her - and move Shona Robison or Mike Russell up a paygrade.

Couple of junior ministers who have been... less than impressive... may be shuffled (Michael Matheson in for Stewart Maxwell, Alastair Allan for Maureen Watt?) but I am just speculating. But that's what you wanted, right?

Malc 5 January 2009 at 19:33  


I went with bold for a change...

A wee error in the writing as you point out! I meant to put "GE on same day as Euros AFTER the May English Council elections" though I seem to have messed it up totally!

As for Labour and the budget... If I was them, I'd settle for not looking as ridiculous as last year. I think they'll put pressure on in education - class sizes for starters? At the end of the day, I think they have to either vote for it or against it this year - they cannot afford to abstain again.

Hope to grab a pint with you soon!

Jeff 5 January 2009 at 22:37  

Love it Malc, no fence-sitting in there. not that I would expect it from someone who made the ludicrous (though correct) predictions that Labour would win Glenrothes and SNP win Glasgow East. Incidentally, I phoned the FBI about your Gran's assassination plans, they should be round pronto. My pointing out she lived in a cave just like Osama Bin Laden seemed to get their attention.

Anyway, I think the election will be 2010, I had a good reason but it's escaped me.

And interesting prediction about my job prospects! But who am I to say what may or may not be in the pipeline. (A job in Melbourne is all I'm focussed on at this stage though....)

Hope you had a cracking New Year in the absence of internet, will give you a proper bit of chat later away from the eyes of the watching world (going by your sweling blog numbers....)

Malc 6 January 2009 at 10:18  


What are you talking about?! I think the most outrageous claim I've made is that Kris Boyd might have the decency to apologise for walking out!

Incidentally, if my Gran is an assassin, she's doing a pretty good job of hiding it, what with two hip replacements and an inability to walk more than 250 yards without needing a "wee rest". But you know, disguises are cunning!

Stick another something on the barbie for me mate!

Jeff 6 January 2009 at 10:33  

Ah yes, injuries picked up by Granny Malc in the aborted Kim Jong Il encounter, say no more. (just kidding on, of course)

That is a pretty wild claim about Boyd actually, didn't he make overtures the other day that he wants back in to the fold?

And funny you mention it, just got a new flat sorted out, with a quality barbie out the back! The current 'flatties' had some Aussie steaks and corn on the go as they showed me around. happy days out here....!

McChatterer 6 January 2009 at 11:26  

I'm sticking with a May 2010 General Election - a snap election has been more likely ever since Mandelson came back, but only a little more likely.

Not a Village in Westminster 7 January 2009 at 10:04  

Interesting predictions indeed - I think that the reshuffle will be a definite, if only as a means of freshening up the Government. However, as you rightly say there is not exactly a huge pool of either MSPs or jobs so I wouldn't expect anything drastic, unless someone cocks up.

I think the GE timing will be dependent on how the economy goes over the next few months. GB's handling (and the unease people feel about Cameron/Osbourne being in charge at this exact moment in time) has certainly made the next GE a real fight, so if English council elections are alright looking he may go for it. However, I think that there will be interest in consolidating any Labour improvements, leading to a GE either end of 09/beginning of 2010.

Hope your Gran is wrong about the Obama assasination attempts, although I think her fear is one that is felt by many.

All in all, interesting predictions, will be good to come back and congratulate on getting them all right at the end of the year!

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