Christmas open thread

No polls over Christmas of course, but here’s an open thread for those of you seeking to escape from Christmas preparations. Reflections on the year just gone? Predictions for next year? No need to stay on topic, but please do try and remain civil and rise above “Brilliant year for party I support and I predict that next year things which I would really like to happen will happen” ;)


162 Responses to “Christmas open thread”

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  1. […] please do try and remain civil and rise above “Brilliant year for party I support and I predict that next year things which I would really like to happen will happen”

    NO COMMENTS

  2. Okay. What I DON’T want to happen next year:

    War with anybody, be that Iran, Pakistan, Argentina, Syria or France.

    Manchester United win anything.

    BNP or far right get mass support.

    Live rounds used on rioters.

    I have to put up with one of the above, I suppose Utd winning something minor might be okay.

  3. Prediction: Huhne to be sacked from the Cabinet. No wait, that’s one for 2011.

    (Although that’s the equivalent of throwing him a temporary lifeline, writing as someone who predicted a double digit Labour poll lead by the end of 2011.)

  4. Anthony,

    You’re in luck. I just happen to be on line and so can you give the benefit of my instant expert analysis.

    My prediction: Tomorrow will be Christmas Day.

  5. I predict that throughout 2012, we shall have a series of politicians, some of whom will be party leaders, whom shall make speeches that have Feel Good or Common Unity themes, but really mean very little. Additionally, some of these same politicians will make decisions that look good to them initially, but have long term repercussions that reflect poorly.

  6. I’d consider myself to be something of a “floating voter” without any firm party-political ties. It amazes me that, with unemployment so high, growth so low and so much unrest re. pensions, banks etc., Labour aren’t streets ahead in the opinion polls.

    Is this a reflection on Ed Milliband’s abilities as Leader of the Opposition – I wouldn’t claim to have been at all impressed so far, an acknowledgement that David Cameron is doing a decent job as PM in very difficult circumstances or a lack of trust in Labour (the Brown effect)?

    What would be interesting is if we had a solely Tory government at the moment – small majority. I suspect that what we’d be seeing would be a resurgent Liberal Democrat vote. There’d be a positive Clegg factor (as out of government presumably some of the good impression from the election would have remained) along with a move to the Lib Dems from Labour voters fed up with Milliband and the more naturally pro-EU Conservatives.

    It may prove in time that the best result for the Lib Dems at the last election would have been a narrow Tory win…..

  7. @all

    Merry Xmas

    Martyn

  8. Martyn

    I admire your courage in making bold predictions :smile:

  9. Jay

    Ditto :smile:

  10. Without wishing misfortune on any MP, let’s hope by next December we have byelection in a govt held seat.

  11. …and in Scotland the SNP government will do little and it will seem less because it will not be reported.

    Their political opponents will continue to grow support for independence far more effectively than anything they might attempt themselves. The growing but mistaken belief that independence is inevitable will become self-fullfilling when newspaper managements come to believe(rightly or wrongly) that their readers are in favour.

    At Westminster there will be a really stupid mistake every two weeks.

  12. The Megrahi funeral will be another opportunity to cast doubt on the conviction and justify the unrelated decision to release him.

    The Thatcher funeral will provide the BBC with an opportunity for many hours of cheap programming with huge use of archive material and studio discussions involving elderly politicians long past their peak rate fees.They can meet public service targets, reduce costs and ingratiate themselves with the government of the day, all at once.

    Support for independence and SNP membership will increase immediately afterwards

  13. @ Richard in Norway

    Happy Belated Birthday to you!!!

    (I was out and about yesterday so I missed it).

  14. No predictions from me.

    Merry Christmas all. :D

  15. @ John B Dick

    “Their political opponents will continue to grow support for independence far more effectively than anything they might attempt themselves. The growing but mistaken belief that independence is inevitable will become self-fullfilling when newspaper managements come to believe(rightly or wrongly) that their readers are in favour.

    At Westminster there will be a really stupid mistake every two weeks.”

    Lol. And again, lol.

    “The Megrahi funeral will be another opportunity to cast doubt on the conviction and justify the unrelated decision to release him.”

    Lol.

    “The Thatcher funeral will provide the BBC with an opportunity for many hours of cheap programming with huge use of archive material and studio discussions involving elderly politicians long past their peak rate fees.They can meet public service targets, reduce costs and ingratiate themselves with the government of the day, all at once.

    Support for independence and SNP membership will increase immediately afterwards.”

    Hopefully the Thatcher funeral won’t be like the Reagan funeral. You can at least be happy that your fellow citizens totally repudiated her and that your television broadcasts of the funeral aren’t going to be full of talk worshipping her.

  16. Theresa May finally flips and stomps on a dwarf

  17. I hope you guys have a lovely and merry Christmas. I’m going to be having Chinese food and seeing a movie tommorow. But I also agreed to make Christmas lunch for a friend of mine (she’s a little strapped right now…..I figure cooking her a nice meal is the least I can do to spread the holiday spirit right?). So I’m going to go to the market soon to get ingredients (I hope they don’t run out of things I need).

  18. Like Statgeek and Martyn, I’m not going to make any big predictions. I mean, when you think about some of the major things that happenned this year, I don’t think I would have or could have predicted ANY of them.

    The SNP winning a majority at Holyrood.

    The earthquake in Canadian politics resulting in an official opposition for the NDP, obliteration for the Bloc Quebec, a rump third party status for the Liberals, and a Conservative majority despite receiving only a tiny increase in their overall popular vote…shocking.

    The Arab Spring and the fall of Ghadaffi.

    Finally getting Bin Laden.

    Berlusconi finally leaving Italian politics.

    Kathy Hochul (D-NY) getting elected to Congress.

    Conversely, losing Anthony Weiner’s seat in Congress (let alone, couldn’t have predicted that Weiner would fall due to a sex scandal).

    I couldn’t have predicted any of these things last Christmas.

  19. I predict that by Christmas 2012, there will some major new issue on the political agenda which, in retrospect, will seem to be an obvious problem but which as of now none of us are aware of or have any considered opinion on.

  20. Best Wishes to all and thanks to Anthony for his work on the site.
    Open question re Thatcher Funeral.
    As one who takes the Costello line myself is a state funeral right for any normal PM.
    Churchill yes and very few would argue but Thatcher, Blair etc just does not seem right.

  21. So I’ll make a few predictions for the next year:

    1. A Republican Member of Congress, probably a Teabagger, will say something completely outrageous that is beyond offensive. (And I’m not counting the guy who recently made comments to a random person at the airport about how he thought Michelle Obama was fat and a huge ass, we’re still in 2011!).

    2. A Republican presidential candidate will be embarassed by yet another gay soldier.

    3. Congress will have another game of brinksmanship over something.

    4. There will be rumblings against Ed Miliband and criticism of his leadership by anonymous Labour sources.

    5. David Cameron will make a gaffe that’s all around funny.

    6. The Lib Dems will vote for something the Tories want that most Lib Dem party members don’t want and Nick Clegg will take the blame.

    7. Michelle Bachmann will say something incredibly stupid.

  22. @ Neil A (from the last thread)

    “I almost choked on my Weetos when I saw you argue that the left doesn’t demonize right-wing politicians, whilst simultaneously comparing Nixon/Bush to Charles Manson!!”

    I’m not comparing Nixon and Bush to Charles Manson. What I’m saying is, criticizing them for things they did is not demonization. Some of the Tory leaders might be unfairly demonized (I think David Cameron might be) but I’m hardpressed to think of too many Republicans who have been demonized.

    In terms of loving leaders, it’s important to remember that leaders have flaws. I think that you might be right in one respect about leftwingers romanticizing leaders. There was a recent article in New York Times Magazine about how Liberals seem to hate being in power because all we do is come up with ways that we hate our Presidents for not being good enough. And we seem to enjoy being “disappointed.” He went back and found examples for every single president. The same handwringing and language you hear today about Obama is almost identical to what you could read about FDR, Truman, JFK, and LBJ. I think that might be this way because we want our leaders to be perfect and we want to romanticize them and believe they’re perfect. Then, when they get into office, we realize they’re not perfect and we feel let down (right wingers are different as they just ignore the things that would disappoint them). It’s important to remember that all these people, no matter how much we love or admire them, are human. As my mom used to say, it doesn’t matter how important or powerful or attractive or wealthy or great you are, at the end of the day, everyone sits down to take a dump.

    I saw a great play last night that was about politics entitled Ann: An Affectionate Portrayal of Ann Richards. Now there was an amazing woman and an amazing politician and I think she was great. But the play, which was undoubtedly friendly to her and obviously written about her from a friendly perspective, didn’t pretend she was a perfect person. It delved into her drinking problems, her scatterbrained governing style, her other crazy fettishes.

    But her great quote was repeated: “If you give us a chance, we women can perform. After all, Ginger Rogers could do everything Fred Astaire did, she just did it backwards and in high heels!” :)

  23. I think Boris Johnson will be reelected by around
    54-46 and Romney will get the GOP nomination.

  24. I also think François Hollande will become French President and that Werner Faymann will get a 2nd term leading another grand coalition in Austria.

  25. @ John B Dick

    At Westminster there will be a really stupid mistake every two weeks.

    You mis-typed there. Surely.

    Was it hours or days that you meant to put?

  26. I predict with certainty that ordinary people will continue to think they know better than politicians.

  27. SOCALIBERAL
    Neil A
    Cameron may be a throughly nice bloke but he is attacked because:
    1)Displays little understanding on big issues,even the ones he espouses…I refer you to the hammering he got on `the big issue` by Eddie Mair prior to the election
    2)Pretends to understand the lives of ordinary people which he doesn`t.Asking people to pay off their credit card bills during his leadership speech is an example
    3)Never answers questions,but resorts to bullying…Playing the man rather than the ball,so to say
    4)Pretends to be all things to all people while making policies to the right.For example,supporting the Archbishop`s support for Occupy movement while making calls for them to vacate St.Paul`s.
    5)Seems to tolerate corruption or wrongdoing to an extent.Examples involve Ashcroft who he din`t sack and Andy Coulson whom he employed despite major allegations against him.
    I can think of many more but for someone in politics for the last 20 years,he seems to have made no attempt beyond superficiality to understand the issues involved.What he is very good is at PR…

  28. `the big society`

  29. SMUKESH

    “Cameron may be a throughly nice bloke”

    Don’t know the chap personally, though he comes over as affable.

    However, who would want “throughly nice bloke” as leaders of their country?

    Competent – yes
    Skilled – yes
    Intelligent – yes
    Has vision – yes (no reference to D Blunkett is implied)
    Quick-witted – yes
    Strategic thinker – yes
    etc etc

    But “nice”? “No, no. M Sarcozy/Mr Cameron. You have first pick, I insist”.

    From all accounts Iain Gray is a very nice man – which is probably why he made such a pig’s ear of being confrontational and angry.

    I don’t think Alex Salmond is necessarily a “nice man”. I doubt that a majority of Scots think so either. But his party got elected in a PR Parliament with a majority of MSPs, because its leaders were seen as effective in standing up for Scotland.

  30. @Smukesh,

    You’re doing a wonderful job of indirectly supporting my original thesis.

    My basis point is that you’d dislike any Tory PM, probably for pretty much the same list of reasons, or variants thereof.

    I don’t remotely dislike Miliband, or Clegg, and I don’t particularly carry a torch for Bullingdon Dave. Good old-fashioned centre-right diffidence.

  31. As a Labour supporter, I recognise that Labour will never win under the current leadership.

    For 2012 I would hope that the only man who can save Labour, Chuka Umunna will be elected Labour leader.

  32. Neil A
    You support my theory of playing the man,not the ball…I see you haven`t rebutted any of the points I made…I would have voted for David Davis myself eventhough I disagree with many of his view points…He comes across as able to understanding the nuances of the issues on which he is called to make decisions…I have called Thatcher a great leader many a time,despite the obvious dislike of her by many on the left…Would I vote for the Tories?I would but not with this leader

  33. Predictions:

    The electorate continues to be further polarised between the growth first and deficit first camps.

    The UK goes back into recession, but with the SE largely escaping the worst of it. We maintain our AAA rating, but only because people have to put money somewhere and the ratings agencies don’t want to deflate their money making system.

    A bitter US election makes this even worse and spills over into UK politics.

    The Tory/Liberal coalition is voted out of office… In Birmingham.

    And then there are the obvious:

    The PCC maintains that self regulation of the press can work.

    The Liberal Democrats have a bad year, but decide its better to cling onto power (in Westminster) than to ditch the coalition.

    The final poll of 2012 is 40:40:09.

  34. OLDNAT
    That is a good list of qualities…I wonder how Ed,Dave and Clegg compare

  35. SMUKESH

    Does Clegg fall at the first hurdle through not being able to persuade people to call him Nick? :-)

  36. Dave
    Competent – yes
    Skilled – yes
    Intelligent – yes
    Has vision –Yes/No
    Quick-witted – yes
    Strategic thinker – No

    Ed
    Competent – yes
    Skilled – yes/no
    Intelligent – yes
    Has vision – yes
    Quick-witted – no
    Strategic thinker – yes

    Nick
    Competent – yes
    Skilled – yes
    Intelligent – yes
    Has vision – no
    Quick-witted – yes/no
    Strategic thinker – no
    Maybe biased but that`s my observation

  37. OLDNAT
    I realised this on my next post :)

  38. Whilst it’s true that a lot of what’s objectionable about David Cameron would be the same with many other Conservative politicians, he has plenty of personal failings to get his opponents going. The superficiality and unpleasantness, especially on display during PMQs. His reputation for “niceness” is, I suspect largely illusory, and a product of an upbringing that has trained him to put on a cloak of social graces, but the mask slips very easily. His own back benchers call him Flashman, for goodness sake.

    If we extend to his Government, then the multi vehicle pile-up of incompetence is breathtaking in such a short space of time. He took on a press officer who was widely known to be implicated in criminality; his Defence Secretary was caught running his own private foreign policy-possibly in collusion with foreign governments- his Home Secretary ripped off an anecdote from Nigel Farage without checking, didn’t know what was going on in her own department and then through a senior civil servant under the bus when she was caught out; and, to cap it all, his Policy Minister was caught throwing sensitive documents away in public bins.

    I’m also not sure how you can sustain the conclusion that the Right doesn’t demonise its opponents. Just look at the Tea Party movement and its rhetoric against Obama, or any comment thread on Political Betting or Guido for that matter. Zanu-Liebore, anyone?

  39. @ Neil A

    Can I just say that the other night I found a clip of Margaret Thatcher at the 1975 Conservative Convention where she spoke about her belief in the individual and I actually agreed with her. I can’t say whether what she was saying about Socialists is true. But I agreed in part with her underlying philosophy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK3eP9rh4So

  40. Of course this woman is far more my taste than Maggie Thatcher.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pvrvRT23is

  41. HANNAH
    I think you made several valid points…The hatred of Brown and Blair is another case in point of the right hating Labour prime ministers…They pretend to be pacifists that wouldn`t have gone to Iraq whereas Tory prime ministers were more likely to have stood alongside America on Iraq

  42. Whether people are inclined to demonise those with whom they disagree depends on their epistemology, not their ideology, in my experience and studies. If you think that the answers to political questions are obvious, then you will logically conclude that anyone who disagrees with you is either a moron or a demon.

    While most thoroughgoing social sceptics tend to be on the right (Hayek, Friedman at his least positivistic and Sowell at his least partisan, for example) not all people on the right are social sceptics (Ayn Rand and most of the Tea Party certainly didn’t/don’t have much epistemological modesty). It’s harder to think of examples on the left both because I’m not so familiar with the literature and because most left-wing ideologies (left-wing nationalists are sometimes interesting exceptions) begin with a lack of scepticism as a necessary premise.

    If you’re a social democrat and you believe that the proper role of the state is to resolve otherwise irreconcilable conflicts under the leadership of enlightened elected elites, then you can’t also be a sceptic about the knowledge that is relevant to making these kind of decisions. Compare that with Friedman’s position on suicide, which is that he would never coerce someone of sound mind not to commit suicide because he couldn’t assume he knew more about their situation than they did.

    So it’s not a left/right thing: it’s a sceptic/dogmatist thing. I don’t question the moral character or intelligence of those British prime ministers with whom I disagree on most issues (which is a lot of them) because I think that the world is more than complex enough for very intelligent and very good people to disagree. One or two of them even post on here.

    Merry Christmas one and all!

  43. @HANNAH
    I think Ed Miliband is a lovely bloke, not the least like that horrid Cameron. His brilliance at looking stupid at 85% of PMQ’s is a clever move to make “Dave” look the Bullingdon Bully he is. We all know that Cameron behaved appallingly regarding Europe, the trouble is the idiotic British public agree with him. It was the same with looters and rioters, rather than giving them a Christmas bonus, a right wing attitude was struck which had them locked up. What is more, the public supported it. After all the hideous mistakes and the intense suffering of the Tory Cuts, Cameron is not popular, but far more so than lovely Eddy and to make matters worse Labour get the blame for the economy !

    To end the year neck and neck in the polls despite these dreadful errors, cuts and total failure in Europe, Cameron the toad is very lucky. Lovely Ed is very unlucky. Nick Clegg is unlucky & vile, unless, in the new year he snuggles up to Ed Balls and his proposition, then he will be lovely too.

  44. And this woman too.

    h ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKfFJc37jjQ&feature=relmfu

  45. Further predictions.

    High Speed Rail 2 decision will be further delayed until after the budget.

    Consultations will be reopened for a third runway at Heathrow.

    Government to announce major school building programme, after it is revealed that thousands of children are unable to find school places in many parts of the country.

    Universities ask government for further money, after it is revealed that new student numbers have reduced, causing a gap in funding.

    Net immigration/population numbers rise again, as UK citizens living in EU countries return, fewer UK residents leave the UK, with the allowed number of qualified immigrants staying at current levels.

    RBS and Lloyds fully nationalised following further banking crisis. HSBC announces move of world HQ to Shanghai. London loses to postion as worlds leading financial centre, following moves by companies to other major trading centres.

    No new EU treaty agreed, as nations parliaments unable to agree to financial measures. UK goverment unable to negotiate repatriation of powers from EU. Tory backbenchers and some from Labour force another debate on an in/out referendum on EU membership.

    So basically 2011, with a few extras and a few retreats from government on previous positions ( as they always have to, if they need to deal with issues that come up).

  46. @ Old Nat

    “Don’t know the chap personally, though he comes over as affable.

    However, who would want “throughly nice bloke” as leaders of their country?

    Competent – yes
    Skilled – yes
    Intelligent – yes
    Has vision – yes (no reference to D Blunkett is implied)
    Quick-witted – yes
    Strategic thinker – yes
    etc etc”

    Without a doubt, the nicest, most honest, most kind hearted, decent, moral, ethical man to ever occupy the White House in the past 223 years was Jimmy Carter. However, he was not a very good president.

    I value the qualities you suggest above. However, I don’t like voting for or supporting truly awful, vile, disgusting people (of either party) who seem like they crawled out of a hole someplace. I reserve the right to hate those people.

    I don’t have to be a Scots Nat to know that Alex Salmond is not that type of person even if he is a highly effective First Minister.

  47. SoCalLiberal

    I agree about not supporting vile people. You would have to assume that the qualities excluding such people are included in my “etc etc”.

  48. CHOUENLAI
    You are right…Cameron is lucky…But he is living a charmed life from one crisis to another…Let`s hope the luck rubs off on the country too

  49. Well it didn’t take long for the debate to sink to the level that Anthony warned us to avoid did it! Let’s face it, if one dislikes any politician one will invent twenty reasons to support that stance, which will immediately be countered by someone else who comes up with 20 reasons to like them.

    Suffice to say, I don’t want a leader whose reason d’etre is to be liked. Whether they are or they aren’t is irrelevant; what is important is, Are they a leader of men and do they act as if they are? In my view Cameron is, as were Blair, Thatcher & Churchill. Most of the rest (perhaps not all) were not, they were always after consensus opinion. Wilson & Major always sat on the fence, Eden & MacMillan were affable ‘old chaps’ and Heath was just a disaster, who lacked the balls to carry through what he started. A good leader leader weighs up all the options, makes a decision and acts.

    Predictions for 2012

    The UK coalition government will endure.
    The UK will avoid a recession (just) & retain it’s AAA status.
    The Euro will survive but all Eurozone countries will lose their AAA status.
    David Laws will return to government (hooray)
    Chris Huhne will be sacked (hooray again)
    Boris will be Mayor of London (hooray)
    In France, Hollande will boot out Sarkozy (hooray)
    In 12 months, the polls will still be 40/40/10
    EM will still lead Labour.

  50. As this is an open thread & it’s time to be merry, how about a lesson in world economics?

    *A Cow based Economics Lesson;

    SOCIALISM
    You have 2 cows.
    You give one to your neighbor.

    COMMUNISM
    You have 2 cows.
    The State takes both and gives you some milk.

    FASCISM
    You have 2 cows.
    The State takes both and sells you some milk.

    NAZISM
    You have 2 cows.
    The State takes both and shoots you.

    BUREAUCRATISM
    You have 2 cows.
    The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

    TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM
    You have two cows.
    You sell one and buy a bull.
    Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
    You sell them and retire on the income.

    ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND (VENTURE) CAPITALISM
    You have two cows.
    You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
    The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
    The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
    You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows.
    No balance sheet provided with the release.
    The public then buys your bull.

    SURREALISM
    You have two giraffes.
    The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

    AN AMERICAN CORPORATION
    You have two cows.
    You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
    Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

    A FRENCH CORPORATION
    You have two cows.
    You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you
    want three cows.

    A JAPANESE CORPORATION
    You have two cows.
    You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
    You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.

    AN ITALIAN CORPORATION
    You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.
    You decide to have lunch.

    A SWISS CORPORATION
    You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
    You charge the owners for storing them.

    A CHINESE CORPORATION
    You have two cows.
    You have 300 people milking them.
    You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
    You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

    AN INDIAN CORPORATION
    You have two cows.
    You worship them.

    A BRITISH CORPORATION
    You have two cows.
    Both are mad.

    AN IRAQI CORPORATION
    Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
    You tell them that you have none.
    No-one believes you, so they bomb the ** out of you and invade your country.
    You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.

    AN AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION
    You have two cows.
    Business seems pretty good.
    You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

    A NEW ZEALAND CORPORATION
    You have two cows.
    The one on the left looks very attractive.

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