Happy new year

Yesterday we had the final poll of the year – the fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer, which showed topline figures of CON 29%(nc), LAB 39%(nc), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 15%(+1). I’m normally somewhat wary about polls conducted over holiday periods due to the potential of getting skewy samples. In this case the poll was conducted between the 21st and 27th of December, so right over the Christmas period itself, but the results don’t seem to be out of line, in fact they are almost unchanged from a fortnight ago.

With that out of the way I was intending to write a nice end of year round up, but time has gotten away from me, so instead I’ll put together some looks forward to the year ahead over the next week or two. Until then, have a happy new year.

243 Responses to “Happy new year”

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  1. You too AW H

  2. Happy new year to everyone

  3. Looks like UKIP aren’t going away, we’ll have to see what DC’s upcoming Europe speech will do to that situation.

    Happy New Year, and thanks to AW for another year of this fine site.

  4. Happy New Year all. Thanks very much AW.

    GRAHAM: Have a good year.

    Ed Miliband: big year for him.

  5. Happy new year to all who comment on this site and especially to AW for making it possible for others to do so :-)

  6. Yes Anthony, a happy new year to you and your contributors. Within reason!

  7. Happy New Year AW and thanks for all you have done on here.

  8. Anthony, thanks for all your work on this site. Happy New Year to you and all contributors

  9. Before I forget, a very Happy 2013 to AW and the below-the-line contributors.


  10. Happy New Year everyone!

  11. Happy New Year all!

  12. I wished you all a Happy New Year on the last thread. Think it got missed though. :(

    Happy New Year though to all of you. May 2013 be a better year than 2012 and may you all have a happy and healthy New Year.

    Oh btw, it looks like (I’ve been watching for over an hour now…..it’s okay, I’m having a terrible New Year’s Eve anyway…..hope it doesn’t set the tone for the rest of the year) we are going to avoid the fiscal cliff. Well we’re going to go off the cliff temporarily for a day technically but it looks like the Senate will vote tonight or in the early morning horus on a deal to avoid it. It’s not a terrible deal. Not a great one. But I’m happy with a deal because it will help avoid a second Great Recession and a great deal of pain on everyone from the wealthiest to the most impoverished. They also got a last minute farm bill done so the price of my milk won’t double to over $8 a gallon (actually probably more as I like organic, grassfed).

    The whole thing in the words of one MSNBC reporter, Ezra Klein, is “just embarassing” for the country. What sucks though is just how much turmoil this creates for markets in Asia, Latin America, and Europe (oh and Canada). You in Britain would have felt the effects of something stupid we had inflicted on ourselves unnneccesarily. And yet there’s nothing you could do about it.

    If it makes any of you feel better, I feel almost as helpless as you guys do. Cause’ I don’t know what more I can say and do. None of my elected officials want austerity or self-manufactured economic crises. And we’ll probably have yet another crisis in another 2 months.

    @ Howard (from the previous thread)

    “We’ve just watched a film ‘Catch me if you can’ about the con man and forger. It sums up present USA politics and the best line in the film is as follows. At last, L de Caprio admits to his girlfriend who comes from a strongly religious family ‘ Listen, I am not a Lutheran, not an airline pilot, nor a doctor, nor a Lawyer’.

    She is aghast, she exclaims ‘you mean – you are not a Lutheran?’.

    Specially for Socal to brighten his new year”

    Thank you. Lol. Happy New Year to you as well.

    Btw, I think you mentioned being a huge Hillary Clinton fan (I think Peter Bell did too). I’ve been worried about her condition. I heard though that the blood clot did not cause a stroke nor has it caused any brain damage. So provided she recovers from it, she should be fine.

  13. Happy New Year AW and all who contribute.

  14. Happy New Year :-)

  15. Happy New Year Anthony-and to everyone.

    I read this , this morning-it seems hopeful:-

    The prime factors of 2013 are 3, 11 and 61 which when added make 75 which is the atomic number of Rhenium which was discovered in 1925 which is 88 years ago which sums to make 16 which in turn sums to make 7 which is… a Happy Prime. This is all most auspicious; an excellent year lies ahead.

  16. Last time 0, 1, 2 and 3 were all in the year was 1320, when only the Other Howard was around. Yet strangely the next one will be in 2031.

    These calculations all go to show something in my opinion.

    And now – back to sleep.

  17. Happy New Year.

    A small victory in a long war – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9773055/Householders-forced-to-recycle-more-because-councils-abandon-weekly-collections.html

    Despite some people’s obsession with weekly rubbish collections, the use of fortnightly pick ups and enhanced recycling means that in England, for the first time, more domestic waste is being recycled than landfilled.

    A small example of how attitudes and behavior can change quickly, if the system is adapted to help. This is a lesson we need to bring to the bigger financial and social problems we face in 2013.

    It’s time to stop listening to those people who continually tell us ‘you can’t do X or Y’ and just get on and make the radical changes we need. Less fear and more optimism is required, along with more intelligent and bold government.

  18. HNY everyone !

    Perhaps a few predictions to start the year.

    In the US a new budget deal will be struck on 4nd Jan and they will be back over the cliff.

    The EU will fail to agree a new budget by the end of Jan 2013.

    Tory backbenchers demand a debate on a EU referendum.

    UK losses its AAA rating in February.

    Spain in need of an EU bail out by April.

    Italy elects Berlusconi as their PM.

    Labour extend their lead in the polls to 15% average following the budget on March 20th.

    Following a dry Jan-April period, a hosepipe ban is announced in the south east England in May.

    Man United win the Premiership by 10 points. No English team gets beyond the quarter finals of the Champions league.

    Andy Murray wins Wimbledon 2013.

  19. Happy New Year to all of you.

    Alec – targets have pushed councils down a co-mingled route to recover more recyclates, in many cases some materials are recovered from general waste streams at ‘dirty MRFs.
    The consequence has been increased recovery rates but lower quality with end users (mills cracking plants etc) having to spend more time and energy to clean products up.

    Another example of a lack of cohesion from Westminster (it was under Labour as well) leading to a favourable headline but perhaps a negative in real environmental impact terms.

    BTW – whether to collect every 2 weeks or not should imo be up to the local council with no bribes or cajouling from Government.

  20. Happy new year one and all.

    My abiding memory of the seasonal festivities is the image of DC in lycra or somesuch running through water. Not sure if he’s running from or with the hounds or just trying to catch up with some red fox.

    Is DC going to be like Putin with manly photo opportunities? Might we see DC playing on his manliness and comparing himself to EM’s, umm, manliness in 2013? I think we need the pollsters to ask questions about manliness in our leaders.

  21. Happy New Year to all here.

    Some predictions from me:

    That the OBR’s prediction of 2013 economic growth is too high.

    That the Electoral Commission echoes the English GCSE Mathematics Foundation Level curriculum’s recognition of bias in questions beginning with the wording “do you agree”.

    That uniquely, thanks to their system of awarding winning coalitions a majority of seats, Italy elects a left wing coalition government under PR without recourse to post election smoke filled rooms and broken promises.

    That the LDs, having entered 2013 with their lowest ever tally of council seats, end it with still fewer. And still with Clegg as leader.

  22. Happy New Year to AW and all posters on this site

    Congratulations to Colin on his amazing scientific, mathematical and astrological erudition and to R. Huckle on the boldness of his predictions.

    @Alec – Is there any way that someone can make it easier for me to recycle? I am confused by the fact that the rules for what is recyclable seem to differ so wildly in different parts of the country and by the subtlety of the distinctions one has to make over this matter irrespective of where one is.

  23. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE. May 2013 bring more compassion, tolerance and understanding in all domains, and also in political thinking and practice!!!!
    Here is the roundup of the political year 2012 in EU:
    GENERAL ELECTIONS – 6 countries (included the 2 where I vote), representing roughly 1/4 of EU population: Greece, France, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia. Aggregated results by European political family:
    PES 28.1% of the votes (+4.4) –37.2% of the seats (+9.4)
    EPP 24.4 (-8.1) – 28.2 (-13.5)
    ALDE 11.2 (-2.0) – 11.9 (+1.2)
    EUL 8.8 (+1.8) – 6.2 (-0.3)
    G-EFA: 3.2 (nc) – 1.2 (+0.3)
    EFD 1.0 (-0.8) – 0.9 (-0.7)
    ECR 0.7 (nc) – 0.8 (+0.3)
    Others 22.6 (+4.7) – 13.1 (+2.8)
    The discrepancies between vote shares and seats is due to the FPTP electoral system in Romania (single round), France (2 rounds) and Lithuania (1/2 PR, ½ two rounds FPTP), which favors the major formations, in all 3 countries the PES and EPP.
    PES is the clear winner, with a neat surge in votes and seats everywhere except from Greece (all-time high in Slovakia and Romania), 4 new PMs (France, Lituania, Romania and Slovakia) replacing the icumbent EPPs and 2 participations in coalition gvt as junior partners (Greece, Netherlands). On the other hand, 2012 was the «annus horribilis» of the EPP: Heavy losses everywhere except in Greece, all-time lows in France, Romania and Netherlands, eviction from all gvts except the Greek one (from junior to senior partner), and the ordeal goes on into 2013 with the forthcoming Italian election. The Liberal family (ALDE) had mixed results: Neat success in Netherlands (surge of both ALDE parties and reelection of Ruute as PM, but heading a different, more «center-left» coalition with Labour as junior partner) and Romania (neat rise in votes and more considerable rise in seats because of their alliance with Soc. Dems in the frame of the electoral system, see above, and crossing from oppositon to junior gvt partner), heavy losses in France (Bayrou’s MD almost extinct), bad but not catastrophic result in Slovakia and mixed result in Lithuania (losses for the 2 right-wing liberal parties and eviction from gvt., considerable gains for the left-wing DP and participation in gvt under the Soc. Dems). The Radical lefties of EUL had positive results in France (from 4 to 7%, but losses in terms of seats) and more importantly Greece (sharp rise of SYRIZA) and a mild deception in the Netherlands (the SP remained stagnant at 10% despite pre-electoral VI polls predicting a surge). This family is totally absent in all ex-communist countries except the Czech Republic and, to a lesser extent, Latvia, so no seats in Lituania, Romania and Slovakia, exactly as before. The Greens are present in two countries, France and Netherlands, where they had mixed results: Rise in votes and seats in France, first time they form an autonomous parliamentary group, and participation in socialist-led gvt as junior partners, heavy losses in Netherlands. They also failed to enter parliament in Greece. Heavy losses in Greece and Slovakia for the UKIP’s European partners of EFD (eviction from parliament), mild gains in Netherlands and mixed result in Lithuania (losses in votes, nc in seats, crossing from opposition to junior gvt partner). The partners of the Tories in ECR are present only in Netherlands and Lithuania as minor parties. In the first case they experienced mild losses, and in the second one the party of the Polish minority had considerable gains and became junior gvt partner. Good results almost everywhere for various new and unaffiliated parties, mostly extreme rightists and right-wing populists, such as the National Front in France, the Golden Dawn in Greece, the Independent Greeks (but now they have split and face extinction), the Popular Party in Romania, the Way of Courage in Lithuania and OLANO in Slovakia. The only new party that is center-left is the Democratic Left in Greece (6%, junior gvt partners). On the bright side, the losses of the extreme-rightists of PVV in the Netherlands.
    More posts to follow on German State elections, elections in Autonomies of Spain and regional, municipal and direct presidential elections in various EU countries, and of course the hottest topic of the new year, the forthcoming Italian GE.

  24. @PaulCroft

    I remember 1320 well, on April 6 the Scots reaffirmed their independence by signing the Declaration of Arbroath.

  25. Happy new year to AW and all others.

  26. Happy New Year Anthony and all, and thanks for your charity.

  27. @MikeN

    “Is DC going to be like Putin with manly photo opportunities? Might we see DC playing on his manliness and comparing himself to EM’s, umm, manliness in 2013?”

    Well, you are talking about a politician who introduced the term “butch” to our political discourse in 2012. Cameron may have to work a bit harder on the manliness front, however, because the cartoonist Steve Bell in the Guardian currently depicts him as someone with, how shall we say, rather large man boobs and, somewhat mysteriously, a condom over his head!


    As always, thanks very much for the European polling round up. As you suggest, I think the most significant elections in 2013 will occur in Italy in February and Germany in October. Admittedly from afar, and that’s why I value your expertise and insight so much, it appears that the centre-left have a very good chance of forming a government in Italy while Merkel looks pretty much a shoo-in to be re-elected as Chancellor, albeit as head of a coalition that may include, as before in her Chancellorship, the centre left SPD. If that transpires, it will be interesting to see what effect that sort of coalition has on Merkel’s current policy towards the Eurozone crisis. Less imposed austerity on Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy, perhaps?

    As for 2013 predictions, I had a bash on another thread so I won’t recycle them here. Suffice to say that it will be another formative year in British politics with the kaleidoscope far from settled. However, by early to mid 2014, I think the political playing field will be pretty firmly marked out for the 2015 General Election with the electorate, bar some seismic event occurring, more or less having formed a settled view of the Coalition by then. In that sense, and here I agree with Chris Lane1945 a little, Miliband has a real chance this year to colour in his One Nation vision, contrasting it sharply with the effects of current Coalition policies. This is where he can, if he gets it right, re-cast Labour as the only genuinely social democratic alternative to all the other main parties. The centre-left political terrain is more or less his and his party’s now, uncluttered by a fuzzy Lib Dem brand that, in previous elections, masqueraded as a less sullied left of centre version of Labour. That’s all for the birds now.

    Happy New Year to Anthony and all fellow UKPRers. (Crikey, I almost said UKIPers there! lol)

  28. Crossbat11

    I can’t help wondering whether DC is seeking to appeal to women and/or men voters with his displays of his manliness. It’s all a bit weird.

  29. He’s trying to appeal to his wife! All those special protection chaps who hang around them are super fit & DC feels like a loser. ;-)

  30. Amber Star

  31. MIKEN

    @”My abiding memory of the seasonal festivities is the image of DC in lycra or somesuch running through water. Not sure if he’s running from or with the hounds or just trying to catch up with some red fox.”

    Neither actually-it was a charity fundraiser for Friends of Chadlington Primary School.

    @”Is DC going to be like Putin with manly photo opportunities?”

    Well I certainly hope not. Putin’s photo opps are invariably sans Lycra -or anything else-above the waist.

    And of course Putin admitted in an interview -” “Of course it was a set up.” He told a Russian journalist that many of his most picturesque media appearances — shooting a tranquilizer dart into a tiger who appeared about to pounce; tagging a wounded snow leopard; and, just this week, wearing a feathery white suit to pilot a glider to guide a group of cranes south for the winter — were staged.

    “Of course there are excesses,” he told Masha Gessen in Bolshoi Gorod magazine. But they were constructive deceits, he said, because they called attention to endangered wildlife.

    I think on the whole, I prefer a one mile run in an Oxfordshire stream for the local Primary School.

  32. AMBER

    @”All those special protection chaps who hang around them are super fit ”

    Certainly hope that they do not fit the general profile :-

    “a survey of more than 11,500 staff on London’s police force which found that 44 percent were overweight, 19 percent obese and 1 percent morbidly obese”

    March 2012.

  33. My predictions Mugabe wins in Zimbabwe.
    UK keeps the Triple A


    Berlusconi wins, but there’s a bit of controversy surrounding the result, people saying it was unfair or rigged etc.

    Also I think Assad will stay in Syria, especially now Western support for the Muslim Brotherhoods seems to be waning after looking at Egypt, Libya, and the news yesterday, the Syrian rebels cut off a mans head and through the body to the dogs, his crime, being christian.

  34. Mike Smithson [email protected]
    Aggregate vote shares from all 198 local by-elections in 2012 show: CON 33.74: LAB 29.22: LD 19.15: UKIP 6.13

  35. Also America has gone over the fiscal cliff, where is all this chaos and drama the media were predicting?

    New nothing would come of it, looks like armagedon has been falsely predicted once again, they went over the cliff but all seems fine.

  36. CROSSBAT 11.
    Your mention of me noted, thanks!
    Villa to do better in 2013.

    Cons to start to catch up Lab

    Lib Dems to continue decline.

    UKIP to fade.

    Economy to improve a little.

    United to win the League.

  37. @ MitM – I enjoyed you staking out your ideological position in the previous thread. Suffice to say I feel every bit in the middle or centre as you do but the polar opposite on your views on immigration, international aide and and Europe. Probably on the issue of same sex marriage and the importance of defence spending too.

    I’m actually of the view that the divide between your position and mine is likely to be what British political debate will coalesce around in the next 15-20 years.

    For me its entirely not about left and right and that these terms may well find they become increasingly obsolete. More about the freedom of the individual to decide for themselves how best to improve their lot versus the role of a strong state with defined “best” interests of the collective.

    What would be interesting would be to see how many of those of left and right persuasion on here would find themselves on your side of the argument, and how many would find themselves on mine. My bet is it would split pretty much 50-50 but that some people would find themselves with some pretty unlikely political bed fellows.

  38. Meant to add a Happy New Year to everyone. Ive only started contributing recently but I have enjoyed reading the contributions on here for more than the past year.

  39. “and Europe. Probably on the issue of same sex marriage and the importance of defence spending too.”

    Who mentioned Europe? You’d be right if you said that I’m against the complete free movement principle, as I am, but that doesn’t make me Anti Eu, I’m very much Pro Eu. Sometimes, some of the stuff they do winds me up a little yes, but overall I’m very grateful for the EU and if said referendum were to come, I’d be voting to stay in for sure. I’m not a fan of this proposed Associate member thing either, I think we have a fine position now.

    European Court of Human Rights, not such a fan of no, but that’s more because of the structure than the idea. When you have Russian, Belarussian, Azerbaijani and Turkish judges lecturing us on Human Rights, yeah somethings not right there.

    As for same sex marriage, I’m very much in favour, I feel Obama and myself have gone on the same journey. Raised believing it was wrong, but then becoming unsure and sitting on the fence, and in the past couple of years becoming strongly in favour.

    As for defence spending, I think we should focus on “Defence” we shouldn’t be invading all these middle eastern countries, we just need a force strong enough to protect us and our territories. I’d probably keep a couple of nukes, but not the current level we have for sure.

    Happy New year!

  40. MiM

    @”Also America has gone over the fiscal cliff, where is all this chaos and drama the media were predicting?”

    You need to wait a while .


  41. Apologies MitM if you think I am misrepresenting you on the EU but I took from your previous hostility on the principle of free movement that only getting us out could free us from that “conundrum”. Either way my point is valid since I am not overly fussed by the principle of free movement so I don’t share that concern of yours about the EU.

    No problems with ECHR here either since Im not challenged by the idea that “our” justice is any more superior to the justice of Turks, Russians et al.

  42. Happy new year all.

    2013 will be the year that Pakistan really catches fire.

  43. “Im not challenged by the idea that “our” justice is any more superior to the justice of Turks, Russians et al”

    Seriously??? They are known to be flagrant human rights abusers. The worst in that list in Azerbaijan, where you can be arrested for voting for the wrong act in a televote (43 people in 2009 were arrested for such an offence) Azerbaijan hasn’t had a serious election in 20 years, the ruling family is like a monarchy, and calling them out on anything is punishable. Homosexuality was only decriminalized in the 90’s, there’s still no legislation protecting sexual minorities from discrimination, and they are regularly beaten with police failing to do anything about it.

    Belarus is known as the last dictatorship in Europe.

    Turkey, shows flagrant abuse against the Kurds, refuses to apologise over the attempted genocide of the Armenians, and currently have their army occupying half of an EU country.

    But you think we are no better than them?

  44. @MitM

    “But you think we are no better than them?”

    For me there is no “we” or “them” only individuals.

    In the previous thread you created an analogy about “kids coming to a party and collecting goody bags”. It suggests that you strongly see things through a collective national prism with solutions flowing from that outlook. That would ultimately lead you too need strong defence positions I suspect in the face of any threat to the kids party. Not a position I would agree with – hence my bringing in the point about defence spending.

  45. Hi

    I thought you may think the stats from Mike Smithson regarding the vote share for all by-elections in 2012 was worth discussing considering the current polls. The pic at the end is a table with details of the changes for each Party.

    Mike Smithson [email protected]
    Aggregate vote shares from all 198 local by-elections in 2012 show: CON 33.74: LAB 29.22: LD 19.15: UKIP 6.13

  46. @ Katie

    Unless you have the comparatives from the prior elections, these local by-elections averages don’t tell us much.

  47. Hi Amber

    The picture gave the details, but if you can’t access it the overall changes for the main four parties are as follows:-

    Conservatives 193213 votes, Share 33.74%, Seats won 87, Change -12
    Labour 89376 votes, Share 29.22%, Seats won 60, Change +12
    Lib Dem 58572 votes, Share 19.15%, Seats won 32, Change +4
    UKIP 18763 votes, Share 6.13%, Seats won 0, Change -2

  48. Sorry to alarm you, I typed the Conservative votes figure wrong, it should be 103213. Apologies if it has caused a heart attacke for anyone!!

  49. And that should read ‘attack’.

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