As one of my stalwart readers has termed my prognostications for each year ahead.
Last year I feel I did rather well – feel free to disagree. But for now, I shall peer into the bottom of my glass and opine for the coming months.
Britain Well last year lots of politicians were utterly convinced that a Brexit deal would be done and dusted by the autumn. Except for the Oligarch Kings who called out the problem that is Northern Ireland. So full marks there. Can I be so sure as to what happens in 2019? Here is my bet. May will fail to get her hobbled limping deal past Parliament this month and it will fall. Despite her attempts to bring it back in various forms it will not fly. Not least because Speaker Bercow will disallow her attempts to keep dragging the same bill back again and again.
There is no majority at the moment in the British Parliament for anything whatsoever. Unbelievable. Theresa May is in a bind of her own making and is only still there because no one else wants to touch the job – just now.
After this woeful Bill finally expires, May will be forced to apply to the EU to extend Article 50 and keep Britain in the EU for a further – oh say six months. She has no-where else she can go. This will only be allowed by Germany and France if something substantive is expected, like an election or oh say a Second Referendum. They may even force her hand by disallowing an extension for an election as being too wide and unfocussed and force a referendum on her. Expect this Referendum to be floated for some time in May when the weather is a bit better and nice high turnout can be expected.
Once that is in place Theresa May will be pushed out. Possibly the worst PM since Alec Douglas-Hume. Or Lord North.
At the Referendum the choices will be – either First:-the failed May deal (again) because there will be no better deal on offer from the EU, -Second:- a walk away from the EU on WTO rules basis (quite possible as the Brits are totally sick of Jean Claude Drunker and that cheap tawdry Trudeau look alike scolding them), or Three :- to stay put in the EU and suffer the indignity of crawling back to Mutti.
Whichever choice is made expect ructions. There is not a clean win in any of it. Out on WTO rules will open up the Scottish Referendum debate again, and this time they may very well be able to secure independence from England whilst keeping themselves a place in the EU. Out on the May deal is probably least likely, and if it does comes good will tear the Conservative party apart. It will also open up the Scottish Referendum debate as above, and even encourage Northern Island just to decamp to join the Southern Irish. Third choice: Stay put. Jesus what a waste of time and energy that would have been . Some may not choose this because of the loss of face to the nation.
If we do just walk away, then things are not so likely to be too awful for the Brits. Bumpy, yeah but sortable in a few months. (At least until the next Constitutional rows with Scotland start). For Europe though, denied £39 Billions a year hereon, and told where they can stick their fishing quotas etc, expect a fair amount of political blow back from communities all along the Northern coasts from Spain to the Baltic who will lose their fishing fleets in an instant. Cosy protected food export deals to the UK etc will be open to the world so this will hurt Europe sorely, and yes pig farmers of Denmark I am looking at you.
In any event there will be a British election following. God awful as May was do not expect Corbyn to win though.
The upshot as far as America and the rest of the world is concerned, is that you will get no sense out of the Brits until the back end of the Fall as we are having an existentialist moment or five.
Europe Another total mess. Germany is paralysed until such time as Merkle actually goes. There are EU elections in May where it does not take the Oligarch Kings’s crystal ball to see the Far Right take further gains and do their best to further unpick all that Merkel has done. Europe will be heading further right.
France is in one of its Revolutionary moods and Macron – who was only ever a stop gap candidate to stymie the Right wing “Front National” – is showing his utter lack of skill. Expect stagnation and introspection and the Right to get more and more concessions from an ever weaker Macron to make them just go home and stop digging up the cobble stones. As to holidays there? Damn right! I fully intend to take Mrs Oligarch Kings off to Occitania this summer.
Belgium is presently without a government. Again. Don’t tell me, you didn’t notice? Tells you a lot about Belgium that does!
Now watch the east of Europe if Britain does BREXIT. They have been given an object lesson in what happens to those who seek to break the European union. Three ex Austro Hungarian Empire states Czech, Poland and Hungary have each voiced deep reservations with le grand projet. Unlikely to try for Exit on their own, would they combine to break free as a Triad? Other anti-Brussels alliances are available.
Hungary Poland and Czech are simply not listening to a blind thing coming out of Brussels. They just do not buy this “migrant” spiel, dislike globalisation and will keep telling Brussel that, even as the French left and German centralists continue to call their democrats “the Far Right” or try to damn them as being “Popularists” etc, all whilst the post second war consensus dissolves on their watch.
And Italy leads the disgruntled Mediterranean states of Spain and Greece in poking sticks at the EU over debt, migrant concessions and well just anything now.
For America it will be another year of wondering who to phone. Or indeed why they should bother phoning.
Middle East Poor old Trump. Damned if he wants to extricate America from “bombing children” and damned for destabilising the entire region if he pulls out. He will over the year slowly disengage though. Turkey will continue to make one wonder why we should be friends with them far less strategic allies. It’s almost tempting to let Putin have full run at the problem just to tie him up for a few years. Maybe this year my prognostications about Algeria will come right. He has to die one year.
Sub Saharan Africa. Oh dear, oh dear. Nothing much will change. More corruption, more failed elections, drugs, mafia, Militant Islam, migrants. China buying up all the land it can, so it can feed its own millions and the heck with the natives. Hell, what’s not to like.
America. OK, 2018 did not see the Dems do as well as predicted. Sure, they now have the House but much good that will do them. Speaker Pelosi is touted as being a breath of fresh air and a new dawn. Grief the old girl is 78! America is in the grip of its own right-wing popularist swing, abandoning multi-agency multi-national solutions for isolationism and diktat. Only when the Dems actually get round to fronting up some fresh blood as candidates and spokespeople can they hope to get the traction they deserve. I do think we should expect a bumper crop of Presidential hopefuls this year, but not expect to see anyone serious until the back end of 2019.
Meantime there will be much talk of Impeachment. Fat chance. There will be more talk of Russians, but it’s not going to be Muller time this year (or ever). The orange one will ride calmly over it all tweeting vilely as he goes.
So far Trump does what he says on the tin. He hasn’t started any wars – he may even have prevented some situations like Korea getting out of control. His core base is happy with him and his enemies have so far only distinguished themselves by saying rude words at Gong ceremonies and being vulgar. Come on up your game you know you can do it.
And a busy New Year to us all.
Copyright David Macadam