Were yours truly New Year’s Resolutions? Aspirations, perhaps? Or even predictions? It is often hard to tell them apart. “I am resolved to eat less; I know you hope to; but I predict that neither of us will.” So I can’t really tell whether the following are resolutions or aspirations, or predictions. But I hope they will happen anyhow.
Energy seems to be in relatively plentiful supply now, although we are not yet through the worst of the Winter. Petrol is already cheaper (why not diesel?) and I predict that gas, oil and electricity will follow as we approach the Spring. The price will fall; so will inflation (negative rates or deflation by mid-year perhaps), closely followed by an easing of interest rates. Growth in the economy will reappear after a brief International Recession, and unemployment will remain at record low levels. Personal budgets will once again become affordable and balanced. The Government will address labour shortages by allowing selected immigration to grow, while finding a solution to the problem of illegal immigration under disguise of asylum seeking. The Trades Unions will read the writing on the wall, and strikes will once again be consigned to the history books.
Economic stability will allow us to address wider and ‘softer’ problems like Climate Change – we must achieve Net Zero without bankrupting the country; energy policy must focus on switching to green fuel consumption rather than unwanted production (Solar and Battery solutions ruining productive agricultural land). The Levelling Up Bill must find a route to allow housing growth, but only in those places where local people actually want it. The NHS is creaking at the joints not (as some would have you believe) through underfunding - we are spending record levels on healthcare - but because we are all living to an ever-greater age. More and more people want more and more health in their forty years of retirement with fewer and fewer people actually paying for it by creating wealth. The long-term care system needs a fundamental review, as does the whole structure of the NHS. But who will be bold enough to address a problem as large as that?
Internationally, some kind of solution must be found to Ukraine; but that can be nothing less than defeat of the Russian aggressor; which must happen without unwanted, or perhaps even unexpected, escalation. Ukraine is proxy for a generational war between Russia and Western Europe; and it pales into insignificance by comparison with the threat from Iran and in the longer term, from China. Inadvertent escalation in Ukraine could well trigger warfare elsewhere. We must avoid that at all costs without ceding an inch to Putin and his warmongering cronies.
Do you remember Fry’s 5 Boys chocolate bars? Is Britain and the world; are we as individuals currently:- Despairing; being pacified; hoping and expecting? Let’s hope the latter so that we can look forward to a 2023 of acclamation and finally happy realisation. Let’s resolve to make sure it happens.
With all best wishes for a Very Happy New Year to you and yours.