The end of 2011 brings a moment of small satisfaction to some of us in the prediction business. Many of the past year’s major events â€“ Jeremy Clarkson making a fool of himself, Nick Clegg looking more miserable every month, the embarrassments of Silvio Berlusconi â€“ were exclusively predicted in these pages. What does 2012 have in store? Look out for these major stories:
January: There is a surprise development in the Leveson Inquiry when it is announced that Nancy Dell’Olio is to sue three tabloids for failing to hack her. “Nancy feels her good name has been dragged through the mud,” her publicist reveals. “Some of the people who have starred in Leveson haven’t even been to bed with anyone interesting. Nancy is making a stand on behalf of A-listers everywhere.”
February: Robert Peston reveals that the US billionaire Warren Buffett has bought Greece. Buffet claims the acquisition will preserve the best of the much-loved civilisation â€“ its islands, kleftiko and the Acropolis.
March: Organisers of the annual Rear of the Year respond to criticism that the award is sexist and sizeist by awarding Eric Pickles the prize. Peeking over his shoulder with a cheeky grin for the cameras, the local government minister provides one of the press photos of the year.
April: Amid growing concern that the host nation for the London Olympics will be embarrassed, a number of new events, including croquet, the Eton wall game and cheese-rolling, are introduced. The Games motto is extended to “Swifter, Higher, Stronger, More Ironic”.
May: A live debate in BBC3’s ideas show for young viewers I Think or i-Pad? ends in disarray when the footballer-philosopher Joey Barton cynically elbows Alain de Botton in the face during a disagreement over the categorical imperative.
June: The Diamond Jubilee proves something of a flop when the Queen refuses to appear in public. “She’s just not in the mood,” a senior courtier reveals. “There’s no talking to her when she goes into one like this.”
July: Boris Johnson announces that the Olympics have been “absolutely biffo” after British athletes come second in the medals table. A clean sweep in the Eton wall game and cheese-rolling events are hailed as “historic”.
August: There is controversy when the Government announces that Ladbrokes has bought the country’s public libraries. Libraries minister Ed Vaizey observes that betting shops will help the young with essential mathematical skills.
September: The year’s big Christmas book Bottoms Up! Pippa Middleton’s Perfect Behind-the-Scenes Guide to Parties is released.
October: Growing tension between Britain and France is exacerbated by Carla Bruni appearing on YouTube singing “Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the British”, a satirical re-working of the Noel Coward song. The UK’s riposte, Sir Cliff Richard singing a version of “La Vie en Rose” with lyrics by Sir Tim Rice, is widely ignored.
November: The rush of elderly expatriates returning from Spain, Italy and France is welcomed by UKIP. “They may be knackered and cantankerous, but at least they understand British values and laugh at Morecambe and Wise,” a spokesman says.
December: Warren Buffett puts Greece on the market as “the perfect Christmas present for the millionaire who has everything”. A cheese-rolling gold medallist is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Independent, 28 December 2011