Friday, 31 December 2010

New Year - Previous Predictions and Prophecies for 2011

Happy New Year everyone.

It seems to be a media custom at New Year to look back to the previous year and make predictions for the future. I did the same last year, so let's first have a look at how I did predicting 2010.

My first prediction last year was further financial collapse, which didn't come to pass. There was no double-dip recession, but I do think that it may just be taking time for the flaws in the system to work their way to a conclusion.

However, its interesting if you took my first prediction and applied it to Ireland: its virtually what happened there: financial collapse, the EU and IMF bully-boys going in and taking over. The government blaming everyone but themselves. Its long been posited that the UK is not that far from Ireland's situation, so you never know, I might have been a bit premature.

Anyway,  for my first prediction, I think that unemployment will become an issue in 2011, possibly linked to another dip in growth, but the financial stats managers may be crafty enough to hide any drop in growth, or at the very least, gloss over it. The reason for unemployment to get worse is that as we lose public sector jobs, the government have failed to liberate conditions for the private sector enough to encourage growth in that area. Private companies are still hamstrung by red tape and a reluctance by the banks to provide credit. In those circumstances, growth in employment seems very unlikely in the near future.

My first prediction of last year bang on the money was that the financial problem was so massive that it would take a long time to sort out and that any moves to make things better would have to be limited in order to keep the greater public on-side. The fragile coalition government we have at the moment means that the word "radical" has been consigned to the bin. Instead we have mediocre measures intended to make slight changes in order to keep everyone happy. Its like steering a supertanker with a canoe paddle: you can turn it any way you like, but it's too small to change the direction of travel. Right now our national debt is worse than before the election and the only possible way we can sort out the mess now is inflation.

Yep, another prediction for 2011 is rising inflation: everything is going to get dearer. The VAT rise might have a slight impact, but the main increase in costs for 2011 is the weakness of the pound. Fuel (which we import the majority of these days) will therefore become much dearer and push up transport costs, thereby pushing up the costs of UK goods as well.

Another prediction then is we may see a change in the supply chain: having vast central warehouses shipping stock to stores nationwide has been shown to be a system vulnerable to the weather and will suffer due to increased fuel costs. We may see more local warehousing in order to buffer against these effects but sadly increased rental costs mean this is a more expensive option: another upward push on retail prices.

One part of my second prediction of last year although not a prediction, seems uncannily familiar: a terrorist threat just weeks after a move to slacken travel security. Yes, we had the salf-same thing happen in 2010 as well. in the middle of the year there started to be dissenting voices asking for reductions in travel security, but within weeks we had a new threat in the form of the Inkjet Printer Bomb. Anyone want to call that a pattern or is it just a coincidence?
As it is, my prediction for increased security and a further reduction in liberties hasn't as yet happened, but unfortunately my prophesy that the Conservatives would continue with the status quo was spot on.

Another prediction was a full-frontal attack on drinking. Certainly there have been a number of missives from on high about the dangers of drinking this year and it does seem to be that drinking is being promoted as a new demon, to the ludicrously extreme statement that alcohol is more harmful than heroin.Nanny state knows best...?

My final prediction was quite easy: that there would be riots. I did say that I didn't understand why there weren't more riots and that still stands. I just don't understand that some people I talk too can't understand the injustices being done in the name of the government and others. I can't understand why they're happy to let it pass and carry on. I can't understand why they're not out on the streets screaming for justice, equality, fairness and a reduction in state powers over us. I can't understand why they don't care.

One thing is for sure: we will see more civil unrest: we have too, because the status quo cannot continue. Sooner or later the majority of the people in this country will see their leaders for the liars and cheats and conmen they really are. Then it'll get interesting.

I have said previously that 2010 is a pivotal year and I still maintain that fact. We've had a change of government with little change of policy. We have a coalition in government, a group of self-serving sicophants that will do anything to stay in power, except stick to their principles and previous promises. The wider public are opening their eyes to the shabby reality in Parliament and I've heard more dissenting voices among the general public than ever before. All it needs is a catalyst: a spark that will ignite public opinion and cause them to take to the streets.

Hopefully 2011 will continue is the same vein, with the government being exposed more and more for the liars and cheats they are and public opinion increasingly turning against them.

Anyway, thats enough from me.  I'm off for a hearty drink and a drunken present wrapping session, which will make for some interesting presents in the sober light of morning. Our Christmas is tomorrow, delayed a week as I've mentioned before.

So Merry Christmas to anyone planning the same and Happy New Year.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Met Office Now a National Joke.

Long ago I stopped using the weather forecasts issued by the Met Office. Up until a few years ago I had a powerboat and had to drag it from Oxford to the Solent: obviously a major exercise, so I planned trips to the coast around the Met Office's long-term forecasts. The majority were well far of the mark, more often than not entailing us sitting at the quayside looking out to sea watching the pitching and heaving of yachts out at sea.
Long-term forecasts seemed inaccurate and short-term forecasts seemed to be based on a mate phoning them up and telling them what the weather was actually doing. Several times I noticed forecasts changing during the day to fit what was actually happening in real-time.

To me weather forecasts have become very much like watching on of those psychic shows on TV, where a presenter purports to contact a deceased family member: lots of vague ideas that can mean anything and bent to eventually fit someone's real-life experiences.

I started to look at weather maps myself and made my own forecasts and eventually got better than the Met Office over 48-72 hour periods. It amazed me a rank amateur like me could predict the weather with better accuracy than the Met, especially in the 48-72 hour period, although I didn't have any interest in predicting further out. It seemed to me that the Met's weather models were flawed or flew in the face of what was established metological wisdom when I was a kid learning in school back in the 60s and 70s. Between then and now it seems to me there has been a radical change in Met Office forecasting.

Now it seems, the Met Office have become a laughing stock across the country for the (in)accuracy of their medium/long-term forecasts. In fact tales abound on the internet about how the Met Have changed their tune, changed their forecasts on their website and then denied that they ever got it wrong.

It seems to me that the computer models used at the Met are broken. If a computer model is so flawed that it fails so spectacularly to predict the weather, you think it'd be dumped or modified. But what seems to be happening is a denial of inaccuracy, a denial of reality.

To me this isn't about the global warming debate: I don't know if the Met is infatuated with MMGW and has incorporated it into their climate model.

All I know is they seem to be consistently inaccurate, to such a degree that were I to venture to sea again, or climb a mountain, I wouldn't bet my life on them.