Monday 23 September 2019

Ian O'Doherty: 'Brexit, melting glaciers and a Biden vs Trump showdown...'

In the ring: Joe Biden could make American politics even more fascinating. Photo: Steve Humphreys
In the ring: Joe Biden could make American politics even more fascinating. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

Well, it's that time of the year when we all try to peer into the crystal ball to see what's coming down the pipe for the next 12 months.

I hate to say it folks, but things don't look particularly promising.

In fact, 2019 is due to see the start of World War III, which will last for 27 years. Well, that's what reputed 'prophet' Nostradamus reckoned, although the way things are going, you wouldn't rule out anything.

On the political front, we can look forward to even more upheaval and discord.

This year, we mostly tried to sort our own domestic issues - abortion, blasphemy, the presidency, etc - but in 2019, we have to concentrate our attentions on Brexit.

With the March deadline now rapidly approaching, we can take some comfort from the fact that the experts seem as confused as the rest of us.

Well, some people can take comfort from that mutually assured incomprehension. But that merely leaves the way open for a variety of options, each one more hideous than the last.

A second referendum in the UK would be even more divisive than the first, and while PM Theresa May promised the nutters in her Conservative party that she wouldn't stand as leader in the next election, that might come quicker than she thought.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wants a referendum, the EU mandarins want to throttle the Brits and, as ever, the Irish are looking on in panic as it becomes increasingly clear that we are pretty powerless.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin extending the confidence and supply arrangement with the Government for another 12 months gives things an air of stability, but this Government has rarely been stable.

Ministers are prone to solo runs, half the cabinet seem to loathe each other and there is always the sense that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gets bored easily and would secretly love to get a big job with the UN.

But after March, all bets are off.

A hard border? A return to terrorism? Mass starvation?

One would like to think that cool heads can come to some sort of arrangement that isn't entirely apocalyptic, but that's a forlorn hope.

Still, if the UK does break down into anarchy and riots, at least we can say it was their own fault.

Climate change will become an even bigger issue than it was last year, and while it would take a heart of stone not to laugh at some of the more panic-laden predictions (weren't all the polar bears meant to be extinct and all the glaciers melted by now?), it ain't going away any time soon.

Climate activists have been busy condemning the Paris Accord for not diverting enough money to poorer countries like, um, India, which is so poor it has its own space and nuclear programme - precisely the reason why US President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement in the first place.

Ah Trump - the git who keeps on giving.

To some, he's as bad as Hitler. To his die-hard supporters, he may well be the second coming.

Of course, he is not the messiah, but he is a very naughty boy and while his detractors now scream like teething babies at the very mention of his name, he remains his own biggest enemy - when you consider that he's the most unpopular American President in memory, that's no mean feat.

Expect more indictments, and impeachment will be the buzzword of the next 12 months.

If Democrat Joe Biden announces that he will run, we're in for a fascinating 12 months as two men who truly despise each other go for each other's throat.

By this stage, we're all just watching with a sense of appalled fascination and dark humour, but you have to admit, there's never a dull moment.

Frankly, by the end of the year he could either be in chains or heading for a comfortable second term.

This was an awful year for Irish football, and the appointment of Mick McCarthy as a two-year caretaker manager before Stephen Kenny takes over was baffling.

But with the cold, dead hand of O'Neill removed from the tactical tiller, we can hope for a return to respectability.

The rugby boys will be aiming a lot higher. A remarkable 2018 has set Joe Schmidt's team up for a great World Cup in Japan.

Showing that the optimism of sports fans knows no bounds, many Irish supporters are already worrying about getting tickets for the final in Yokohama on November 2.

Would it be too much to expect social media to calm down and stop ripping society apart in 2019? Obviously, it would.

So we can look forward to more controversies, more fury and more stupidity than ever before as people eventually begin to run out of things to moan about.

How about a social media amnesty, where everyone's account is returned to factory settings and people start with a clean slate?

Oh well, one can but dream.

After the non-stop hyperventilating of 2018 it would be nice to get a year where nothing much really happens.

Don't bet on it. Brexit will ensure that the year starts badly and goes rapidly downhill from there.

You have been warned...

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