After 2015 produced unpredictability on an epic scale, making guesses at what will happen this year has become tricky sport. So instead I have decided to look at a few possible 2016 events and gauge their likelihood. Wish me luck:
1. Corbyn ending this year on the backbenches
There has been bold crystal ball gazing around this already, many saying that Jeremy can’t stay in post if he demotes Hilary Benn, or if his poll ratings aren’t above 35% by May or June or the end of the summer or Labour conference, or if the round of elections in May go badly for Labour. Thing is, all of those things will probably happen – and Corbyn will almost certainly still be the leader of the opposition this time next year. This is because “sane Labour” as it has now charmingly been christened is waiting for some sort of miracle to happen. I don’t think it will – but I wish them luck.
ODDS: 10/1 – it’s a long shot that Corbyn loses the leadership in this calendar year
2. Trump becoming president of the United States
I got chills just typing that. I know everyone keeps saying Trump has peaked and then he manages to remain still very much in the race, but I think his lack of understanding of how even the basics of politics works will eventually be his undoing at some point in the next few months. In order to win the nomination to be president from one of the two major parties in America, you need two things: money and organisation. Trump has the former but has no trace of the latter. Who knows, perhaps we have reached an age where a man can get on the ticket in the States just by saying offensive crap over and over again. Somehow, I doubt it.
ODDS: 100/1 – but recall that bookies odds on Corbyn becoming Labour leader started at 200/1, so don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet.
3. Britain votes to leave the EU
I’m too close to this one to give you accuracy, I’m afraid. But what makes me think it is unlikely is this: a Tory prime minister urging the nation to stay in is a tough one for Outers to fight against, and the canny amongst them knows it. Game set and match on this, by the way, is if you hear about a Cameron v Farage debate on the topic. Should this ever take place, it’s all over but the counting, for the Ins just to be clear.
ODDS: I’ll decline on this one for obvious reasons, but like I say, I don’t think it will happen.
4. The Syrian civil war reaches a peaceful conclusion
Sadly, this one is fairly unlikely, I believe. I realise that at last we have most of the major players wanting to finally end the thing, but that’s only step one, i.e. where we should have been three years ago at least. With a homicidal regime facing off against a theocratic death cult, the odds for everything settling nicely are pretty slim.
ODDS: 20/1 – but if we end the year with Donald Trump as leader of the free world yet this takes place, at least there’ll be some hope for humankind.