As I look ahead to the future, visibility is poor. The haze of Australian bush fires and the blather of climate denying political leaders precludes the very possibility of visionary outlooks among atomised populations immersed in their private self-affirming digital worlds of selfies, memes and clickbait. As the post-truth era gives way to forms of consciousness unaware that eras actually exist or that history matters, the earth system is afflicted by melting ice, heatwaves, dying marine life, disintegrating agricultural systems, mass migration and never-ending geopolitical conflicts. Short-termism reigns, the long-term tomorrow will look after itself. Don’t bother searching for meaning, there isn’t any, just consume, swap selfies, demand nothing and die. In these unpropitious circumstances, allow me to make some predictions for the next calendar year. I have no gift for prophecy or prescience. In our dark and unfathomable world, my guess is as good as yours.
- Proponents of cannabis law reform win a resounding referendum victory. Video footage of Chloe Swarbrick and James Shaw sharing a celebratory spliff outside Wellington’s Backbenchers’ pub goes viral.
- Opponents of cannabis law reform win a resounding referendum victory. Parallel video footage of Simon Bridges, Paula Bennett and gang leaders individually celebrating, goes viral.
- A series of armed gang clashes in Auckland, Northland and Wellington leave five dead and 10 injured. Simon Bridges vows to crack down on gangs.
- After three weeks of intensifying volcanic activity, Auckland’s Rangitoto erupts violently destroying Takapuna, Devonport, the Inner City and the Eastern Suburbs. As fatalities rise and economic activity is wiped out, property prices fall dangerously.
- Australian climate change refugees demand entry as early summer temperatures average 45°c and whole suburbs burn. Jacinda Adern’s re-elected coalition government announces that preference will be given to New Zealand expatriates.
- Scott Morrison carries a large lump of kerosene-doused coal into the Australian senate. Setting it alight, he declares maniacally that there is nothing to be afraid of. Elected representatives are engulfed in flames as ScoMo escapes back to Hawaii.
- Pauline Hanson declares that there should be a second enquiry into Islam.
- Senior figures throughout the Murdoch media in Australia apologise for years of Islamophobic media coverage and the torrent of fake news about Labour’s tax policies.
- Trapped in a Blue Mountains bush fire which firefighters refuse to put out, ScoMo, back from Hawaii, declares a climate emergency.
- After being publicly outed as a helium balloon rather than a sentient human being, Boris Johnson ascends into the stratosphere.
- Civil war breaks out in Ireland as an unforeseen series of massive earthquakes and gaping earth fissures separates Scotland from England. The Queen dies.
- Labour announces that if they win the next election, two Brexit/remain referenda will be held consecutively. If the two results, averaged out, deliver less than a 5% margin for either side, there will be another referendum.
- Prince Andrew, in an unscripted podcast, announces that Ghislaine Maxwell and himself will host a live internet-streamed press conference outside Jeffrey Epstein’s former town house in New York.
- Upon his return to London, Prince Andrew is arrested by King Charles’ security detail and taken to the tower.
- The US senate fails to impeach Donald Trump. After his presidential re-election victory, God intervenes and turns the Donald into a pillar of salt. Fox News refuses to run the news story.
- The Democratic Party choose Joe Biden as their presidential candidate and lose disastrously.
- A gigantic hurricane and multiple rainstorms drown thousands in Miami and Southern Florida. Regional property prices fall.
- Trump re-announces that US citizens should leave South Korea. After a robust nuclear exchange between the US and North Korea, millions die and the entire region is contaminated by nuclear fallout for centuries to come. The UN Security Council fails to reach consensus on the issue.
- After years of quantitative easing by the world’s Central Banks and massive borrowings by investment banks, hedge funds and other reckless speculators, the bubble bursts. A simultaneous collapse in the Shanghai property market and global derivatives markets triggers a massive financial meltdown and worldwide depression. The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland discusses how to protect asset values and restore confidence in the global financial system.
- The third cricket test between Australia and New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground continues after two Black Cap fielders die of smoke inhalation. Australia wins the match by an innings and 56 runs. Scott Morrison and the Australian captain Tim Paine, both wearing face masks, congratulate each other on a fine victory.
- At the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, New Zealand win no gold medals and a commission of enquiry is established to apportion blame and intensify national self-loathing.
- England defeat the All Blacks at Twickenham by a huge margin. Ian Foster and the coaching team upon return to New Zealand receive 24/7 police protection. A commission of enquiry is established to apportion blame and intensify national self-loathing.
Well, that’s all from me, enjoy Christmas and the New Year, while it lasts. For those who are anxious or of fragile disposition, remember it is not possible for all of these predictions to eventuate. But some might, you never can tell.