What will we be eating, driving, watching and talking about in the coming year? And who will we blame for our problems? Sam Leith, with the help of Prospect’s experts, looks aheadby Sam Leith / December 15, 2010 / Leave a comment
The movies of 2011 will favour superhero derring-do over realism
VOLATILE COCKTAIL HOUR
The French and Greeks have a tradition of blowing off steam by heaving paving stones at the police; now British protesters, once more likely to carry placards reading “Down With This Sort of Thing,” are embracing European manners. Metropolitan Police commissioner Paul Stephenson believes we’re entering a new era of civil unrest, characterised by more violence, warning “the game has changed.” And it’s not just students. A big-tent protest is planned for 26th March in London and “co-ordinated industrial action” is expected through the year. The TUC’s Brendan Barber predicts that a “volatile cocktail” of issues will get us marching and—who knows?—maybe even throwing a few volatile cocktails ourselves.
Civil unrest: we’ll take to to the streets in protest at a ‘volatile cocktail’ of issues
NAME AND BLAME
Ordinarily, when casting around to scapegoat someone for our pinched lives, celebrities are the favoured repositories for our envy and hatred. As the cuts start to bite, though, we’ll be looking for other targets. In 2010, it was the turn of the bankers. In 2011, the coalition having explained to us how important bankers are to our tax base, we’ll mostly be turning on the poor: feckless single mothers, the “toerag parents” identified by poverty tsar Frank Field, welfare scroungers, NHS bedblockers, and long-term claimants of disability benefits Not to mention the selfish baby boomers who have, according to Tory frontbencher David Willetts, “stolen their children’s future.” It won’t be pretty.
WHAT’S FOR LUNCH?
Restaurants have just about survived the first phase of the crunch, but between January’s VAT rise and middle-class couples no longer able to divert their child benefit to a monthly bistro visit, they’ll start folding. After supermarket sales of “posh beef” rose 98 per cent year on year, M&S is launching a new range of upmarket ready meals to mop up the now-entertaining-at-home crowd. And surprisingly, given the straitened times, we might resume our love affair with local produce. Collapsing sterling, plus rising fuel and commodity prices, mean imports are becoming more expensive. If you believe Prospect’s food columnist Alex Renton, we could soon be eating salami made by Scottish pig farmers rather than Italian ones—and discovering it tastes just as good.