And another year comes quietly to a close. 2010 seems to have flown by. In fact if you blinked you could have missed the decade that will be known as the noughties. As we “moesy on into the Tens”, I’ll take a look at the year that was.
Let’s start with sport. Who can forget Spain’s performance in the World Cup in South Africa, deserved winners. And as for England’s performance in 2018 World Cup bid as they were out corrupted by Russia, who would have guessed that? The classic post match whinging was a given, “so unfair!” And as for Qatar for 2022, lets’ just stop the chat right there.
The Premiership must be the most open in years with five teams in with a shout. Even Man City have an opportunity to top the league for the first time in 88 years over Christmas. Refreshing stuff unless you are a Liverpool supporter. Well at least those bastards Hicks and Gillette are gone. Good riddance.
In terms of golfing highlights GMAC’s performance on the links, culminating in the first Irishman to win the US Open. As I type the US Open trophy is less than 3 miles from my door, classic. As Lee climbed to the World Golfing #1, we saw a winless Tiger at odds with himself and the world. It would be nice to see him roar again next season, the game needs him.
In politics this was the year that the Torries got back into power with a little help from the Liberal Democrats. And the timing was spot on. As Labour vacated the corridors of power, the UK found out that it was effectively bankrupt. New words and phrases like “austerity measures”, “swingeing cuts” and “the reality of the situation” were being bandied about by politicians in a cliché bingo while they themselves are being scrutinised and haunted by expense scandals. And the first axe to fall is on our students who are now set to get hammered, and for once we are not talking booze. Fees to go up to £9K per year will clean out most impoverished scholars for the next two decades upon actually getting a job. How many of us received our education for free on the back of our parent’s taxes. It doesn’t feel right as we spend billions on “crucial areas” such as defence.
And if you thought Northern Ireland was left on a sour note, take a look south of the border. Ireland plc is left destitute, as the wheels spectacularly came off the Celtic Tiger bandwagon. As bankers still count their bonuses Ireland has to reach out to Uncle EU for a bail-out. Seems to all boil down to collective greed, mismanagement and corruption. But I feel that this is a necessary correction, the country had sort of “got away with itself”. And did I mention the child abuse scandal that has rocked an entire religion and country?
Obama’s honeymoon as the New Messiah is now well and truly over. The domestic economy, healthcare and foreign policy are all dragging down the dream. And on the subject of “well and truly”, 2010 showed how a Blue Chip company can almost go under only two weeks after publishing billions of $s of profits. A Hannibal Lecter health and safety policy driven by greed mixed with a micro shallow Corporate Governance strategy was surely the tin of “wise up” we all needed. While the Gulf of Mexico will take decades to recover, BP will continue generating multi-billion profits. And the spotlight will simply move onto the culprit of the next ecological disaster.
And as we sit snugly in our homes the weather once again is ravaging us. How wet was this summer and how cold is this winter? Record low temperatures and more snow than I can ever remember. The DRD and local councils fight it out over the meaning of liability to stop us falling on our arses as we try and negotiate the pavements. Surely we must turn the tide and break the cycle in 2011. We deserve a good summer!
This year we saw the growth of social networking. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn have surely changed our lives forever. Not having a mobile within 3 feet of our body feels like losing a limb. Tweating about the size of your poo or how many people you are connected to on LinkedIn are now accepted norms. The iPad and iPhone have set the standing for a next generation of devices. But where does it all stop? Connectivity inside the body?
And networks like WikiLeaks have sprung up to expose governments, nations and Jullian Assange’s sexual preferences for Swedish women. The web is merging with newspapers., TV and Radio. Information is now cheap and readily accessible. Where do we stop?
We had the Haitian and Pakistan natural disasters to remind us that there is life outside our front door and that we are generally in a better place than some of our fellow brothers and sisters on this planet, but who can forget the hope generated by the Chilean miners? The world focused on thirty three men in some obscure part of Chile stuck in a hole 3 miles below the surface for almost 70 days. Something we will remember for a long time. And the survivors are now enjoying celebrity fame running in marathons and attending Man Utd matches!
The media highlights were Corrie’s 50th birthday, Avatar’s bum numbing spectacular, Matt’s win in X-Factor and “Stuarts Baggs the Brand” in The Apprentice. The Jungle and Dancing gigs never got onto my radar. No new bands spring to mind, only the old ones with Take That. Merging back with the Robbie Williams empire goes down as a highlight of the year, really? As music is now measured by downloads it’s hard to take the #number 1 slot seriously. But has pop made a revival? Guitar / Rock bands have crumbled and artists like Lady Gaga, Katie Perry, Rihanna and Justin Bieber are stealing our kids’ pocket money. But it’s nothing to write home about.
And who won’t be around in 2011? A year that avoided major celebrity deaths, only ones that come to mind are Tony Curtis and Dennis Hoppa. Surely there were ones I must have missed. Looks like the Grim Reaper (sponsored by Hello!) had an easy time of it.
In scientific terms new stars were discovered, major progress in CERN might reinvent the way we thought we came about and advances in medicine continue apace. Apparently the world’s first ‘quantum machine’ - a device that moves according to laws that govern the subatomic world - has been named as the biggest scientific breakthrough of the year. The machine topped the list of the most significant developments in science in 2010 along with the sequencing of Neanderthal DNA, advances in HIV prevention and the synthetic genome.
In terms of stats there are now almost 7 billion of us happily living on this “wee world” of ours. There are twice as many people being born as there are dying,. We’ve made nearly 50m cars this year and nearly 250m computers. There are more overweight people in the world than hungry people. We have only 15K days until our oil runs out! Some food for thought.
And we saw Northern Ireland now being digitally connected to the outside world through a transatlantic pipe. There is more glass in the ground in Northern Ireland than you can shake a stick at. Will we be able to take advantage of this and become a leading digital economy? And can we convince the powers to be that dropping corporation tax to give us parity with Republic of Ireland is a good thing that will create much needed jobs? Hold on, it’s Norther Ireland politicians I’m talking about.
And will electric cars still be a vision of the future? As charging points make an appearance in Northern Ireland, the infrastructure starts to build but capital costs are still too high to own your eCar. Only 10% of the energy we use is generated from renewable sources. When fossil fuels run out, have we got a plan?
And what does 2011 hold for us? A royal wedding for starters. So have a good one and peace to all.