Old Moore’s Almanack: World Event Predictions 6th May

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The first set of predictions for the month of May centre around the full moon on 6th May.  Let us have a look at those predictions:

  • Optimistic trends continue and bold action is called for.
  • Security levels should be on maximum alert for attacks on the British government.
  • There is also a high rish of oil spills, especially in the western Atlantic or western Pacific.
  • Saudi Arabia enters a cycle of uncertainity which lasts until the end of the year and brings the country into conflict with Iran.
  • There could be cyber-attacks around the world and a serious interruption in traffic on the web.

Let us see how accurate those were:

  • Optimistic trends continue and bold action is called for – What does this even mean?  This is a statement not a prediction and a rather non-descript, un-quantifiable statement.  And to be frank I would say that the contrary is true.  With France eleccting her first Socialist government in thirty years, the Greek government on the point of collapse and general rejection of the austerity measures that are being put in place by various European governments there is a real sense of standing on the edge of a financial abyss.
  • Security levels should be on maximum alert for attacks on the British government. – The only attack on the British government has been from the British voters.  Despite (or perhaps because of) the low turnout at the polls the encumbent coalition parties took a real battering in the local elections.  Security levels probably are high (we are hosting the Olympics later this year) but nothing that has made the news.  However, again I think that this is Old Moore is looking at history to predict the future.  On the 11th May 1812 John Bellingham, a bankrupt mechant assassinated Spencer Perceval in the House of Commons.  The first, and only time a British Prime Minister (although strictly speaking the title Prime Minister was not in use for the Leader of the British government at the time) has been assassinated.  Spencer Perceval was shot through the heart and died within a few minutes; while Bellingham was executed one week later on the 18th May.  Interestingly one of John Bellingham’s decendants: Henry Bellingham is currently a Foreign Office minister and MP for North West Norfolk.
  • There is also a high rish of oil spills, especially in the western Atlantic or western Pacific. – Nothing that has made the news.
  • Saudi Arabia enters a cycle of uncertainity which lasts until the end of the year and brings the country into conflict with Iran. – I will wait and see on this.  The only major newsworthy story concerning Saudi Arabia was the revelation that the Al Qa’ida operative that the CIA have intercepted with the latest version of the underpants bomb was in fact a Saudi double agent that had been placed by the Saudi intelligence agency in a Yemeni cell.
  • There could be cyber-attacks around the world and a serious interruption in traffic on the web. – Not really cyber-attacks around the world but Virgin Media was forced to take its website office for an hour during a hack attack by the Anonymous Collective.  The Anonymous Collective targetted Virgin Media as Virgin Media became the first ISP in the UK to block users from accessing The Pirate Bay’s file sharing website.  The UK High Court has ordered the UK’s ISPs to prevent their users from accessing the Swedish website which hosts (among other files) pirated music and video infringing copyright of large media organisations.  Four other ISPs: Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk and O2 have also been ordered to prevent their customers accessing The Pirate Bay by this Friday while BT has requested ‘a few more weeks’ to consider its position. 

Once again if there was something I missed or you feel I have unfairly represented the news, please feel free to comment.

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Old Moore’s Almanack: World Event Predictions 22nd March

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The second of the set of predictions for the month of March centre around the New Moon of the 22nd March.  Four events are suggested for the time period:

  • The government will embark on a major economic reform, intent on a radical break with the past
  • Buoyant financial figures, including a rise in private sector employment, encourage increased spending on technology and green initiatives.
  • International tension focuses on the Persian Gulf and we may see conflict between Iran and the Arab States
  • Argentina may test British defences of the Falkland Islands, although there is little danger of war this year.

Let us see how these predictions panned out:

  • The government will embark on a major economic reform, intent on a radical break with the past – Interestingly there was a UK Budget on the day before (21st March) but there was nothing in it that was a radical break from the past, in fact is more of the same with a (primarily) Conservative government giving tax breaks to the rich and bleeding the remainder.  The top rate of income tax (for those earning over £150,000/year – including if figures are to be believed the Chancellor himself) will be lowered from 50p to 45p in the pound.  Corporation tax to fall; fuel duty to rise 3p/litre; tobacco duty to rise to 5% above inflation (equivalent to 37p on a packet of cigarettes) and child benefit to be cut.  The tax threshold will be raised which is good for those on very low incomes.  The fail out on this budget is huge leaving the UK’s 4.4 million pensioners worse off and pie and pasty fans up in arms as you will now have to pay VAT (currently 20%) on hot pies and pasties (although not cold pies and pasties – and the definition is a little wooly as hot doesn’t mean heated it just means hotter than the ambient temperature.  So, on a warm day a pie at 25°C would not incur VAT but on a cold Winter’s day it would.
  • Buoyant financial figures, including a rise in private sector employment, encourage increased spending on technology and green initiatives – Not really.  The UK’s borrowing is above expectations although growth figures have jumped from 0.7% to a whopping 0.8% which is going to help with our dewbt mountain of £1 trillion!  That is about £40,000 per household or 500% of GDP.
  • International tension focuses on the Persian Gulf and we may see conflict between Iran and the Arab States – There is always international tension in the Persian Gulf and although Iran are usually in the thick or it (so to speak), I would say that it is Syria and its treatment of its civilains that the World’s attention is focused, including condemnation from other Arab States.
  • Argentina may test British defences of the Falkland Islands, although there is little danger of war this year – Cynically, one could say that this would be relatively easy to’ predict’.  The Falklands War started on Friday 2nd April 1982 so the 30th anniversary ties in nicely with this timeframe.  But let us give Old Moore a little credit because it has been making the news nearly every week with a lot of posturing from Argentina and what could be intrepretted as a provocative action by the UK with the Duke of Cambridge (second in line to the Throne) being posted to the Falkland Islands for a seven week stint.  Interesting timing with the entire story though was the fact that the Duke of Cambridge came back to the UK after completing his stint on 21st March, which stoked further interest in the situation.

To be honest, I am a little cynical with both the first story (the UK always tend to have a budget around the end of March) and the last story (the anniversary of a major war where one party still feel aggrieved) are not impossible to predict for those with a bit of wit about themselves, but maybe I am allowing my prejudice to influence the results.  Let me know what you think.

Old Moore’s Almanack: World Event Predictions 21st February

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The second of February’s set of predictions centre around the New Moon on the 21st February.  Apparently the astronomical indicators point to a time of immense optimism and hope for the future.  Specifically:

  • There may be a major international peace conference and tough negotiations to resolve the Afghan conflict, which may flounder over minor details in spite of the wider vision
  • The Chinese government is asserting its role as a regional super-power with claims to settle disputes with Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam to its own benefit
  • Cuba will be democratising and may experiment with limited multi-party elections and there may be a significant change of leadership on the island

So do we have a time of immense optimism and hope for the future, not if the news stories that I have been reading for the last couple of weeks are anything to go by.  Iran has confirmed that it has nuclear power and this has been decribed as a possible precursor to the start of a new Cold War according the UK’s foreign secretary William Hague.  Russia’s backing of Syria has also been cited as possibly emboldening Iran to stand firm against the West once again dividing the world especially with China refusing to get involved.  But let us deal with the specifics mentioned above…

  • There may be a major international peace conference and tough negotiations to resolve the Afghan conflict, which may flounder over minor details in spite of the wider vision – There are no current peace conferences at the moment in fact the contrary is happening.  With, what can only be decribed as a gross misjudgement at best, and heaven knows what for the worse, riots and protests are spreading across Afghanistan after US officials put a number of Korans into an incinerator at Bagram airbase.  At least four people have been killed and a score injured as anti-US sentiment spreads across the land.  The excuse given by the US for the burning of the Korans was that they believed that Taliban prisoners were using the books to pass messages.  It is unbelievable that after 10 years of conflict that US officials did not appreciate the reverence in which the Koran is held.  Muslims believe it to be the literal word of God and so one can understand why it is held in such awe-inspired devotion and why there is such outrage at the burning of them.
  • The Chinese government is asserting its role as a regional super-power with claims to settle disputes with Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam to its own benefit – Again there does not seem to be any mention of this except that the Chinese authorities are arresting North Korean who cross into China and use two different colour stamps on interrogation documents to help North Korean authorities sort out defectors attempting to go to South Korea.  Defectors intending to go to South Korea are treated more harshly than others once they are repatriated but they are categorised as political criminals rather than economic migrants.
  • Cuba will be democratising and may experiment with limited multi-party elections and there may be a significant change of leadership on the island – Three out of three misses.  There does not seem to be any democratising or multi-party elections in Cuba, or any talk of them. Raúl Castro is the current President of Cuba taking over from his brother Fidel Castro four years ago (19th February 2008).  Personally I think we will have to wait until at least the death of Fidel Castro before there are changes in the Cuban constitution.

Unfortunately after a promising set of predictions at the Full Moon this set of predictions have been as far removed as can be from what has transpired.  Let us see how much better Old Moore can do next time.