As I sit here, drink in hand waiting for the year to end I thought I would join in with the current trend and enjoy my yearly game of guess what happens next.
These are my twelve predictions for twenty-twelve.
1. There will be more wrangling over Margate's amusement park and the scenic railway, cinema and other part collectively called dreamland. I can't see the likes of the developers who have sunk quite so much capital into the land giving up without trying everything they can to build houses there. For their part our council will probably light some bulbs and put up some signs with very little if any visible progress by the close of the year.
2. Thanet as a whole will continue to feel the worst of recession and credit problems with further shop closures and dereliction something that we continue to have to live with. However some small enterprises will start to buck the trend prospering where others are failing. When a bomb blast, drought or a fire wipes out life in a woodland the trees do not "just grow back". There is a process whereby different groups of plants and animals move into the niche and in doing so make way for the next stage. Eventually all is trees again. We will see innovation in 2012 and people will be cynical and then surprised.
3. At least one more member of the two leading parties will defect to the Intendants. Given the unity that Labour members appeared to show during the count (I was there) the smart money should be on Conservatives shedding another member. The cracks will continue to show in the Conservative party for some time to come I think. It's all part of the healing process and something that they need to get over with as fast as possible to they can provide a decent balance to Labour's new leadership (under license from the independents).
4. The independent council members will remind Labour several times that they hold the balance of power. As such expect Labour to answer to her new master. Which leads me on to...
5. There will be renewed calls for a Mayor and Cabinet model of Council as both parties have little to loose and the electorate has much to gain (if only in terms of a stable council).
6. There will be calls for Margate to become Parished as are all other areas of Thanet (and almost all of Kent). Margate is crying out for a hyper-hyper local body committed to addressing her problems and her problems alone. Our district and county councils are simply not set up for that level of attention to detail.
7. One or more newspaper titles for the area will end or change considerably (from paid to free or from weekly to monthly for example). I would be very surprised if the titles that KM tried to buy do not find another home this year.
8. The turner centre will perform uncannily to projections sagging in only a few places. There's too much pride at stake for the centre to not hit visitor numbers in 2012 but only the old town will see much benefit. Indeed all of the regeneration effort will be invested into the old town with Margate high street left to rot.
9. Someone will attempt to turn a high street shop into a house. The blogs will object with a certain dry cynicism and not much passion to oppose.
10. There will be at least one public falling out that will spread across the blogs. At least one blogger will ask themselves "why bother?" Although to be honest those of us that are left are fairly fire proof so I don't expect to see anyone quit this time.
11. Thanet News Network will shake things up a little. Not in necessarily big ways but it will set the bar a little higher for those of us that consider ourselves "news" sites. I think people might be surprised.
12. Labour bloggers will start to come out of the woodwork once more as the anti-blogging attitude dies with the change of party at the top. Some people might be quite bitter about this but on the whole I think the community will be richer for the diversity and the debate.
Have a happy new year folks.
What can you see in our future?