Last Year I predicted that Mary Portas would get the go ahead, that the "Tesco" build by Bluewater at Alington House would get the go ahead and that Dreamland would limp towards improvement but very little would actually happen. Overall I was right (Animal Transportation, for example) or close to (no significant fires, said I) on almost all of my predictions. Let's see if I can do that again this year.
1. Changing focus. This year I think we will see a change in focus with Ramsgate getting better attention but also with a shift in Margate towards Margate High Street as the needs of these two very different areas are addressed.
2. Odd election results. In elections and by-elections this year (and next) I think we will start to see the hype over UKIP start to fade as people realise that although they say things that sound good they are largely just the conservative party in drag. UKIP will not do anywhere near as well as predicted and will continue to lose ground as their rampant racism is unmasked. On the other hand the growing demand for change and effective local (and national) government get all muddled up in people's minds we will see election results that surprise and make little actual sense.
3. Rampant Council Paranoia. With little reference to reality or the demands of the public the council will continue to be utterly terrified of people knowing what really goes on and as such Thanet District Council will continue to fight the public right to film at their meetings even in the face of growing public dissatisfaction, protest and demands for transparency.
4. Talking and planning begins. Throughout Thanet talking shops, question and discussion forums of various flavours will grow in number as public dissatisfaction with local authority (lack of) leadership likewise continues to grow. This will probably result in the creation of more than a few activist groups, petitions and a general getting up and getting out and speaking up from local people. Expect to see a few familiar faces at most of these gatherings.
5. Stripping the council. Partly as a result of the above prediction (but also as attention is paid from above to the Council's lack of ability to do anything) there will be multiple demands on TDC to hand over power on various issues to other bodies. For example the task of enforcing food standards locally is likely to be taken away from the council. For example we might see new demands for parish level community councils. I would not be surprised to see Kent County Council (KCC) taking over on things that Thanet District Council (TDC) should be doing.
6. Tax Hikes. It is almost a sure bet that Thanet District Council will want to raise council tax to pay for the expensive and inefficient way it is run. This will come to a head arround April when the tax year ends. There will probably be some moaning from the councillors about how they did us all such a huge favour by freezing the tax in past years along with a general failure to mention all the perks they have been giving themselves.
7. Wishy-washy Tory Party. The conservative party will continue to change it's stance to almost the exact opposite of what they were doing four years ago in order to disagree with the Labour Party who on many issues have taken exactly the same position that the tories had. This will fail to make them seem relevant or trustworthy but make them seem weak and directionless. As a result UKIP will steal ground from them basically taking over the right wing racist, classist, out-of-touch niche.
8. Labour will stay out-of-touch. Labour will continue to appear out-of-touch and weak unless there is a significant change at the very top in the first half of the year. The smart money will be on Clive Hart clinging to power with everything he has and to the detriment of the local Labour Party who, in my opinion, were fools to make him their leader.
9. Minority politics. Minority groups will, politically speaking, dominate the local discussion as the two bigger parties show just how feckless and out-of-touch they really are. Convincing people not to do something irredeemably stupid by voting UKIP and to vote for someone, anyone, else will dominate the political discussion. No doubt some well meaning folk will be fooled by the UKIP and Tory lies and over the next two years we will see a hate-filled bunch of upper class twits trying to run the council. We can hope that independent, local Lib-Dem and Green council members will get a chance to actually do some good but will it be enough?
10. Gas bags. Fracking and the dangers it may or may not pose to the environment will be a seasonal favourite topic for the year possibly with a few protests come the warmer weather.
11. Dreamland dreaming. Dreamland will not have anything particularly exciting happen. Slow but steady progress towards something being opened will be made. Maybe 2015 might see that, who knows?
12. No Tesco, yet. Despite the big promises being made by Bluewater and a few local shills even if the building work is completed at Arlington this year there will not be a TESCO to go shopping at on the site before the close of 2014. That's not to say that TESCO might not move in there eventually but it will not happen in 2014.
Well that was my wild stab in the dark for the year would you like to add tot he guesswork? What do you think will happen this year?