It’s the last day of 2010 and a time to look back at the year coming to an end, as well as forward to 2011.
There have been many big stories over the year and none bigger than the general election with its unexpected outcome of a Tory/ Lib Dem coalition. It has been a good year for David Cameron although not so for Nick Clegg, whose u-turns have caused division in his party and an alarming drop in support.
The government’s cuts that have been announced will bite soon and the VAT increase will be the coalition’s New Year gift to us al. The year ahead will be an extremely difficult one for many people.
For Labour, new leader Ed Miliband will hope to make an impact in 2011. He has a short window of opportunity but must lead his party to a strong showing in the elections of English local authorities, the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament. Anything other than gains all round will be seen as a poor performance.
And there will be a referendum on the proposed move to the Alternative Vote for future Westminster elections in May too. This might be one for the political anoraks, but there could be some novel alliances given that there are those for and against the move in both of the main parties.
The Scottish election will be an interesting one. For the first time the SNP will be facing the electorate as the government party, and this will change the dynamics of the campaign. With moves towards independence falling down the agenda following the dropping of referendum plans, the SNP’s record as a governing party will come under scrutiny.
It is highly likely that Labour will end up as the largest single party, but well short of an overall majority. But what happens then? A return to the Labour/ Lib Dem coalition of previous parliaments would seem unlikely and a minority government is a real possibility.
In footballing terms, 2010 saw the Spanish triumph in the World Cup. With no major international tournaments on the horizon the focus will be on the club scene. And, as ever, the year will kick off with a vital Glasgow derby. While it will not decide the title, the result will set the tone for the remainder of the title race.
Off the field it has been a year of turmoil for Scotland’s football authorities. The McLeish report roundly criticised the SFA as not fit for purpose and we have seen referees refuse to take games as well as the dismissal of Hugh Dallas for circulating a sectarian e-mail.
A full scale overhaul of the governance of Scottish football is required to bring the game up to modern standards. New CEO Stuart Regan has a massive task ahead of him, but the elusive goal of a fair and transparent game may just be moving a little closer.
In Europe, Barcelona will be favourites to take the Champions’ League, playing the best football around. The EPL sides will have their hopes of glory but I can’t see any of the four being strong enough to beat the Spanish masters.
Many people will be looking to make New Year’s resolutions tonight. The usual favourites of giving up smoking and taking more exercise will be up there, although there may be some interesting variations. Personally, I gave up making any long ago.
Whatever you are doing at the bells, and wherever you might be, I hope that 2011 is a good year for us all. I’m not too sad to see the back of 2010, and personally hope for a better year to come.
A Happy New Year everyone!