Now that the year has started, I’m going to make some predictions for the rest of 2024. If only because it’ll be interesting to look back in a year’s time to see what actually happens.
Twitter/X won’t become an ‘everything app’
When the overly impulsive billionaire took over Twitter, he announced that it would become an ‘everything app’, like WeChat is in China. Essentially, he’s using his Twitter acquisition to realise his late 1990s dream for x.com, which would offer a huge variety of financial services.
But Musk also has a track record for over-promising and under-delivering. Look at the ‘full self driving’ mode offered on his Tesla cars, which, well, isn’t. His other firms, like The Boring Company, have also scaled down their lofty plans. So I don’t expect X/Twitter to offer much more than it does now by the end of the year.
I expect the core social media aspect of X/Twitter to continue to whither away over the year, thanks to declining user interest and lower advertising revenue. However, I still expect it to be around by the end of 2024 – I don’t think Musk is ready to throw in the towel and shut it down, or sell it at a massive loss.
Labour will win the 2024 General Election
We know that there will be a General Election in the UK this year, although not precisely when it’ll happen. Labour consistently leads in the polls, and has had some unprecedented by-election victories. I don’t think we’re looking at a repeat of 1997, when Labour won by a landslide, but I would expect a comfortable majority. How much change a new Labour government would be able to make partly depends on when the election is, but I’m not expecting the state of the country to massively improve by the end of the year.
Oh, and Sadiq Khan will win a third term as Mayor of London.
There will be a ceasefire in Palestine
Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel on the 8th October has to be condemned, but Israel’s response has been despicable with thousands of innocent civilians losing their lives. I expect Israel to find itself increasingly isolated on the world stage and a ceasefire will be inevitable by the spring of 2024. Unfortunately, I can’t see it being a route to lasting peace in the region, but any reduction in hostilities has to be better than this.
But the war in Ukraine will continue
I’m less optimistic about the war in Ukraine, which has been largely at a stalemate for the whole of 2023. Russia still intends to hang on to the territory that it has seized, including Crimea, whilst Ukraine hasn’t been able to make major advances. Meanwhile political issues in the USA mean that funding for Ukraine to carry on fighting isn’t guaranteed.
Energy prices in the UK will start to fall again
In 2023, the UK generated more electricity from renewable sources than from fossil fuels, for the first time. Whilst UK consumer energy prices went up by 5% on Monday, I anticipate that the cost of electricity will start to fall as more renewable power sources come online. The newly-operational Viking Link Interconnector means that we can trade electricity with Denmark, and the biggest wind farm in Scotland is now online.
That being said, there’s an imbalance in the UK as most wind power is generated in the north of England and Scotland, but the highest demand is in the south of England. And our energy grid doesn’t have capacity to move this, which means that some northern wind turbines have to be turned off and gas-fired power stations turned on – costing money and contributing to climate change. However, there’s been a big up-tick in home solar installations like ours which may help, albeit on a small scale.
The UK will do okay at Eurovision this year
In 2023, the Eurovision song contest was hosted in Liverpool. The 2022 winners Ukraine couldn’t host it safely due to the ongoing war, and the UK came second – our best result for over 20 years. And then despite what I thought was a good song from Mae Muller, we came second-from-bottom.
For 2024, Olly Alexander is representing the UK. As lead singer of Years & Years, I have some high expectations. I doubt we’ll win, but I would disappointed if we’re not mid-table. Of course, we haven’t actually heard the song yet.
Trump won’t win the US Presidential Election
Trump will almost certainly become the Republican Party’s candidate for president, but with two states banning him from their ballots, his campaign isn’t going well. I know Biden isn’t terribly popular, and wish he had stepped aside for someone younger like Kamala Harris, but Trump has made it pretty clear that if he wins (and manages to get a decent Republican Senate and House majority) then he will take the US down a path of authoritarianism that will take a lot of time to unpick. And whilst millions of Americans seem to be okay with this, I doubt it’s the majority.
We also don’t yet know what impact Trump’s legal issues will have, or whether the Federal Supreme Court will overrule Colorado and Maine’s bans. I didn’t think Trump would get elected in 2016, and so I have been wrong about this before, but I hope people’s experiences of 2017-2021 will guide them to vote against him again.