2015 is going to be momentous. Every month, every week, every day… they all offer untold potential. There are going to be countless news stories, scandals and tragedies, successes and conclusions. In this article, I’m going to try and write about five news stories set to take centre stage come the new year.
The general election
This is going to be one of the most interesting and impactful political events this century. It will be a vicious fight between the traditional parties, Labour and the Conservatives, with secondary parties such as UKIP, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and the Green Party all possibly holding the balance of power.
It will set the course for the next half-decade of politics in this country, as well as categorically show where the country is, politically speaking. It will affect every facet of the country, from the economy to the culture to foreign policy. Perhaps most excitingly, there is no clear outcome at this stage. No pundit, poll or party can say with any certainty who will be in power come May.
I know, it’s a country not a story. Except the developing economic woes (including the US backed sanctions and the collapsing price of oil), the crisis in Ukraine, the James-Bond villain style leadership of Vladimir Putin and increasingly frosty transatlantic relationship all make for a fascinating if terrifying prospect for 2015.
An awful lot hangs in the balance for Russia and the world next year, primarily our prosperity and our safety. Whatever happens next year, including the decisions made by the various political bodies in both Russia and the United States, will have deep and lasting ramifications in the sphere of international relations, foreign policy, the economy and the military.
Technology news stories
This is more a category than a single story but it’s important. 2015 will be the year that artificial intelligence, smart watches, home connectivity, advanced battery technology (including for phones and cars) and hydrogen fuel cells all come of age. There are a whole host of things to discuss here, things that will be minutely important on a macro scale and things that will, quite literally, change the world. Items like home connectivity and smart watches have been a long time coming.
The ideas aren’t new but the core technology is, and in both these examples new software plays a key role. As for artificial intelligence and hydrogen fuel cells, both represent quantum leaps in technological innovation. Hydrogen fuel’s successful implementation would be a game changer in the fight against global warming.
The Cuba talks
It had been rumoured that high level backroom conferences with the Castro administration in Havana and the White House in DC had been occurring for decades. But when a joint statement was released earlier this month confirming the initial stages of the normalisation of relations had been put in motion, many if not most were surprised.
Whether or not this is Obama legacy shopping in the Keys is effectively immaterial when you consider that this is the first major step towards reconciliation since the embargo began under JFK in 1960. Potential obstacles will almost certainly include the alleged human rights abuses under the Castro regime as well as the ever troublesome Guantanamo bay. There is a certain irony in that just as Cuba-US ties are being rebuilt, relations with Russia are fracturing.
This one is less specific, but equally interesting. 2014 has seen a number of tragic air disasters and what we’ve witnessed this year has been the short term reaction. The media sensationalism, the stock price collapses that resulted, the brief periods where people were afraid to fly. It’s been the year of MH370, MH17 and more recently flight QZ9501.
I’m not inclined to predict another air disaster, because there doesn’t appear to be a pattern, but I strongly suspect there will be a dramatic overhaul in the way aviation safety is regulated, and the way we respond to disasters (particularly in light of the hysteria, confusion and ineffectiveness of the response to MH370). There are also the infamous drones, another facet of the evolving aviation scene that could prompt major change.
What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.