Derek Simpson backs moderate to lead Unite
Leaked emails over Mike Hancock scandal
David Miliband tipped for top EU job
87% of MPs raking it in with second jobs
David Cameron exclusive interview
"Red Ed" negotiates a minefield
"Red" Ed's knife-edge win
Don't strike over cuts, says union boss
Harman blocks Gordon Brown's farewell honours
Child benefit for older kids faces axe
Ed Miliband edges ahead of bruv in Labour leadership race
2010 predictions. An A to Z.

AFGHANISTAN. We’ll slowly beat a retreat, pretending that we’re not. Both Barack Obama and David Cameron have decided we can’t beat the Taliban, and both will try to spin a ‘victory’ message in 2010 as they prepare to leave.

BNP. It will be another good year for Nick Griffin’s thugs as the general election will ignore immigration and Islamic extremism. The BNP never does well in Westminster, but will make record progress in local elections.
CUTS. Victorious Tories’ cuts will be huge and last for years. But I predict George Osborne will be too squeamish to do what’s necessary, prolonging unemployment.
DOUBLE DIP. We’ll hear lots about this next year as Labour and Tories both say each other’s policies will tip the economy into recession yet again. In truth, both are telling porkies: their policies are depressingly similar.
ELECTION. It will be called in May, and people voting against Gordon Brown will deliver the biggest pro-Tory swing in postwar history. There is (I’d say) a one-in-ten chance that Gordo will stand down due to ‘ill health.’ If he doesn’t: A Tory majority of about 45 seats.
FUNDAMENTALISM. from Islamic extremists will remain the No1 threat home and abroad. A new home-grown terror plot will emerge.
GLOBAL WARMING. There won’t be any. For the 12th year in a row. It will become harder for politicians to justify taxing the bejesus out of us. As science evolves, it will become clear how much we still have to learn about this hugely complex issue.
HUHNE (Chris). Defeated in the LibDem leadership contest, dull-but-deadly Huhne is still scheming. He’ll make trouble when (and it certainly will be when) the LibDems’ Nick Clegg leads his party backwards in the election.
INFLATION. After a year of low price rises, inflation will return. The cure? Higher lending rates. Which threaten economic recovery. A hellish balancing act almost impossible to get right. That’s why we face a . . 
JAPANESE-STYLE ‘lost decade’ of false dawns. Fixing the banking system is the financial equivalent of root canal surgery: No politician wants to do it, or admit how much taxpayers really must pay. George Osborne will try to avoid it — repeating the Japanese error of the 1990s.
KINDLE, an electronic device as thick as a newspaper which lets you read books and mags, will take off in 2010. By the end of this decade, YOU will own a version of one. Maybe you’ll read this paper on one.
LABOUR’S CIVIL WAR. After losing, Labour disembowels itself. The only winners will be the Tories. That is why there will be a need for...
MANDELSON the Kingmaker When Labour crashes and burns, Mandy will have one last mission: to save the Party from itself. But who will he choose? Before Blair’s election, Labour never chose an obvious candidate. So expect the unexpected.
NUKES IN IRAN. The ayatollahs will continue to make progress to getting the bomb. Israel will snarl but will NOT launch a strike. Meanwhile, Iranian opposition to the psychotic ayatollahs will grow.
OBAMA’S KICKING. America has its mid-term elections, and it will be an almighty kicking for Barack Obama — punishing him for indecision and a dreadful healthcare bill.
POPE’S VISIT. You can bet Pappa Razi will be avoiding the election, so he’ll come late summer — looking for converts from the Anglican church.
QUANTITATIVE EASING. Britain’s Zimbabwe-style mon- ey printing machine will have to be switched off this year — and the government will be forced to find real people to sell its IOU notes to. But who will lend Britain £660 million a day?
RUSSIA will get nostalgic for the Cold War and build its missiles, and Putin prepares a comeback — fancying himself as Tsar of this new decade.
SMEARS. Expect plenty in what will be the dirtiest election campaign for years. Gordo’s hit men specialise in character assassination — but can Cameron retaliate and still keep his ‘good guy’ image?
TAX HIKES. Brace yourself for some painful Tory tax rises: VAT at 20 per cent, perhaps even higher than that. They’ll say that it’s “short term” but remember: Nothing is more permanent than a ‘temporary’ government tax.
UNEMPLOYMENT will keep rising until at least the summer. The number on out-of-work benefits will stay not far off a scandalous six million throughout this year.
VON ROMPUY (Herman). The new EU president will make precisely zero impact on anything — which is why I wanted him for the job. But the EU itself will try to flex its new muscles in 2010 — making collision with Britain inevitable.
WOODS (Tiger). If it’s not too rash, I predict the number of women he slept with will peak in 2010 — but only a fool would say where. His promise to give up golf will be as meaningful as the “I do” he said at the altar.
X FACTOR. Election-winning Cam will lose it by the autumn — and that’s no bad thing. If he wields that axe properly, he’ll be hated by Halloween. A horrible job. But someone has to do it.
YEMEN. It’s falling apart — and spewing jihadis. The Nigerian who tried the Christmas Day airline plot, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is thought to have trained there. Given its number of al-Qaeda militants, expect to hear more from it.
ZZZZZ. What most voters will say at election time. Just two in three will bother to vote at all. The expenses scandal has reinforced an exhaustion with ALL politicians.



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