Looking forward to 2008? Peace, love and quieter trains

Politicians, pop stars, chefs and authors reveal their innermost hopes and fears as another year dawns
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The Independent Online

Will Self, Author and journalist

"I wish Gordon Brown would stop lecturing other countries about democracy when he has yet to receive a democratic mandate for himself. In fact, I wish the Government in general would stop making statements about democracy when they were only elected by a minority of a minority. They should get their own house in order. I also wish that more interest was taken in democracy by the electorate."

Akala, Mobo award-winning rapper

"I would like to see a change in the way we look at one another. We should wake up and just see people instead of seeing a Jew, or a Muslim or a black guy or whatever. There are so many boundaries and we use them to inflict harm on one another. I'd like to see those freed up. But whether that'll happen in 2008 or ever is a different question."

Joss Garman, Co-founder, Plane Stupid

"I think we can expect 2008 to be the year of direct action against new runways and coal-fired power stations. With decisions in the offing over a third runway at Heathrow and a new coal plant in Kent, the next few months will be critical in determining whether we let Brown lock Britain into high emissions levels for decades to come. With scientists warning that we have less than 100 months until dangerous 'tipping points', 2008 needs to be the year we turn things around, unleashing the potential of renewable energy and ploughing money into cheap public transport alternatives to flying."

Air Marshal Sir John Walker, Former head of Defence Intelligence and former deputy chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee

"2008 should see the withdrawal of all our remaining troops from Iraq, and with that the last vestige of any excuse for not holding a public inquiry into the war. The people of this country need to know all that went on to lead us into such an awful situation. I also believe the time has come for a new strategic defence review. The Government has now committed itself to two new aircraft carriers, without the support necessary for them to operate effectively. If these carriers are going to be used for further conflicts like Iraq then that itself would be a mistake."

Boris Johnson, Tory MP, candidate for London Mayor, columnist

"I want an end to the spate of stabbings, shootings and killings involving teenage gangs. I would like London to be as safe for kids to cycle in as it was when I was a child. I hope we don't talk ourselves into a steeper recession than we need to. Oh, and my new year's resolution is to be Mayor of London."

Jilly Cooper, Novelist

"I'd like to see greater acceptance for my dear friend Camilla, and Prince Charles. I think she's doing so well and the public are growing to love her. I'd like people to shut up about dear Princess Diana, because I think people have got to realise that for her boys, every time they open a newspaper and see all this awful stuff, it must be shattering. Good luck to Mr Brown because it is our country, after all. I hope things ease up for him, because he deserves a chance. Personally speaking, I'd like to get on with my book a big novel about national hunt racing. And if they could find a cure for Parkinson's, that would be the best thing in the world for my sweet husband."

Anthony Seldonm Master of Wellington College and biographer of Tony Blair

"I hope for politicians who are guided by wisdom, love and truthfulness. In education, the freedom for heads to run their own schools as they wish, putting the wellbeing of their students above the blind drive for success. A just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. For terrorists to realise that violence never leads to peace or harmony. Finally, for Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens to spend 10 minutes of each day silent."

Rick Buckler, drummer from The Jam

"I'm hoping for improvements in practically everything. There are so many things that need to change from the road transport system to anything you like. Maybe it's better not to aim too specifically, but just to hope for the best in everything. But I definitely won't be setting any personal new year resolutions. I never do because they don't give you the chance to change your mind."

Alex James, Columnist and musician

"My hope for 2008 is giving up smoking that's what I'm concentrating on. And I want to make a cheese that's on fire I saw the Baked Alaska come out at The Ivy the other day and I thought 'why can't I do that'? That's my dream for 2008. Then there's world peace can't do much about that. World poverty I'll leave that to Damon. I'm going to concentrate on climate change because I think that's the one area where everyone can make a difference. Those are the three crises facing the world at the moment. I think there is hope with climate change. That's the one we can all start tackling. Everyone can go out and buy some of those crap lightbulbs and get busy."

Raymond Blanc, Chef and owner of Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

"Love and peace that's what I'd like for 2008. There's so much hate. But I'm not going to expand upon that as it's far too complicated. As a chef, maybe what I'd like is to see the British connect with their food culture, which is already starting to happen, and also for farmers to connect with farming, and for retailers, processors and consumers to connect with their crafts, all to bring values into that."

Jo Whiley, Radio 1 DJ

"I'd like to see a nice, sunny Glastonbury with no mud. I think we've seen enough over the past few years. And I'm looking forward to Coldplay's new album. From the rumblings I've heard, it's going to be a really good one. And I'm hoping for some success for the T4 Mobile Act unsigned bands. There are four in particular: Revenue, Envy and Other Sins, Hijack Oscar and Bad Robots. After spending time with them on the show you become really close to them, and they definitely deserve to have a good year."

Mark Hix, Chef and cookery writer

"In 2008 we should be encouraging people to eat the lesser-known species of fish gurnard, or things like mackerel, or pilchards, sardines, sprats. It's a lack of information, and fishmongers aren't stocking these species. And unfortunately, fishmongers are dying out a bit. Supermarkets have fish counters, but they're not always the most eco-friendly. I think they're well aware, but they're just not pushing these species. Gurnard is a very tasty fish."

John Mortimer, Writer

"My hopes are that we cease engaging in stupid and meaningless wars. There is nothing else to be hoped for. I think we should just come away leave it to them. Nobody has ever managed to conquer Afghanistan, have they? It was the end of Gorbachev, and we have taken no warning."

Ann Widdecombe, Tory MP

"My hopes for the world are that we will become more aware of people who lack basic things like food, water and hygiene, and that a lot more will be done for them. I rather hope that Great Britain will free itself from the ghastly grip of political correctness, and that by the time 2009 arrives, we shall all be able to say what we really think again. Not only that, I hope that children will not have to wear goggles when they play conkers. As for myself, I hope I have a nice, peaceful time, and not too many calls from journalists."

Moazzam Begg, Civil liberties activist and former Guantanamo Bay detainee

"My hopes for the future are firstly that we recognise on 11 January the sixth anniversary of the inception of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. I also hope the Government will make a statement to call for its closure and the repatriation of prisoners. I hope there will be a change of attitude in how to deal with issues of extremism, many of which I fear are fuelled by measures which have removed justice for a section of people in this country."

Christopher Monckton, Author and former political adviser

"I think the world should cheer up in 2008. Everyone should stop being so miserable about everything. We are taking everything too seriously, from climate change to the economy. And people should go to church more. That way they can be exposed to the real religious truths. Because without those we are all condemned to put naive faith in what may appear to be but probably are not so-called scientific truths."

Charles Kennedy, MP and former leader of the Liberal Democrats

"Given the grim event which has characterised the end of 2007, my hopes are for a more sane international order. Over Iraq I feel nothing but pessimism. In Afghanistan hope has to be of a much more long-term nature. The truth is that we look to new American leadership in all of this.

After Gordon Brown's maladroit treaty signature performance he implied to me in the Commons the need for a national debate on Europe. As European Movement president I welcome that but it will it be matched by real leadership on his part? For myself, I intend to be a candidate in February for the post of rector at the University of Glasgow (my alma mater). Winning that and kicking cigarettes are worthwhile goals."

Barry Norman, Film critic

"I'd like this God-awful mess in Pakistan and the Middle East cleared up. We need an agreement between Israel and the rest of the region where each side takes into account the other's needs. And now we face the prospect of a civil war in Palestine so I would hope for a peaceful solution to that."