Reasons to be cheerful

The economy's shot, unemployment's rising, inflation's going through the roof... but don't despair – The Independent's team bring you causes for optimism in 2012

The economy: Ben Chu

The doomsayers say: 2012 will be the year much of the world topples back into recession. Unemployment will rise, living standards will fall, businesses will fail, banks will go bust, the eurozone will break up and violent protests will break out on the streets.

But actually: In the UK, inflation will probably soon start falling rapidly. In six months, Britons still in work will see their real incomes start to rise. The Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations in June will raise national morale, encouraging consumer spending, in turn creating jobs and bringing down unemployment. The Olympics will be another welcome boost. The leaders of Europe are likely to take decisive action to prevent the single currency from breaking apart early in the year.

Politics: Oliver Wright

The doomsayers say: We're in the middle of a fixed five-year Parliamentary term, so there's no prospect of a snap election to keep excitement levels up. Labour have an ineffectual leader, but he is likely to limp on until 2015.

But actually: Even if national politics is boring, we've got the Boris and Ken show to keep us occupied. Johnson and Livingstone go up against each other in London's Mayoral elections in May. Watch out for Boris's sideswipes against his friend "Dave" – don't be fooled if he says he never wants to be Prime Minister.

The Arts: Nick Clark

The doomsayers say: Government spending cuts are starting to take their toll, last year was disappointing for mainstream movies – and there's no Glastonbury.

But actually: Several blockbuster shows from David Hockney and Damien Hirst, two of the big beasts of British contemporary art, should cheer people up a bit. Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises is released in the summer followed by Skyfall, the latest Bond film, and the year closes with The Hobbit. In June, the Stone Roses stage a long-awaited reunion and world tour.

Health: Jeremy Laurance

The doomsayers say: As the year begins, seasonal flu poses a grave threat to the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions. The NHS reforms are costly, unnecessary and will lead to the privatisation of health provision.

But actually: On current trends, and after two years of pandemic fears, this winter could be the lowest on record for seasonal flu. Latest figures show the number of cases to be well below previous years. By allowing the market to increase efficiency, the NHS will become more innovative and responsive to patients.

Science: Steve Connor

The doomsayers say: The world's biosphere is buckling under the combined weight of climate change and a global population of 7 billion, leading to increased demand for food, energy and fresh water.

But actually: On a practical level, great advances are being made in sources of alternative energy and new ways of producing food. On a more theoretical level, we may finally know in 2012 whether a sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs boson exists. We can also expect the discovery of yet more planets beyond our Solar System, perhaps an Earth-like twin that could harbour life.

Travel: Simon Calder

The doomsayers say: Buying a dream in the shape of a summer holiday has never looked more of a nightmare. Three awful years have seen the collapse of sterling, tour operators and consumer confidence. Holiday companies have cut capacity, which means less choice and higher prices.

But actually: Those who can travel in the second and third weeks of June can expect great bargain holidays. After the surge in bookings over the Queen's jubilee weekend, the Euro 2012 football championships are dampening demand. Until England either get knocked out or reach the final, holiday buyers will enjoy the best of markets. Greece and Portugal look particularly alluring.

Fashion: Rebecca Gonsalves

The doomsayers say: Away from the catwalks, the struggling economy is eating away at the British high street. Expect more outlets to bite the dust.

But actually: Though the queues forming outside branches of H&M up and down the country may be dressed in less eye-catching clobber than those who waited through the night for 2011's Versace collaboration, Marni's collection for the high street giant is an exciting prospect. Mid-February sees international fashion week come to London – Stella McCartney and McQ by Alexander McQueen return to the fold.

Sport: Robin Scott-Elliot

The doomsayers say: It's only January but pre-Olympic fatigue has already taken hold, with the mere sight of Lord Coe enough to make those without tickets retch in disgust.

But actually: When the sport itself begins, the doubters will be proved wrong: the Olympics is the greatest show on Earth and the Paralympics the most inspiring. There will be the odd drug cheat, but they will be buried under a mass of athletic achievement. From the likes of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, two of the greatest sportsmen the world has seen, to the surprise hits (don't miss handball or BMX), the Games will look good, feel good and will ultimately prove Lord Coe right. It's expensive, but it's genuinely a once-in-a-lifetime event and, at last, it's ours.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS2 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Ofsted said "A good larger...

PPA Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

British Sign Language Interpreter

£20 - £23 per hour: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienced Brit...

SEN Learning Support Assistant

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a Learning Support A...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London