i Editor's Letter: Predictions for 2014


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The Independent Online


The bus journey from Bucharest to  Victoria coach station takes 50 hours. That’s a long time to spend talking to reporters from the Daily Mail and The  Sun, especially if your first language is Romanian. Most of those who journey here will be made to feel thoroughly unwelcome, and if it’s any  consolation to the UK’s newest migrants, their depiction has been so  beastly that the majority here not to  beg, steal or sponge benefits may pleasantly surprise people. At Luton Airport this morning, one of the first  faces that passengers on the 7.40am flight from Bucharest will see belongs  to the Labour MP Keith Vaz, who has  promised to personally police Arrivals to count in the Romanian migrants. Some people have all the fun.

What else might 2014 bring us? Without waving about i’s crystal ball  – in storage after a bad showing on the  Boxing Day racing – it seems likely  the Bank of England will finally raise interest rates. Anti-EU parties will wipe the floor with “mainstream” politicians in May’s European elections, boosted by weak economies, low  turnout and widespread disaffection  with the EU. Scotland will not, polling  suggests, choose to go its own way... but with teenagers voting for the first time and eight months still to go, I wouldn’t lump the Christmas money from Grandma on the result just yet.

Our governing Coalition will stage a phoney war that will eventually descend into actual hostility ahead of next year’s general election. Politicians will again refuse to hold a  grown-up conversation about how to  manage the strains of mass immigration. England’s footballers will travel to a rowdy World Cup in Brazil having succeeded, at last, in lowering national expectations.

On my part, I’m very excited about marrying in June, plan to see more  of friends and family – and to improve i for you. The team here wish you  happiness and good health for the year ahead. (To any new Transylvanian readers: that’s Un An Nou fericit.)


Twitter: @olyduff