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.)