I resolve to be humble

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold

Related Topics
My New Year's resolution? To take that little bit more credit for things, to be less sheepish about blowing my own trumpet, to give myself credit where credit is due. One of my chief failings is self-effacement; but it is a failing, I might add, for which I am widely praised.

As the old year passes and a brand new year looms into sight, a decent period for taking stock is surely appropriate. How did I fare in 1996? What were my achievements and what, if any, were my lesser achievements? How many countless needy people did I help with unspoken acts of charity? How vital a role did I play as commentator in steering the Government through crisis after crisis, encouraging our leaders always to keep their eyes firmly on the mast. And how - big question, this - can I possibly improve on my performance as sage and benefactor in the year to come?

Any major political and cultural commentator worth his salt will wish to take a long, hard look at his work o'er the year that has passed. Happily, I come out of any such appraisal with flying colours. Looking back at my predictions for 1996, I note with a good deal of healthy satisfaction that I scored 100 per cent. This time last year, I predicted several major world happenings in the year ahead. Sure enough, every single one of them has come to pass. They were:

1995 Prediction: General Colin Powell will secure the Republican nomination and win the presidency. Ex-president Clinton will be destroyed by a personal scandal of major international proportions.

Correct. Though Gen Powell finally decided against taking the nomination - who knows, perhaps he read my article on the tough road that lay before him and had cold feet? - my prediction proved correct in virtually every other respect, particularly if one discards the comparatively minor detail of the sadly ill-advised re-election of President Clinton.

1995 Prediction: The fortunes of the Conservative Party will continue to improve during 1996. Putting all scandals behind them, they will make hefty gains against the rapidly dwindling New Labour, who may well be overtaken in the polls even by the Liberal Democrats.

Correct. Under my old friend and quaffing partner Dr Mawhinney, the Conservatives have gone from strength to strength, sometimes even managing to hold their deposits in vital by-elections. The so-called "scandals" that occurred - Willets, Hamilton, etc - were no more than the exuberant horseplay of the winning team. As I myself have said in the past (one for the quotation books, nota bene!) "there is no surer sign of a healthy government than that it may devise and maintain its own scandals". Meanwhile, the reputation of Not-So-New(!) Labour continues to plummet - witness the stunning blow to their chances delivered by the Spice Girls earlier this month.

Incidentally, whatever happened to decent, honest, sensible old-Labour types like Tony Benn*, for whom I always had a lot of time?

1995 Prediction: The Prince and Princess of Wales will resolve their differences. Together they will forge a new destiny, re-establishing the role of the monarchy at the heart of British life.

Correct. Though their divorce has now become official, at least in public, the Prince and Princess of Wales continue to lead a full and active life together, the intensity of their mutual love spanning a gap of hundreds of miles. I have every hope that they will soon be back together, to guide our nation through the hazards and challenges of a new century.

A remarkable record, surely? And now pray be hushed to allow me to don my fortune-teller's hat for the year ahead:

1. January: Sick and tired of Brussels, Britain breaks free from Europe. The immensely underrated HRH Prince Edward is appointed British Ambassador to the UN.

2. May: John Major romps home to victory in the General Election and appoints Sir Nicholas Scott his new Home Secretary.

3. September: HRH the Queen Mother agrees to play herself in the television series Wallie and Elizabeth, chronicling her at times frosty relationship with the Duchess of Windsor.

4. November: W Arnold appointed to the Order of Merit. Initially refusing honour on grounds of humility, WA eventually accepts after personal intervention of HM the Queen.

* see Wedgie: The Enemy Within, Wallace Arnold, 1981.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Election 2015: Why each party's share of the vote could really matter

Matt Dathan

How the French stay so slim while we British balloon can’t ever be reconciled

Rosie Millard
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'