Predictions for Wales 2019. Part One.

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The Bellwether
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The Bellwether

The Bellwether is a futurist, writer and commentator. He likes sheep but is not one.
The Bellwether
Baaaa!

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Today our new columnist Bellwether makes predictions for The Eye on what readers should expect in 2019 and beyond. 

At this time of the year, most of the Media look back at past events that have occurred and try to analyse their impact. I could also try to do that but would probably forget or miss something and in any case, I am supposed to be a ‘bellwether‘ and predict ‘Future Trends‘ – not analyse the ‘past’. Those that do that are called HISTORIANS’.

According to Wikipedia: The term (Bellwether) derives from the Middle English ‘bellewether’ and refers to the practice of placing a bell around the neck of a castrated ram (wether) leading the flock of sheep. A shepherd could then note the movements of the flock by hearing the bell, even when the flock was not in sight’.

Being Welsh, an association with sheep (by the ‘sais’) is inevitable I suppose, although I haven’t been castrated nor have I ever ‘shagged’ or been tempted to have intercourse with anything ovine wearing a wool coat either, with or without wellington boots, in spite of living in a rural area in close proximity to flocks of er…very nice-looking specimens. Nor am I Armenian.

Now that this disclaimer is out of the way another definition and one that I prefer is: ‘… one that leads or indicates trends; a trendsetter’.

The (warning) bells that seem to be ringing the loudest in Cymru at the moment seem to be as follows:


BREXIT

It goes without elaborating that BREXIT will dominate UK (but not World) politics and possibly some events in 2019. As always, Monty Python gets it right.

Prediction

  • A slightly modified form of Theresa May’s BREXIT plan will be passed by the UK Parliament in January.
  • We will exit the EU in March 2019.
  • The pound will reach dollar parity.
  • EU-funded projects in Wales will start to wind up and shed jobs after panic spending of remaining EU funds.
  • The flight will accelerate of EU nationals from NHS and other services.
  • More very embittered EU-settled Brits will return from Spain, France and other EU countries.

All in all, not much good can be envisaged for the UK and Wales following implementation of ‘The People’s Will’.

Media and Journalism

The number of journalists murdered worldwide in retaliation for their coverage nearly doubled this year, to 34. According to the ‘Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual report, the massacre of five journalists in a shooting rampage in Maryland’s Capital Gazette local newsroom made the U.S. one of the five deadliest countries for journalists. Fortunately, in Cymru no reporter is at risk of being killed or chopped into bits (Khashoggi) in the pursuit of a story. Is this because there are no brave journalists or because there are no dangerous matters to report on in Wales? THIS MAY CHANGE POST BREXIT.

The BBC has been accused of keeping people in the dark about Welsh politics after it emerged that none of the next 14 episodes of Question Time (QT) will be filmed here. All episodes will be filmed in England, apart from one which will be filmed in Scotland. Tinopolis the Welsh media firm that makes QT is based in Llanelli. Do they not have any say? Do they care? Clearly not.

A vote by the Scottish Parliament to reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal was given prominence while the same vote in the Welsh Assembly was essentially ignored by The BBC, according to the Welsh Assembly’s Presiding Officer, Elin Jones.

Nation.Cymru, an online news service for Wales, a website, has been launched and is a welcome new addition to the media landscape.

Predictions

  • The Western Mail will go ‘all digital’. ie only be a website.
  • BBC Radio Wales channels will close.
  • Local and hyper-local news migrates online to websites, facebook and social media. No print.
  • S4C will go.

Tech

VR/AR/MR, genetics/cloning, blockchain, AI, 3D printing, drones and ‘personalised’ medicine will become more common. Someone who has been in a coma since 2000 (or living in Wales) and had just woken up, would be forgiven for thinking they had jumped a hundred years into the future instead of a mere 19.

But then, especially in rural Cymru, this person would actually get up and go out into the ‘real world’ and see that mostly everything else is the same, aside from more traffic on the roads, more people in general, but with the only significant change being that most now carry mobile phones with them wherever they go, devices that are more powerful than any desktop from the 20th century and are connected/networked by WiFi, 3G, 4G to everything and everywhere.

Prediction

  • All people (including old people) will HAVE to be internet-connected in order to function, to work or be included.
  • All local and national government services will be online.
  • Health services (GPs, appointments) all go online.
  • The High Street and ‘out of town’ shopping will all but disappear. Replaced by ‘experiences’ (ie. expensive coffee shops, seasonal pop-ups and food/pub outlets).
  • Huge increase in Internet facilitated fraud, scams, data and privacy misuse.

Welsh Politics

Welsh party politics has been relatively busy in 2018 with change of Leader for all the major and minor parties. However, all new ‘leaders’ are nonentities as far as name recognition or impact is concerned amongst the general public. It also seemed to take incredibly time-consuming and long-winded processes to elect the leaders of both Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour.

There has been the launch of Ein Gwlad the ‘syncretist’ party – an unfortunate label since most people don’t know what it means or stands for – enhanced cretinism? It has had zero impact on a younger generation.

Infighting amongst the politicians has been seen, as imperfectly illustrated by Monty Python’s People’s Front of Judea sketch.

Prediction

  • There will be no General Election in 2019.
  • Labour will continue to dominate the Welsh Assembly but fade considerably in popular vote.
  • Conservatives will increase vote share considerably but keep a very low profile in Wales to avoid negative fall out from BREXIT.
  • Plaid Cymru will change from a very minor political party to a MOVEMENT dominated by Yes Cymru.
  • Ein Gwlad and other minor sects will fizzle out through lack of money, media exposure and public interest.
  • UKIP will disappear.

Quote of the year: ‘Think of how stupid the average person is, and realise half of them are stupider than that.’ George Carlin 1938 – 2008


In Part 2 next week, I will write about what could possibly happen worldwide in 2019. Trump, recession, EU and more. Please feel free to make your own predictions or comments below.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

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