Vive Le Canada

More of the same, and maybe worse, on the way
Date: Monday, January 02 2006
Topic:


More of the same, and maybe worse, on the way

Eric Waugh
30 December 2005

The mood about 2006, according to one poll, matches the time of year: the dismal fag-end of 2005. January and February lie ahead; and they mean only rain and sleet, cold and wet, bills to tax the car, insure the house and pay for the Christmas splurge.

More than 45% of those polled (on both sides of the Atlantic) expect a collapse of house prices in 2006. Only 30% think the security situation in Iraq will improve. More than half expect the reputation of the US abroad to get worse. But George Bush will summon up his spirits for his state-of-the-union address next month.

The key 2006 marker at Stormont will be whether there will be any advance towards restoring devolved government. Talks with the parties will begin shortly. We will know by March at the latest whether they are leading anywhere.

The Austrians take over the Presidency of the EU next month. The political temperature in Vienna will rise steadily towards November, with elections due. Eighty per cent of Austrians are against Turkey being allowed to join the EU. Will the Austrians use their Presidency in Brussels to put a brake on enlargement?

In February the winter Olympics raise a snow flurry in Turin, helping to keep television outside-broadcast crews usefully occupied in the off-season. In March (postponed for a week so as not to be snuffed out on the small screen by the finals in Turin) the Motion Picture Academy Awards will burst upon Los Angeles.

Meantime, another of those optional sports occasions, the Commonwealth Games, will happen in Melbourne. In either late March or April, Canada, the country in which, reputedly, citizens of every other nation would most like to live, has an election.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/columnists/eric_waugh/story.jsp?story=674191

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