For the anoraks among us, here is some sad news. British politics in 2012 will be pretty unexciting.
In recent years we have watched a rolling political soap opera, with enough gripping plotlines to sate the inner geek in all of us. The TB-GBs, with its daily diet of lurid headlines, followed by the extended car crash of the Brown administration. The formation of the coalition, with its teething problems and grumpy briefing and counter-briefing. The internecine rivalry of Ed and David. Even, most recently, the Tory inner turmoil of Dave defending/undermining Britain’s global role in Brussels (delete as per your own pre-defined political prejudice).
But now, in 2012, all is likely to be quiet. Of course, the continuing slowdown of the economy will lead to a few political ding-dongs, but these will largely be a rehash of old arguments (Osborne’s savage ideological Tory cuts vs Balls’ unsustainable deficit denial). Pundits will occasionally shake the tree of Miliband’s leadership, but the lethargy of the Labour Party should lead to an unhappy status quo. Even Europe may have been put on the back burner, as a big-P political issue, by Dave’s leadership/capitulation in Brussels. And the intra-coalition whining of lefty Lib Dem cabinet ministers and braying Tory right wingers will just become more tedious, and less significant with every Vince-inspired leak and clumsy ministerial resignation. (As my colleague Mark Pack pointed out yesterday, the chances of a general election this year are miniscule at best).
In the meantime, we’ll have a hugely uninspiring London Mayoral election, the result of which is pretty much a foregone conclusion. The perpetually depressing, horrifically complex Euro crisis will roll on, although it will have a surprisingly small impact on day-to-day UK politics. The ubiquity of the Olympics and Queen’s Jubilee will remind us that there is life beyond Westminster. And those of us who have spent the last few years greedily snaffling a diet of political geekery may find ourselves switching off Newsnight and going to bed. Or turning over to CNN, where the ability of the American political system to provide excitement and drama in the unlikeliest of places – just eight votes, ladies and gentlemen – will still provide electoral methadone to political junkies everywhere. God bless America.