Complete Crystal Balls...


Am I making no forecasts for 2017? Last year due to a mad rush of alcohol to the brain I made a series of predictions for 2016. Had I predicted that Leicester City would win the Premier League in the UK (5, 000-1), Brexit (3-1) and President Trump (75-1), a modest US $100 bet would have won me more than enough money to stop this malarkey and live a life of contented idleness! I got just about everything wrong except Fox buying BSkyB. So I think this year I will give it a miss. The concept there is a predestined rhyme or reason to our life and the Universe, rather than everything that happens is random, is just human hope conquering logic. Staring at tea leaves, examining the creases on your hand or the choice of picture cards chosen randomly from a Tarot Deck seems a pretty haphazard way of finding out if the person you slept with at the office party still respects you or if you will pick out the right lotto numbers. It's the directly opposing views of thinking we have free will, yet wanting to know things are pre-ordained (and therefore prove we don't) that makes our obsession with knowing the future so conflicted.

...and another thing

What use would it be if you could see the future? You’d know when and how you were going to slip off the mortal coil, that your spouse did actually shag the nanny/post man and you are never going to be rich.

I suspect, if not the suicide rate, then the murder rate would shoot up (check beforehand re death penalty).

If you believe in a God, maybe He has pre-ordained the future but so far He has kept those cards very close to His chest!

There is zero evidence anyone has predicted the future, as opposed to making a good guess. Famous oracles in ancient times included the High Priestess at the oracle in Delphi. She was called the Pythia. (Maybe she had a lisp and she was just taking the pyth)?

In fact like a lot of us who babble nonsense, the Pythia was actually stoned off her t*ts on herbal hallucinogens. She must have laughed her head off. Still, even though her own salary was poor, the perks at being boss of a very rich temple were humungous. I predict great parties.


She was a genius at the ambiguous interpretation. The Athenians were about to be invaded by the Persian Army and scrabbled up nearby Mount Parnassus to the temple for a consultation (cash only, no credit cards). The Pythia told them:

“Have faith in Wooden Walls.”

That was about as helpful as chopsticks and a bowl of soup. Did she mean Wooden Walls as in city defense ramparts or ships? After slaughtering a few goats and examining the entrails of a battalion of chickens for back-up, the head honcho for the Greeks, Themistocles plumped for boats and promptly gave Johnny Foreigner a thrashing at the sea battle Salamis.

Chalked up as a huge success to the prediction business of the Delphic Oracle.

King Croesus (as in rich as Croesus) decided he wanted a crack at the Persians and asked for a prediction.

“If you cross the river, a great empire will be destroyed.”

It was. Croesus’ own. The Persians annihilated him!

Believers in the prediction business often quote the writings of 16th Century French Philosopher Nostradamus.

“He predicted 9/11….he foresaw Hitler….the Challenger disaster…. the Russian Revolution,” they all cry.

For all I know Nostradamus predicted I would punch Ernest Pettigrew on the nose whilst at Kindergarten. The trouble is everyone is wise after the event and just ‘interpret’ what he wrote to shoehorn into facts. If it’s so clear he actually predicated all this why did no one act on it before it happened?

Game set and match to the realists!

...and another thing

Despite the cold shower of reality, I like everyone else love the idea someone can read my future. It’s an indulgence. Human nature’s optimism leaves a crack open in our subconscious that maybe, just maybe, something that Gypsy Rose or the Dragon Lady predicts, will come true.

I remember being told by former The Sun newspaper editor Kelvin Mackenzie that he dismissed the horoscope columnist with the immortal lines:

“You’re fired… But of course you already knew that”!

Happy 2017!

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  1. Peter says:

    You certainly got Putins strategy in Syria and beyond right ….. I well remember discussing it with you. I did not get Leicester City right nor Trump but I had Brexit spot on. There is a sandwich shack on the A3 and the owner had been taking a straw poll. He had 112 don’t knows – 172 remain and 340 leavers. That was good enough for me !!

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