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DOMINIC LAWSON: My irreverent predictions for 2023 (and oh, how I’d love some to come true!)

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Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president and dutiful crony of Vladimir Putin, has been having some fun with predictions for the coming year.

Last week, he issued a series of them, in English, on Twitter, gaining no fewer than 38 million views.

The man who is now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council introduced them by saying that, as people liked to make forecasts at this time of the year — ‘even the most absurd ones’ — he offered what he called his ‘humble contribution’.

These included: ‘War will break out between France and the Fourth Reich, Europe will be divided, Poland repartitioned in the process’, and ‘Civil war will break out in the U.S., California and Texas becoming independent states as a result. Texas and Mexico will form an allied state. Elon Musk‘ll win the presidential election in a number of states.’

Dominic Lawson has revealed his irreverent predictions for the year ahead

Dominic Lawson has revealed his irreverent predictions for the year ahead 

'In a freak accident, President Putin is killed when a huge table collapses on him,' Dominic Lawson writes as one of his irreverent predictions for 2023

October: In a freak accident, President Putin is killed when a huge table collapses on him

It ended, balefully: ‘Seasons greetings to you, Anglo-Saxon friends, and their happily oinking piglets.’

In the real world, the only country starting wars in Europe is Russia, but this did not stop the new owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, perhaps flattered by the mention, speedily replying to Medvedev: ‘Epic thread!!’

Although the next day, perhaps after he had been spoken to by some grown-ups, Musk added: ‘Those are definitely the most absurd predictions I’ve ever heard.’

Well, that was rather the point. And it has encouraged me to offer my own contribution — in similar satirical spirit, minus the Russian bloodthirstiness.

Harry and Meghan release a Netflix documentary complaining that the residents of California haven’t been welcoming enough, said Dominic Lawson

January: Harry and Meghan release a Netflix documentary complaining that the residents of California haven’t been welcoming enough. They describe Oprah as ‘cold, haughty and patronising’.

February: The RMT leader, Mick Lynch, has a fall while on a picket line, but ambulance workers are on strike that day, so he has to wait 24 hours until they can take him to A&E.

March: The Bluebell Railway wins all the franchises to run the UK’s train services.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) leader, Mick Lynch

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) leader, Mick Lynch

April: The former chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, starts a website offering investment tips and advice. It is a huge success: millions subscribe so they can know what shares and other financial products they should definitely avoid.

May: Amazon is bought by Elon Musk. He sacks all the staff and says the company will no longer be delivering products to people’s homes.

June: A bitter conflict breaks out between rival climate-change protest groups, leading to Extinction Rebellion gluing themselves to Insulate Britain.

Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk

Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk

July: David Beckham writes to Sir Hugh Robertson, chairman of the sports honours committee, claiming that by going down on one knee before each game, the English footballers are hinting that they’d like a knighthood. Beckham complains that he’s been asking for one for much longer.

August: President Joe Biden says he won’t stand for re-election — he wants to make space for someone with more vitality. The former president, Jimmy Carter, age 98, secures the Democrat nomination.

British football legend David Beckham

British football legend David Beckham

September: Michelle Mone appoints Donald Trump her personal tax consultant: the bra-selling multi-millionairess and Tory peer says she needs all the support she can get.

October: In a freak accident, President Putin is killed when a huge table collapses on him.

November: Liz Truss wins I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here!, spending longer in the jungle than she did in 10 Downing Street. Emulating Matt Hancock, Prince Andrew is the runner-up: he is promoting his own memoir, Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff. 

December: The Royal Mail has been on strike for 365 days, but no one notices.

And now, 10 phrases I’d like to banish for good this year

Here, for fellow pedants everywhere, is my list of words and phrases that were rife in 2022 and which it would be wonderful to hear less of in 2023.

  1. ‘Incredibly’. I wrote here in 2019 about this word’s ubiquity, but no one has done anything about it. Government spokesmen seem most affected by this verbal tic. Last week, a story in the Times quoted one who declared both that the Prime Minister was ‘incredibly grateful for those people [in the military] during those strike days’ and that it was ‘incredibly disappointing’ that the RMT was continuing strikes. Whatever happened to ‘very’?
  2. ‘I am humbled’. Most often used by people when awarded public honours which they have long regarded as their due. ‘I am proud’ would be more honest.
  3. ‘Please reply to the invite by . . . ’ Invite is a verb. The noun is ‘invitation’.
  4. ‘Pre-planned’. Worse: ‘pre-prepared’. You can’t plan something after the event. Pre-prepared should be acceptable only from people with stutters. And certainly not in a document from the Crown Prosecution Service, which referred to defendants’ ‘pre-prepared statements’.
  5. ‘Storied’. This is one of those words which no one uses in normal speech, but which broadcasters and some newspapers have been perpetrating. I have even seen ‘storied history’. It is an American term for ‘famous’. Neither word is of use.
  6. ‘Anytime soon’. Another American import. Just ‘soon’ does the trick. 
  7. ‘Simples’. This monstrosity comes from an advertising campaign starring a Russian meerkat. That campaign had been suspended, in the wake of the Russian war on Ukraine. The word itself should now become subject to sanction.
  8. ‘Unbeknownst’. Unknown is the word. ‘Unbeknownst’ tries to sound like something out of the works of Shakespeare or the original King James version of the Bible. But it appears in neither.
  9. ‘Methinks’. This archaism always precedes a statement of blinding obviousness and unoriginality, designed to make it sound more profound.
  10. ‘End of’. This year, let’s see an end to that, too.

Source: Daily Mail UK

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