Something to Say with Keith Newbery: 2012... potential for catastrophe ahead

I’M a firm believer in instinct – and mine tells me 2012 is going to be a year likely to be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

I have an overpowering sense of foreboding every time the next 12 months is mentioned - and it is nothing to do with all the ‘end is nigh’ Mayan calendar claptrap.

You don’t need the wild-eyed witterings of ancient shamans to realise the coming year offers up plenty of potential for catastrophe on so many levels.

The more I hear David Cameron rhapsodizing about the optimism he believes should be generated by the Olympic Games and the Queen’s diamond jubilee, the more I hear a man shouting anxiously in the dark.

He’s making a noise in order to hide his own misgivings – which is part of his job description I suppose.

But he knows as well as we do that five simple words are going to keep him twisting and sweating in the deep reaches of the night for weeks to come.

They are (in no particular order) Iran, the Eurozone, industrial unrest, unemployment and recession.

And just when we thought things couldn’t get much worse, along comes news of a possible threat posed by a super-volcano which lies beneath a lake near Bonn in Germany and is said to erupt every 12,000 years.

The last time it belched forth was almost 13,000 years ago and a few small earth tremors in the region are thought to be a sign nature is once again becoming fretful.

But we need not concern ourselves about the vagaries of nature – there’s nothing we can do about them after all.

The problems with the euro are also beyond our control, even though its collapse will have a calamitous effect on our economy.

However, the coalition could do something about unemployment, strikes and a possible recession – but is convinced its austerity policy is the best way to steer us out of the financial morass in which we find ourselves.

So this just leaves Iran.

This bellicose and turbulent land poses the gravest threat to world peace for generations.

I cannot see any way in which Israel will not make a pre-emptive strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities within the next 12 months – and then anything could happen.

IT WAS one of those headlines which made you do a double-take at the calendar.

‘Labour turns on BBC over “pro-coalition coverage”’ it trumpeted. Surely, it had to be April 1?

But no, this was a genuine complaint from a party which has enjoyed sympathetic (bordering on sycophantic) coverage from the Corporation’s left-leaning newsrooms for the past 15 years.

Apparently, party officials have been indulging in a bit of clock-watching and reached the conclusion that the Alliance representatives get twice as much air-time as their opposition counterparts.

What is impossible to quantify, however, is the amount of blatant left-wing spin applied to so many important news stories emanating from the BBC. That is altogether a more sinister and invidious practice.