2020 might go down in history as the least predictable year ever. On January 1st last year Boris was doing two big thumbs up to Twitter and telling us it would be a great year for Britain. Fast forward twelve months and we are in the midst of a public health crisis, a worse economic recession than 2008, and not only is freedom of movement to the EU over, but so is freedom of movement outside your doorstep. Some things really do come out of the blue, and a pandemic, it turns out, is one of them.
With that in mind, we thought why not try to achieve the impossible and host a virtual event about what will happen in 2021. And believe it or not, we managed to find 4 people willing to join us on this fool’s errand. Huge thanks to Marie Le Conte , James Ashton, Jasmine Whitbread and Phil Collins, for joining us and throwing caution to the wind in ‘Field View: What To Expect from 2021’ on Wednesday.
While we were desperate not just to spend 90 minutes discussing politics, politics still seemed like a reasonable place to start, and so we asked our panel how they felt about the rumours that Boris is soon for the chop.
The short answer was: nonsense. Recent chitter chatter about Boris’ heart not being in it is actually being too charitable to him, according to Phil Collins, who said that we “should not let Johnson off the hook by suggesting he is struggling for any other reason than his lack of capability.” Boris, if you’re listening, please apply ice to that burn.
On the topic of business, the discussion was positive, almost disconcertingly so, after a year of becoming accustomed to doom and gloom. Jasmine reckons business will bounce back, Marie reckons we’ll be in the cinema soon, and James reckons consumers will dine out and book trips the moment we are allowed. Of course the pandemic will have spooked some people into being less active, but the belief is that this will be offset by everyone else whose cooped up energy will translate into a year of spending and socialising.
Finally, it was time for culture. What has changed? What do we miss? What might we cling on to? The ‘staycation’ was a hot topic of debate, but ultimately the panel believed people will end up going to France in August again if we’re allowed. Some quick-fire predictions split the panel down the middle. On the question of who will get divorced first – Donald and Melania or Kim and Kanye, it was a two-two tie, with Phil and Marie voting for Kim and Kanye, and Jasmine and James for Donald and Melania. We look forward to finding out who was right, and frankly, if that turns out to be the biggest issue in 2021, we will be doing a lot better than last year.
Throughout the event we were also polling our audience on their predictions and results showed consensus in some areas but division in others. On politics, the vast majority believe Boris will still be in power as we enter 2022. On office working, there was a 58-42 split in favour of going back to work as it was before. A majority, but not a large one, and a sign that our office culture may be changing for good. And on the hobby we have missed the most, going abroad was the winner. Pubs, theatre and live sport all polled well, but nothing, it turns out, can beat leaving this small island…
Thanks to everyone who tuned in. It is fun to get together and hopefully the optimism of our panel will become reality soon, and 2021 will be a better year for everyone.