Predictions for 2010

Frank McKenna
The start of a New Year is always a good time to gaze into the crystal ball and predict what the next 12 months has in store.

Politically we know that there will be a general election. Despite recent rumours to the contrary, May is still the most likely election date with Gordon Brown hoping for continuing signs of economic ‘green shoots’ as the months tick by.

Although there has been an upturn in Labour support according to recent polls, the Tories are still on course for victory, albeit with a smaller majority than many anticipated. Expect David Cameron to form a government with around 40 seats in hand.

This will mean a new leader for the Labour Party and David Milliband will be crowned as the official leader of the opposition at its conference in September.

No sooner will we have recovered from the ‘excitement’ of what will have been the longest election campaign in UK history (it started the day after Brown was elevated from Chancellor to Prime Minister two years ago) than the greatest sporting tournament on earth will be underway.

England go to the World Cup finals in South Africa with a relatively easy group to negotiate and Fabio Capello will lead his side to the last four, before watching his charges miss out on a place in the final as some overpaid Premiership muppet misses a spot kick in the inevitable penalty shoot-out.

Domestically, Burnley will defy all the odds by retaining their place in the Premiership; Blackburn will do likewise by getting to Wembley in the League Cup; and PNE will get to the Championship play-offs for the 99th time – but this time win promotion! Back to business, and 2010 will be a big year for the recently appointed chief executive of Preston Vision, Eliot Ward, as he sets out a business plan that must transform the town into a city. Downtown Preston and its partners will be contributing to that particular agenda through our ‘City Thinking’ campaign.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Northwest Development Agency, Steven Broomhead, and Business Link boss Peter Watson, will remain at the forefront of economic and business support across the region as we slowly move out of recession.

These two individuals deserve enormous credit for the way they have led their respective organisations during the economic downturn.

This edition’s big interviewee Steve Jackson and his Recycling Lives initiative will continue to make the news for all the right reasons; and look out for a Preston-based energy company GB Energy and its MD Luke Watson who will be doing some great things this year.

Other eye catching happenings during 2010 include: X Factor stars Jedward replacing Sir Alan Sugar as ‘Enterprise Czar’; Katie Price and Peter Andre presenting to Downtown’s Business Week on ‘how to fool the media all of the time’; and Preston City Council announcing an extension, rather than the demolition, of its huge carbuncle of a bus station.

Have a great 2010. Let’s hope it’s a good one.

Frank McKenna is the founder and chairman of Downtown in Business.