If ever there was a year that holds so much promise of change, this is it. A hundred years since the end of the nineteenth century and the start of the 1914 - 1945 war I'm still not sure when exactly the twentieth century ended and the twenty-first began. And if the military lesson they'd failed to learn in 1914 was Omdurman, will ours be the invincibility of the Taliban? Are unmanned drones the future of warfare, assembled in fleets of thousands, piloted from industrial warehouses in the Midlands?
In 1914 of course they had no idea what was coming. Until 1914 land artillery had been a fairly lightweight affair; all the Anglo-Belgian guns at Waterloo, which was practically all of them, could barely fire a weight of broadside equivalent to a single 36-gun frigate, of which the Navy had some 112 (5th & 6th rate). I think the world will see plenty of warfare in 2014, and not only of the irregular kind. Unfortunately IDS' complete cock-up of welfare reform (replacing one top-down centralist system with another just as complex and costly) will fail to free-up any tax money for defence, so the UK will find itself as always undermanned and under-equipped to meet the coming threats.
2014 will be a watershed year for things European. Perhaps we genuine lovers of Europe, we who love Europe's diversity and multiplicity of culture, will wrest the term Europhile from the rancid grasp of those with no love at all for our continent, more correctly termed Euphiles, who would sacrifice the peoples and nations of Europe to the goals of power and homogenised Federast corporatism.
The big corporates are already warning that our trade will suffer if we vote UKIP in May; one presumes they're saying the same thing to every country in Europe set to vote heavily for Eurosceptic parties, which seems to be most of them. For Monsanto, Lafarge, Bayer, Vodafone and all the rest, 2014 may be the year in which the gloves come off, when they openly exercise economic power in defence of a federal Europe, placing them in opposition to Europe's people.
And for our own Parliament I see signs of democratic life. With the burden of a poison dwarf in the Chair, a government corrupt to the core in subservience to Europe and Christopher Kelly's deeply confused and malfunctioning committee, against a background of institutionalised greed and assumed privilege, you may think all is lost. Not so. Backbenchers, particularly from the 2010 intake and above all Select Committees are proving the heroes of 2013. We have seen a parade of the pompous, the mendacious, the wealthy and powerful, the avaricious, the incompetent, the corrupt and the criminally negligent savaged on live TV by a new breed of select committee under elected chairmanships of MPs who choose probity over sycophancy and the promise of government rewards for compliance. Long may they continue.
And 2014 will also be a watershed year for me personally and a time to move on the next phases of this life. However, I've grown so used to penning 400-odd words each dawn as a daily brain-sharpener that this is set to continue; for all those of you who bear with the dross and enjoy the occasional gem, my heartfelt thanks. Your comments - hostile, critical and argumentative as well as supportive or additive - really do make it all worthwhile. May you all enjoy a year of positive and remarkable change.