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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 12:55 GMT
Predictions for 2007
Crystal ball

What do the coming 12 months hold? The Magazine asks a diverse panel of experts - in fields from fashion to the military - to give us a prediction for 2007. At the bottom of the page, vote for the one most likely to happen and give us a prediction of your own.

A ROYAL ENGAGEMENT

Zara
No ring on that hand, but what about the other?
The gossip columns may be humming with speculation about a Prince William-Kate Middleton engagement, but Richard Fitzwilliams, royal watcher and former editor of International Who's Who, thinks if nuptials are announced in 2007 the more likely contenders will be William's cousin, Zara Phillips, and her long-term boyfriend Mike Tindall.

"It seems possible because I get the impression they are particularly close; I think I'm right in saying they're living together," says Mr Fitzwilliams.

It would not be the first engagement for the Princess Royal's daughter, who had committed to marry former boyfriend, jockey Richard Johnson, during their sometimes stormy five-year relationship. But Mr Fitzwilliams feels the time could now be right for the eventing champion who amassed an MBE and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award last month.

"With the Olympics coming up, she would surely benefit from the support of an engagement to marry."

BROWN TO BRING LABOUR POLL RELIEF

Gordon Brown
Brown's a near cert for leader, and his 'foibles' will become assets
The biggest political story of 2007 is already in the bag, after the Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged to step down from the top job within the coming 12 months. And Gordon Brown's accession to Number 10 is almost unquestioned.

But after a torrent of negative press in 2006, one might wonder whether Gordon Brown can really lift Labour out of the doldrums. Seasoned political analyst Anthony Howard believes he can and that by the end of 2007 Labour will be back on level pegging in the polls with the resurgent Conservatives. On the findings of a Guardian/ICM poll conducted just before Christmas, it has much ground to make up. The poll found the Tories leading Labour by eight percentage points.

"[Mr Brown] will get a preliminary bounce from the public out of being prime minister. Aspects that are currently seen as his liabilities - his toughness and surliness - I think his people will try to make a virtue out of them and the challenge to Cameron will be 'where's the beef'."

WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD

Hot
The warmest year on record was 1998 - is that about to change?
While temperatures are rising, it's been some time since the record was set for the warmest year on record, which was 1998, says Dr David Viner of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. Then, the El Nino effect on the southern hemisphere was believed to have pushed temperatures that bit higher than the underlying rise.

Eight years later, the climatic phenomenon that is El Nino is brewing again and Mr Viner believes it will make for a new hottest year on record.

"El Nino works on a quasi cycle, coming every five to eight years or so. The last big one was 1998 and it's been developing in the past few months in the southern hemisphere. It'll add the crucial few tenths of a degree Celsius to push the average global temperature to the highest it's ever been."

AFGHANISTAN TO BE NEW NORTHERN IRELAND

Troops
Afghanistan will replace Northern Ireland as a long-term military commitment
All eyes are on Iraq and Afghanistan, but military observer Peter Caddick-Adams is looking closer to home for the most drastic change in events - Northern Ireland. There are about 15,000 UK troops stationed there, but most will be given notice to leave by the end of 2007, he thinks.

The effect will be to release a huge number of soldiers for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it's the latter that Caddick-Adams thinks will increasingly become the primary focus of the British forces, to the extent that it will replace Northern Ireland as Britain's main long-term military commitment.

"That won't be said, as such. No general would say it without the backing of a politician. But between Iraq and Afghanistan, Afghanistan is the more winnable option. You're not so much fighting an ideology as a tribal habit," says Caddick-Adams.

"Northern Ireland has exacerbated the recent overstretch - after nearly 40 years of involvement there, it's become home to permanent garrisons, barracks, headquarters and the like. But Sinn Fein's move at Christmas to accommodate the new Police Service of Northern Ireland signals a long-term peaceful outlook."

DEATH-KNELL FOR DENIM

Denim
Denim on the decline, but can you see these guys in tunics and thick tights?
Jeans, in their seemingly endless incarnations - bootcut, hipster, wide-legged, high-waisted - have been THE High Street fashion success story of recent years. But that's about to end, says Hadley Freeman, fashion writer on the Guardian.

"A combination of customer fatigue, overexposure (not least by the Wags in Baden Baden last summer, with their seemingly requisite wardrobe of bootcut or skinny jeans) and, frankly, a lack of any new denim styles left, means jeans, while still a wardrobe basic, won't generate anywhere near the excitement that they have for the past half decade," says Freeman.

"At the end of 2006 you could already see customers and retailers experimenting with alternatives, from leggings to shorts over cashmere tights."

So, Freeman's tip for 2007: tunic dresses with thick tights, "a look that is comfortable, flattering and can be worn to work or out in the evening".

BYE-BYE BROOKSIDE HOMES

VOTE RESULTS
Which prediction is MOST LIKELY to come true in 2007?
Phillips-Tindall nuptials
 19.24% 
Brown to revive Labour
 12.38% 
Warmest year on record
 46.67% 
British troops out of NI
 13.05% 
Tunics to replace denim
 3.39% 
End to mock Tudor homes
 5.28% 
9970 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
The huge demand for new housing in the past 20 years has led to what Jay Merrick, architecture critic for the Independent, unflatteringly calls "drab, Tudor-beathan clone estates". Cast your mind back to the now defunct Channel 4 soap Brookside, for an idea of the homes he talking about.

For years aesthetes and high-minded architects have railed against this broadly generic style, but to no avail. Merrick though, thinks 2007, will signal the end of the Tudor-beathan trend. Why? As fresh, open plots of land become harder and harder to secure for new housing, developers are being forced to look to so-called brownfield sites, where space is more limited.

Put simply, "generic homes don't fit into such tight awkward spaces and so developers are having to think more creatively". That has opened the way recently for up-and-coming architects to flex their creativity and the coming 12 months will see the big developers coming round to their ideas. In the past such schemes have been seen as too expensive for the mass market, but young architects have proved they are willing to work on them for esteem rather than money.

"There's a hunger for more thoughtful and creative solutions," says Merrick.


Do you have a prediction for 2007? Record it here by filling in the form below, and in 12 months, you can prove to the world that you were right.

New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup
James Battersby, Manchester

unfortunatly, my predition is a gloomy one, but think that before the end of the year some kind of skirmish or "police action" will have taken place between IRAN and ISRAEL which will have far reaching effects well into the decade and beyond.
Adam Dryer, Welwyn Garden City

I predict that 2007 will herald a long overdue 'reality' TV backlash. The likes of I'm A Celebrity... and Big Brother will see their audiences diminish to negligible and the advertisers will flee, leaving nought but sparkling clouds of dust.
Graham Woods, Birmingham, UK

About half of the celebrity magazines on the market will cease production after it becomes evident that people aren't interested in the lastest soap stars weight loss or yet another of Jade Goodys boyfriend. Instead, home maker magazines will lead the trend and women will be more intrested in learning how to make a double belgian chocolate with peacan nuts fondant or how to make their own cushions.And will then trot down to the nearest M&S and purchase them instead, as it's 2007 not 1967!!!
Claire, Gateshead

Gordon Brown will not be the next Labour leader...and will stand aside in order to devote more time to his young family.
Don, Chelmsford

3 Artists set to light up the music world in 2007: Mika - The new Lily Allen. Lebanese born one man show that gives all the warmth and panache of the Scissor Sisters. Late of the Pier - 5 lads from Nottingham who have to be heard to be believed. Think Killers, Queen, Daft Punk and you'll be on the right lines! Cajun Dance Party - Still not old enough to drink yet their lead singer exudes more presence than The Kooks lead singer; their guitarist is the Slash of their generation. Amazing.
Firas, London

Watch out for The KBC. Their album On The Beat is out March 19th. They will be a band to watch in 2007!
Steve Taylor, Manchester

Debt Levels at highest levels ever as rate hikes take effect - Huge downturn on high street as less spare cash available.
Jonathan Powell, Birchington, Kent

the beatles to have a no.1 single (downloads of all tracks now counting towards the chart - rather than just new releases.)
robert moore, belfast

I think Girls Aloud will split
Missus D, Castleford

The interest rate will rise by another .25 per cent - and the effects of all that post-Christmas spending and sky-high mortgages will come home to roost. Personal bankruptcies will escalate and house prices will fall.
Jill, East Yorkshire

The global debt bubble will burst, lead by a housing market crash. The stampede will be out of equities into gold, which will soar way above the $1,000 per ounce level. Other safe havens will be currently low cost real estate in South America.
Bob Wallum, Selkirk

I predict that Manchester United will sweep away all critics and win three cups again!
Norman Reid, Oxford, Oxfordshire

Gordon Brown's tenure as PM will be in serious trouble early on. The Brown camp will not be able to contain their desire for revenge on Blairites that opposed his succession. Although the Labour party is not torn apart, the public damage is huge as Blairites defend their corner.
David Price, Carlisle

Blair will not step down in 2007.
Peter Howells, Oxford

In Politics Blair will leave sooner then he hoped and before the local elections after the cash for peers row doesn't fully clear him of wrong doing,
Phil Hutty, Callington, Cornwall, England

At least one country on the major world political scene will ban religion outright.
Jamie Stapleton, Worthing, UK

With Bulgaria and Romania coming into the EU, I think there will be a surge of interest in travel to these countries by Western Europeans - for holidays, second homes and possibly permanent relocation for those who have the means.
Mari Shackell, Whitstable UK

Big Earthquake will hit Los Angeles - September.
kevin cockerill, Ipswich

My prediction is a simple one - that most of the bands predicted by the pundits to be big in 2007 will be big - because the pundit lists tend to be self-fulfilling! There will be a shortage of skilled technical staff, prompting treble inflation wage hikes. For some specialists, salaries may climb more than 20% (e.g. high voltage electricity cable jointers).
Spyster, London

The begining of the house price crash in the latter part of the year
Paul Harris , Kent UK

I predict...drumroll please...that at the end of 2007 i will be bored out of my mind studying for my GCSE's
Eddie, Leicester, England

The Third World War will begin. It will start with a Nuclear terrorist stike in one of the Islamic countries that are supporting the "War Against Terror" but instead of taking credibility the terrorist group responsible will create propaganda stating it was Israel.
Kevin, UK

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