Predictions for 2014

  1. Remember those people who used to say, “But what is a blog…?” Well this year you are going to be hearing them say, “But what is a mooc…?”
  2. Gay men are going to start shaving again. Now that so many straight men have bought into the idea that beards are hip, it is time to mess with their fashion sense again. Consider this the memo. (Next year, the end of tattoos!)
  3. Church of Scotland General Assembly will be unable to affirm last year’s compromise on a local option for ministers who happen to be gay.
  4. More revelations relating to Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien.
  5. Number of active bloggers decreases. Influence of those still blogging increases.
  6. The real purpose of the Pilling Report will be revealed with hindsight as evangelicals begin to argue about its contents. (May take a couple of years, but trust me on this one). Initially this will be in private – increasingly in public. Having been the great unifying factor for Evangelicals for the last 10 years, attitudes to gay people will become the source of greatest disunity amongst Evangelicals for the next decade. Unappealing and unsatisfying as it is, Pilling is a watershed – it was never designed to court liberal opinion so we might as well stop moaning about it. It was designed to divide evangelical opinion and is going to be jolly successful.
  7. The Independence Referendum will be lost here in Scotland but alas, not by enough to shut everyone up.
  8. Such terrible statistics in the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway that we lose at least 4 seats on General Synod.
  9. Lord Carey will say that Christians are being persecuted in the UK, that the church is dying out or that the sky is going to fall in, and will say it at the most unhelpful time possible – probably around one of the English General Synods or Easter.
  10. We will hear about our first UK gay divorce.

Trends to watch

  • Continued meltdown of the Church of Scotland. Ceasing to be a national church before our very eyes.
  • Internet increasingly rewards those who know how to manipulate images.
  • Economic polarization of the UK continues.


  1. Rosemary Hannah says

    I am struggling with nine – I mean, Lord Carey, being unhelpful, oh no, beyond imagination …. 😉

  2. In what way is 9. a ‘prediction’. Next it’ll be ‘mystic sage thurible predicts continued arising of the sun’. Also tricky to imagine that there’s much more dirty washing in O’Brien’s washing basket unless he also has a wife and three children. 6, interesting. 7, I am merely a passing English person who has to read Scottish government press releases for work, but on this basis I can’t for the life of me think why you wouldn’t want to separate yourselves from England – just about everything is better – whether it’s some interest and care for soil fertility and the land, an enlightened approach to the arts or a First Minister actually prepared to turn up at a Food Bank. If it wasn’t a bit chilly up there, Id be taking Gaelic lessons now.

  3. 9 – might just have had a touch of sarcasm about it.
    4 – there *is* more dirty linen to be washed
    6 – surprised other people haven’t seen how clever Pilling was
    7 – I don’t think so. We neither speak Gaelic here nor want separation. It might be suggested that reading SNP press releases might not actually be the most balanced way to grasp what is happening in Scotland. #bettertogether

    • 4 – crumbs, and probably ‘oh dear’
      6 – When the Faith and Order commission’s last gutless report on marriage came out, we still weren’t short of people (Giles Fraser among others) who thought there was all a secret coded message in their somewhere that was altogether more positive. Pilling seems to me like another not-very-brave dog’s breakfast where you can see pretty much anything you like, if you squint. That doesn’t mean to say that nothing positive will come of it, in the sense that whatever he’d written, the C of E is going to be overtaken by events – and the sheer statistics of the whole of their youth turning against them. And the Evangelicals are quietly fracturing down exactly the same generational fault line too. But I’m not seeing the artful contrivance in Pilling that you clearly are….
      7. Here, my tongue was a bit in my cheek too. But I do read UK government press releases too, and honestly, if I was immigrating, I’d totally head for Scotland.

  4. robert says

    It seems (to me!) that Carey is now filling the same place that David Jenkins took when Carey was ABC and is sought out by journalists at Christmas/Easter wanting something to write about.

  5. Zebadee says

    [7] Yes Yes Yes– in my all too humble opinion Scotland is the best part of the UK live in. This opinion has not changed over many many years.

  6. 7. I want to throw the baby out, but having once sung in a Gaelic choir (phonetic renderings of words) have no desire – nay, no need, even in Argyll – to learn Gaelic. Just saying.

  7. Craig Nelson says

    I agree Pilling is not meant for us but it is a mechanism that allows for the smallest change possible. If that change doesn’t happen, none will, if it does then eventually the change will perforce continue. It’s a kind of fulcrum around which change will/can happen.

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