Looking Ahead to 2014

I’m not going to lie, this one was tricky. We’ve come to the end of the year and there are so many topics to cover – highlights of 2013, the list-cult, holidays, and commercialisation, not to mention the devastating incident in Clutha Vaults.

As you’ll find, Christmas has actually been covered quite extensively in Features and I’m not that big of a fan of dwelling on the past, so, after much careful consideration and taking into account that the next Telegraph won’t be with you until long after the holiday season is over, let’s look at something more lasting instead: what next year has to offer.

2013, has, in many ways, been kind of a transition year. 2012 was highly eventful, with the Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics, the U.S Presidential Elections, Eurozone crisis, Curiosity landing and of course, the ‘end of the world’ anticipation. This year has given us a much-needed breather and has, in large parts, been a build-up to 2014.

Enjoy the calm while you can, and strap your seatbelts, 2014 is going to be colossal.

The centenary of the start of the First World War is definitely something that you’ll not be able to miss, even if your choice of residence is defined as ‘under a rock’. The inception of the war that became a turning point in history and shook the entire world in its scope, length and devastation, will be commemorated globally. In Britain, the Imperial War Museum is creating an interactive platform entitled Lives of the First World War, to create a ‘digital memorial’ – a single, vast database of letters, photos, documents and stories from more than 8 million men across the Commonwealth that saved their WW1 reminiscences – to help people understand how the global conflict has shaped the world we live in today.

It is then, quite fitting that this milestone will also coincide with the end of another military conflict: 2014 will also be the year (well, at least according to the official plan, fingers crossed) NATO (a.k.a mainly the UK and the US) finally withdraw their troops from Afghanistan, marking the end of the 13-year military scuffle, which saw the death of tens of thousands of militants and civilians. They’re still planning to leave counterterrorism forces scattered across the country, and provide troops to help the Afghans with their own military training, but at least the combat forces will be gone, and hopefully, a more peaceful period will start for the locals. They’re also pumping $16 million into the country in aid, ‘carefully’ to avoid corrupt bodies getting their hands on it. Forgive me, if I remain a bit sceptical, but still – there is a good chance that the nation can finally embark on the journey to rebuild itself.

In terms of connecting nations, there is none equal to international sports events, most prominently, the unifying force that is FIFA World Cup, a five-yearly occurrence. The 20th World Cup will be held in Brazil for the second time, will go ahead under the slogan “All in one rhythm”: the rhythm of unity and diversity, the rhythm of innovation, the rhythm of nature, the rhythm of football and the rhythm of Brazilian culture. I’m not usually one to follow sports, but even I wouldn’t miss the World Cup. It’s going to be a full calendar from June 12 to July 13.

Another major accolade to look forward to in 2014 is the Sochi Winter Olympics. After much controversy surrounding Russia’s reluctance to comply to basic civil rights standards in relation LGBT rights, causing public letters, protests, and calls to boycott, it’s not even certain how many will be there to compete – much like the 1980 Moscow Olympics, spurned by the West in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (which may have received too much attention in this article) – or how many protests the event will give birth to. One thing’s certain: there will be snow and there will be spectacle. And, if 1980 is any indicator, souvenirs will still be at a plenty in Russian and Eastern European flea markets more than 30 years later.

There is one more 20th event to look forward to in sports this year, definitely closer to home: the Commonwealth Games, commonly referred to in this corner of the UK as ‘Glasgow 2014’.  It doesn’t even matter whether you managed to grab hold of tickets for any events or not (and I applaud the organisers for trying to make the distribution as fair and just as possible!), Glasgow will be just a bit busier and brighter thanks to this major happening next year. What’s even better, this has created a plethora of new jobs and volunteering opportunities, always in high demand. Expect front-pagers, large-scale celebrations, queues and traffic jams.

Glasgow’s also been picked to host another 20th – the infamous MTV European Music Awards. The last time the awards were held in Scotland was in 2003, when the carousal was held in Edinburgh, leaving the city with and estimated benefit of £8.9 million. Does this finally prove that Glasgow’s got more pizzazz than the Scottish capital, especially in terms of music? Might be, might be. Building a 13,000 capacity venue, the SSE Hydro certainly didn’t hurt. Everything’s still quite hush-hush about hosts and performers, but looking at previous line-ups, it’s certain that it will bring a horde of A-list celebs to Glasgow.

Last but not least, 2014 will be a benchmark year for the entire Scottish nation – and by now you’ve probably realised that I am, of course, referring to the Independence Referendum. Whether Scotland will vote yes or no, it will mark the rise of a significant discussion over Scottish political and national identity. If you’re still tethering between too sides, it might be quite useful to register to come to one of the debates the Union is due to host – check out the lovely As It Happened coverage in News – and test the strength of your conviction to vote for either one side or the other the Strathclyde mock referendum on the 24th of April. Whether you’ll be running around William Wallace-style or waving the Union Jack high and proud, 18th September 2014 will be a momentous point in Scottish history.

Naturally, that’s not all 2014 has in store for us. If you feel like I haven’t convinced you of the business of next year, there’s a nice vox pop in  and, you could also check out www.futuretimeline.net (but be warned, they’ve got future predictions for the next millennium – potential procrastination alert!).

As for the future of the Telegraph, we’re taking a break for exams, but we’ll be back in February. After that, we’re hoping to carry on in the same spirit, only with a new and improved website. So…until next time, folks! In the mean time, Merry Christmas and Happy Hogmanay!

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