It is never easy to predict what is to come even over a few days, never mind a year. Who would have thought, for instance, this time last year, that Boris Johnson would have won a general election by a near landslide?
For the first time in nearly four years, the one thing that now looks certain for 2020 is that the UK will leave the European Union one way or another. It is also inevitable that the New Year will bring the departure of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, and the election of his successor.
Beyond that, it is hard to forecast at this point what 2020 will bring politically. But what already has been established is that a new legal framework governing abortion will be introduced into Northern Ireland in March.
It is open to consultation but at present the plan is to offer abortions on demand up to 14 weeks. The province’s bishops have said the law is unjust, and called for the protection of conscience rights and the exclusion of “abortion services” from Catholic schools.
The rest of the UK will meanwhile have to come to terms with compulsory Relationships and Sex Education. Although the government says it will allow leeway for schools to decide what is “age-appropriate” and in line with the school’s ethos, the education secretary who introduced the changes, Damian Hinds, said he would “strongly encourage schools to discuss with children in class that there are all sorts of different, strong and loving families, including families with same-sex parents, while they are at primary school.” …