IN 2021 we had a Scottish Parliament election, Tory corruption claims and rows over the post-Brexit deal and Northern Ireland Protocol. But what does 2022 have in store? Read below for The National’s guide to the year ahead and what to look out for.


POST-BREXIT talks attempting to resolve issues with the Northern Ireland protocol are due to start up again in January, after the shock resignation of chief UK Brexit negotiator Lord Frost in December.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has taken over the negotiations, but has already echoed the threat of her predecessor to trigger Article 16 of the agreement, which allows one side to unilaterally suspend trading rules.

The National: MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: Foreign Secretary Liz Truss delivers a speech on day one of the annual Conservative Party Conference at Manchester Central on October 03, 2021 in Manchester, England. This year's Conservative Party Conference returns

However, the EU have warned of “serious consequences”, should the UK follow through and trigger the mechanism, leaving the UK with a no-deal Brexit, implications for Northern Ireland and the relationship between the EU and UK. With Prime Minister Boris Johnson backing this tactic, expect more deadlocked talks ahead.


WITH energy prices rising, a surge in inflation and higher National Insurance contributions on the horizon, people across the UK are set to be around £1200 worse off, according to a think-tank.

The Resolution Foundation said families are facing a cost-of-living “catastrophe” when the energy price cap goes up, NI contributions rise by 1.25% in April and inflation is forecast to peak at 6% in the spring, meaning incomes are set to stagnate. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to face increasing pressure as this becomes a reality in the first half of 2022.


INCUMBENT Emmanuel Macron will be hoping that France taking up the six-month tenure as president of the Council of the EU will help with his re-election in May.

There will be two rounds of the election for the French president, on April 10 and 24. The first round will likely see Macron and Marine Le Pen, far-right leader of the National Rally party, come out as the top two contenders, but Macron is likely to win in the final round and serve another five years as president.

With recent rows over fishing, asylum seekers crossing the English Channel in migrant boats and Macron frequently taking a hard line and calling out the UK, it’s a safe bet the Tories are hoping this doesn’t happen.


BARONESS Helena Kennedy (below) is currently heading a working group which is examining whether or not misogyny should be made a hate crime in Scotland.

The National: Helena Kennedy QC: 'I do think it is a disgrace that we have never signed. But governments have all been leery about giving rights to migrants'

After the outpouring of grief and shock at the killing of Sarah Everard at the hands of a serving police officer last year, the debate around women’s safety and the violence they face at the hands of men became part of the national conversation.

While Johnson almost immediately ruled out making misogyny a hate crime in England, Justice Secretary Keith Brown was open to the idea and told

The National it could “send a strong message”. The group is due to report back to the Scottish Government in February with their recommendations, and what they say could have a huge impact on Scots law going forward.


With the first investigator lined up to investigate Number 10’s Christmas parties, while the rest of the country was in lockdown, had to stand down after it emerged he held his own Christmas party, it’s not certain when exactly we will get answers over the Johnson’s festivities last year.

But, with civil servant Sue Gray, who is now leading the inquiry, pulling in spads and officials to answer tough questions, it won’t be long until the full story comes out.


IN May, Scotland will go to the polls once again but this time to elect local councillors. A few things to look out for – will Susan Aitken and the SNP keep hold of Glasgow City Council after the furore during COP26 over rubbish and workers pay?

Will Alba get any councillors elected – their best bet is Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny – and what about in the north east, where the future of oil and gas has become a dividing line amongst Scotland’s politicians? Also look out for a Green surge – COP26 brought climate change into the national conversation, and with the co-operation deal bringing more visibility, there could be gains for them to make.


IT seems as if every week we hear calls for Johnson to stand down as Prime Minister due to one scandal or another, yet he clings on for dear life and his tactic of just pretending it didn’t happen apparently works.

The National: LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson addresses the nation during a Covid Update at Downing Street on December 15, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Tolga Akmen - WPA Pool/Getty Images).

The Christmas parties were a close call, the public anger at the revelations were , but will we really have to see another scandal from this Tory government before he goes? And who will win the coronation – Tory party favourite Truss, or Sunak, who seems to appeal to a wider audience? Odds are on Truss, as the Tories play to what the party wants above anything else.


WILL the Cabinet Office finally reveal their secret polling on attitudes to the Union and independence? SNP MP Tommy Sheppard has been pressing for the files to be released, while ministers continually blocked them being put in the public domain.

What are they so desperate to hide? Well, after a two-year battle, the Cabinet Office made a legal appeal and a hearing will take place next year. They didn’t release them after the last legal ruling, but we can hope.


WE told how Scottish peers raked in nearly £1m in daily allowance and expenses over the pandemic, but there are two new recruits to the ermine club that The National is keen to follow up on.

The National:

That’s right – former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, now Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links, and Tory donor and failed MSP Malcolm Offord, now Baron Offord of Garvel.

Both recently took up their seats in the House of Lords, but as expenses run around five months behind, we should find out in the summer how much cash the pair have made at the taxpayers expense.


IN November, the US will vote to fill the 435 seats in the House of Representatives and a third of seats in the Senate (34). In the previous midterms under Trump, Democrats were on top of the polls and gained 41 seats in the House of Representatives.

The National: WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 27: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a video call with the White House Covid-19 Response team and the National Governors Association in the South Court Auditorium at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on December 27,

However, this time round the Republicans are polling ahead, possibly because of Trump being out of the picture and Biden’s failing popularity.

We could see Republicans gain a number of seats, which could have a serious impact on the Biden administration’s plans, and make passing legislation more difficult.


NICOLA Sturgeon has been firm in stating that a second constitutional vote would take place in 2023, with that coming upon us soon, planning for a second independence referendum should be stepped up next year.

With Angus Robertson in charge of the constitutional brief in Holyrood – although it is understood planning is at the very early stages – and civil servants being put back to work on a new series of white papers for an independent Scotland, there’s plenty of work to be done.