Sheep on bridge

Trainees Take on 2018: can we predict the unpredictable?

08 February 2018. Published by Anna Greco, Senior Associate and Leah Wood, Associate and Samantha Thompson, Senior Associate

Despite the rollercoaster that was 2017, our trainees did fairly well in predicting its twists and turns, including that Trump would continue without restraint on Twitter. In an attempt to continue our success, the trainees have submitted their predictions for 2018. Disclaimer: we failed to foresee the rise in Bitcoin last year (and therefore must continue to work), so please do not rely on the below for your investment advice! Read on to see our bets on Brexit, US Politics, the World Cup and 'automated bundling'!

UK Politics:

There was an overwhelming "no" in response to the question of whether Jeremy Corbyn will ever be Prime Minister, but if the last few years are anything to go by, we should not dismiss any eventuality completely. One trainee foresaw David Miliband returning to the political stage, but perhaps that was more a wish than a prediction.

Those who believe in the prophetic powers of the trainees will be relieved to hear that the UK will not be going into a recession in 2018. That is according to the majority of trainees who tried their hand at economic forecasting. However, a pessimistic minority believe that we will slide into a recession at some point over the next year.


US Politics:


You know it's going to be an interesting year when one of the questions on the trainee prediction survey involves a pre-emptive nuclear strike by the United States. Reassuringly, most (but not all) thought a strike on North Korea was unlikely, perhaps because the President's focus will be on preventing an implosion – that of his administration – rather than ordering the opposite.


While it's thought the Russian "witch hunt" won't bring any blockbuster moments in 2018  (such as impeachment), the domestic pressure will continue to increase, particularly around the 2018 mid-term elections, where the Republican majorities in the Senate and House could be at risk. If the Democrats succeed in November, we might see the first 2020 Presidential election challengers throw their hats into the ring. The trainees have predicted that those hats could belong to Michelle Obama, Oprah, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson or (slightly terrifyingly) Kanye West.


As for whether we'll get a front row seat to the Trump show this year, the trainees predict a UK visit. Despite Theresa May's offer of a full 'State Visit', the US Commander-in-Chief has already put off trips here, apparently due to concern about negative covfefe coverage and mass protests. But The Donald is nothing if not unpredictable, so to borrow his favourite phrase, "we'll see what happens"…


Legal and Business:


Perhaps one of the most interesting topics in the legal sphere this year will be the potential exit deal between the EU and the UK, and whether Parliament will refuse to accept the deal put forward by Theresa May. While a few trainees think any deal will be accepted as "it's all gone too far for anyone not to", most think the "whole sorry affair" will drag on into next year and 2018 won't see the UK any closer to reaching a Brexit deal.


Without the stability of the EU, the overwhelming majority of trainees predict the pound becoming weaker against the Euro; sad news for those of us planning our summer holidays!




Our estimations of the price of one bitcoin on NYE 2018 vary widely from £0 to £18,200, but there is no doubt that most of us will not be buying-in this year: the vast majority of guesses fall below £1 and our average prediction of £3,564.57 is well below the current price (at the time of writing – an important disclaimer). One trainee is so sure of a crypto-crash they suggested that a new concept of InsolvencyTech will be necessary to deal with the fallout.


In terms of 2018 tech developments, our key expectations are driverless vehicles, additional utilisation of blockchain technology, and enhanced digital assistants (preferably to the extent that "nobody ever needs to get up"). One particularly entrepreneurial trainee had an excellent idea, which we think they should definitely put into action at RPC: the creation of "automated bundling".   




With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle set to marry on 19 May 2018, trainees are predicting that somewhere between 2 million and 3 billion viewers will tune in to watch the ceremony live. Although we didn't quite reach an agreement on the exact number, general consensus seems to be 'a lot', though one trainee thinks it will be "fewer than for W&K".


There was also a variety of guesses for which film will win best picture at the Oscars, with 'Get Out' and 'Three Billboards' coming out on top. Most trainees agreed that the ceremony will be free from blunders, perhaps because "they might rely on Alexa to do it for us", though the possibility of a "fake blunder" was also suggested, to keep us all entertained. And finally – Ed Sheeran: trainees have predicted Ed will have two number one singles this year, though some suggested it may be time for his chart domination to end as "he is getting married – he has no time for writing music!"




2018 will not see a repeat of 1966. Pessimistically, not a single trainee has predicted England going beyond the quarterfinals at the World Cup, and the majority have predicted a group stage exit. However, what is certain is the endless build-up coverage, with the press over-hyping England's chances before the team eventually falls to supposedly lesser footballing nation. A post-World Cup sacking of Gareth Southgate should not be ruled out, which would inevitably be followed by mass speculation over who will take on this poisoned chalice.


On a more positive note, the trainees are optimistic of a golden success for Team GB at the Winter Olympic Games. Curling is the sport of choice, which last saw GB take home the gold in 2002 with Rhona Martin's last throw of the final.


Rather unsurprisingly, Man City has been chosen to win the Premier League. One trainee has gone bold and predicted a Burnley comeback, even though they are yet to win a match in 2018. Could 2018 see one of the biggest comebacks of all time?


The Business Blog Editorial Team