Paul the octopus is dead. Tragic – although an octopus is only likely to live for a year or two anyway.

Paul was unique because he had the rare knack of being able to predict the winners and losers during the World Cup back in the summer in South Africa. I doubt if this enriched the life of Paul himself, but it made him into a media sensation across the world and gave us a bit of fun. It’s just a shame he couldn’t fiddle the scores and make England win…

His demise has got me thinking. After a week that saw me enjoying the high quality of media presentations at the Jerusalem Awards at the Royal Society of Arts, a meeting with publishers, lots of diocesan meetings and shortlistings, a great day at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, a very stimulating 24 hours at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (where I was preaching on Sunday evening) and dinner with friends we haven’t seen for nearly a decade, I am now wondering what surprises lie ahead in the future. I have tried to learn from Paul and here are my top ten predictions, indicated not by the wave of a tentacle, but by the application of pressure on a keyboard:

  • Liverpool will win the Premiership after Wayne Rooney spends his money on buying Manchester United – just for fun.
  • Tory MPs will regret waving their order papers on ‘live’ TV after George Osborne had described how hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost and people’s lives affected by the ‘cuts’.
  • Robbie Williams and Take That fall out again and they all go solo – at least, those that can go solo go solo…
  • Nick Clegg gives up smoking because ‘the hard job is now behind us’.
  • Richard Dawkins converts to Islam.
  • Iran gives up its nuclear programme because it ‘doesn’t want to upset anyone any more’.
  • Trident gets dropped as it now seems ‘pointless’ keeping it.
  • The Pope decides Anglican orders are valid after all – it was just a misunderstanding based on a translation error.
  • The Beatles re-form.
  • David forgives Ed…

I wouldn’t hold my breath, but the bets are now on.