Happy New Year . . . from beneath my bed

The resolutions Sarah Palin, Simon Cowell, Tiger Woods and others should make this year

New Year. It's supposed to be good, isn't it? I find it awful. The pressure to have fun. The hunch that everyone else is having more fun. The realisation that the more you analyse the notion of "fun", the less probable fun seems to become and the more you want to crawl under your bed.

And resolutions. You think no one makes resolutions any more, but they do. They are secretly, smugly resolving all over the place. And it's always the people who don't need to make resolutions who make them: the healthy, energetic types who double their yoga classes, give up sugar and decide to climb six mountains instead of their customary three.

I wish you could make resolutions for other people, rather than yourself. I'd hand these round, if I could:

Gordon Brown: 1. Smile only when you really want to, rather than when someone tells you to. Those ones don't seem to work. 2. Don't pick "The Climb" as the Labour Party election song, however appropriate it might seem. ("Every move I make/ Feels lost with no direction.")

David Cameron: 1. Give up cycling (it's obvious you don't really enjoy it and are doing it purely for effect). 2. I think that one goes for quite a lot of the things you do.

Tony Blair: 1. Enrol on a how-to-speak-sincerely-at-a-war-inquiry course. Might come in handy.

MPs: 1. Don't buy anything daft. 2. If you buy something daft, try paying for it yourself. It will seem odd at first, but you might start to like it and it could also stop your constituents from hurling things at you whenever they see you, which can't be a bad thing.

Barack Obama: 1. Do everything you were meant to do last year (Guantanamo, health care, environment, bankers). 2. Try to curb the snowballing disappointment over the fact that you are not, in fact, the saviour of the world. 3. Try to be more like the saviour of the world. 4. Save the world!

Sarah Palin: 1. Give up the high-fiving. 2. Write the sequel (Going Rogue II: the Silent Retreat to Alaska).

Simon Cowell: 1. Sell your house. 2. Sell your other house. 3. Sell your third house. 4. And the fourth. 5. And don't think you're getting away with the fifth, you little monkey. 6. Hand over all your money to charity. 7. Leave us alone for a little while. We need some time off.

Tiger Woods: 1. Become a monk.

These are perhaps less resolutions, more the speeches I make in my head when reading the newspaper. (Tell me you do that.) They're the things I would say to people if I met them face to face and had approximately 100 per cent more courage than I have in real life. You know: running into Barack in Tesco and just telling him how it is. It's like the armchair football manager, the backseat driver, the pushy parent standing on the edge of the sports pitch. I'm the supermarket world leader, dispensing nuggets of insight by the frozen peas.

Anyway, reality creeps up. As does New Year. Time to clear that space beneath my bed.

Sophie Elmhirst's column runs fortnightly
Next week: Mark Watson

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

This article first appeared in the 04 January 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Gaza: one year on