So here we are again. Another year disappears. It has, on reflection, been a pretty incredible one politically. The Coalition bumbles on, but, in my opinion, now looks fatally weakened, no matter what happens in the next couple of years.
Anyway, that’s not what we’re here for. Not that anyone cares, but it’s time to check out how good my predictions were. I have got to say, prepare to be impressed…
1 - the Coalition will last the whole year
Spot on. But come off it, that wasn’t even difficult.
2 - The Lib Dems will take a pounding in the local elections, especially in Scottish councils
Spot on. But come off it, that wasn’t even difficult. To be fair, they didn’t do as badly as I expected in the English locals, but the Scottish locals were an unmitigated disaster. The Liberal Democrats have completely damaged their reason to exist for a generation.
3 - David Cameron will finally conduct a proper reshuffle, though it still won’t be particularly far reaching. Osborne isn’t going anywhere and neither is Michael Gove. Lansley may be moved if the NHS reforms pass successfully to give someone else a chance. He will definitely be removed if they fail. The Lib Dems have such a paucity of front bench talent that there is very little room for manouevre…
This is also mostly right, but it wasn’t a reshuffle by the standards we have been used to under previous governments. I wonder whether Cameron would be any more adventurous in a Conservative-majority government though. It doesn’t seem his style.
As bonuses I will take full credit for the predictions on Osborne, Gove and Lansley. And the Lib Dems having no talent. Well, that’s a given.
4 - Ed Miliband will remain Labour leader, in spite of generally underwhelming election results and another defeat to Boris in the London mayoral election
A little bit right and a little bit wrong here. In my mind the Boris victory was obvious, but Labour did very well in spite of the Boris wave across London. A net gain of 534 councillors was pretty impressive. But, let’s be honest here, people have only started giving Labour a chance since the spectacularly bad Budget in March.
5 - In Europe, the Euro crisis will be resolved with a “treaty”. The treaty will not get the UK’s blessing, and the EU will proceed into a closer union without the UK, creating overwhelming calls for an in-out referendum. If it starts looking tempting, expect Labour to back the idea.
There’s a lot of detail there, but the core point is majorly wrong. In fact, the Euro crisis had a chance to come to head with the Greek election, but in the end the Greeks shunned the opportunity. But the whole thing has been papered over. There is still a problem, and we are muddling through it at the moment. But the question remains will we ever get the growth of the past back again. I’m not so sure.
6 - France will get a “Socialist” President as Sarkozy plunges to inevitable defeat
This was spot on, even the bit in inverted commas.
7 - Rick Santorum will win the Iowa caucuses, but Mitt Romney will be the Republicans nominee for President
I love this prediction. To be so specific about the Iowa caucuses and still win is truly awesome. Just wish I’d put this on as a double bet!
8 - Barack Obama will squeak a narrow re-election against Mitt Romney
Yep, another winner, although it wasn’t that narrow in the end. 4 million votes difference can’t be wrong. But some of the key states were quite close run (see Florida, North Carolina). I was particularly pleased when I made a prediction of a 333-205 electoral vote during the year, because the actual electoral vote is expected to be 332-206!
9 – The Democrats will either lose control of the Senate or it will be an exact 50-50 tie… the Democrats will not re-take the House, but it will be close. This disastrous deadlock will result in two more years of pathetic governance in the States.
Hmm, pretty wrong here. The omens didn’t look good at the start of this year due to the strongly defensive nature of this cycle, but I underestimated the ability of the Republican party to self-destruct. I shouldn’t have done so, as they fucked up pretty badly in 2010, so a repeat peformance in 2012 shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise. But thanks to Republican lunatics in Republican places like Missouri and Indiana, the Democrats managed to increase their majority. And not only that, they improved the progressive nature of the caucus, due to the kind of candidates that won. The House wasn’t close either, really, but the final bit of the prediction will definitely come true. See tomorrow.
10 – Syria will continue to make a mockery of the West – and the uprising will eventually be brutally suppressed. Meanwhile, the rest of the Arab Spring becomes stillborn, and the tendency towards strong, authoritarian governments in the region will persist
Christ. Excuse my sudden lapse of atheism, but this prediction was absolutely bang on. Again, maybe it was easy to predict, as all revolutions struggle, but the fact remains that Syria has turned the West into an embarrassment, and the Arab Spring is all but dead.
11 – Iran will successfully navigate the year without there being any progress on disarmament, and there will be no military activity of any sort. However, the West will begin sounding the war-drums, and the useless public will buy it
I was wrong about the public buying it, but there’s always time. To be honest though, predicting that nothing would happen is pretty easy, as, most of the time, nothing does happen. See prediction 1.
12 - And all the while the schizophrenic public will continue to ignore the fact that Afghanistan has been, and will continue to be, a catastrophic failure. More lives will continue to be lost, though Obama will, mercifully, confirm a long, slow, drawdown over the next few years.
Yup, but again, pretty easy. And maybe a controversial call, as I’m sure there are people out there who think Afghanistan is a success.
Time to summarise:
- SPECTACULARLY CORRECT – 7
- SORT OF CORRECT – 3
- MOSTLY WRONG – 2
My best year of predictions ever. The trick I have finally learned is to predict that things won’t happen. Predict that the opinion polls are pretty much bang on. Most pundits have a habit of predicting the outrageous, because they know that it’ll get them attention. This was definitely true during the American election… and then the reality check was delivered. And yet, no one’s careers were ended…
Tomorrow, if I can find some time in the post-New Year stupour, I will line up a new slate for 2013. Bet you can’t wait.