This time last year, I wrote a post with 11 predictions for 2011. One of the joys of blogging for me is the chance to reflect and grow. To see where I’ve called it right and where I haven’t and to learn from both of these. For example, I believed there would be a Cabinet reshuffle in the early summer. Olly Grender called me on it, and she was right to do so.
So here is an examination of the predictions I made. For those of you who believe that politics has right and wrong answers, I’ll give them a right or wrong score. For those – like me – who believe that the really interesting parts of life live in the grey areas, I’ve given myself a mark out of 10 for each and an explanation of that mark. Please, please feel free to tell me how you think I’ve done – and be as harsh as you think is fair!
1. Ed will still be leader of the Labour Party. Of course he will, we don’t have the money, the stomach or the suicidal insanity to re-fight that fight. That won’t stop the bitching or the briefing but as what most people know becomes ever clear to those who can’t quite see it yet, these will subside.
Score: 8/10. I was of course right that Ed would still be leader. Even at the worst that Ed has faced, his most vocal opponents have realised the brink they were standing on and blinked first. I was also right that the bitching and briefing wouldn’t stop. Points lost for believing it would subside. Certainly the nervy Labour right don’t believe in downplaying Tory “achievements” like the Euro “veto” and it’s consequent bounce.
2. Labour will remain – in aggregate – ahead in the polls. There will be times when we are quite far ahead, and times when the Tories spike. We should treat these imposters both the same. We are a nose ahead and should fight accordingly.
Score: 9/10. Pretty much spot on. I’ve lost a point to reflect the end of year dip, and the fact that we don’t yet know if the current contraction is a Tory spike (as it looks like) or a longer term narrowing. Either way, we remain ahead on aggregate but by a tiny margin.
3. Labour will win Oldham East & Saddleworth, but it will be close. In the end, not enough Tories will switch to compensate for the loss of Lib Dem voters to push the Lib Dems over the line. The Libs could possibly have won this with a different candidate, but that we will never know.
Score: 8/10. Again, pretty spot on both on the ultimate result and the reasons behind it. The only problem was that in the end it wasn’t actually close.
4. Labour and the Greens will be the big winners in the local elections, both increasing their numbers significantly at the expense of the Lib Dems.
Score: 5/10. I think if I’ve only scored myself at half, I should say I’ve called it wrong. However, I wasn’t wrong about Labour who did very well gaining 857 councillors. However, the Greens failed to capitalise at all, and the Tories also gained at the expense of their doomed coalition partners.
5. The AV referendum will be closer than I once thought it would be, but it will be lost. I just don’t think enough of the public care enough. I know I don’t – I’m a hack and I don’t even know which way I’ll vote.
Score: 7/10. In the end, it wasn’t even remotely close.
6. The coalition will hold, but will falter briefly as after the AV & local election losses, Lib Dems see their polling number increase to about 12-15%. There will be some agitation from the left of the Lib Dems that that’s as good as it’s going to get and they should take that opportunity to leave. The leadership will tough it out. They will succeed in doing so as unless there is a new war, the totemic issues for the left have already been capitulated on.
Score: 3/10. Wow. Ultimately I was right about the coalition holding so that’s the three points, but other than that how wrong could you be. The Lib Dems started to mutter about a new way of dealing with the coalition, which seemed to involve slightly less bending over. Hmmm… can’t see I’ve noticed them getting the Tories to do their own Newsnight appearances, the most visible display of their subservience. They also whipped the European referendum vote which was a further slap in the face for their activists. Oh and a war seemed to have no impact whatsoever.
7. This will strengthen the Tory right and Cameron will have to give them something. It probably won’t be hunting as the polling and imagery is too bad, it probably can’t be Europe, so I suspect there will be something on either tax cuts or immigration or both.
Score: 6/10. Right, except that it was Europe. Though there have been noises on all the other issues, they’ve mostly been just noises (Theresa’s cat for example) rather than actually policy.
8. Gove will be reshuffled into a role he can’t screw up so publically.
Score 0/10. As above. No reshuffle. Despite being nicknamed the Cabinet of the Dead Cameron is resolute in not reshuffling. Whether this is wise or not remains to be seen, but certainly it meant I was 100% wrong in this prediction.
9. There will be at least two more cabinet resignations, and at least one will be a big beast. Neither will be Vince Cable who missed his chance to make a difference, and is nicely neutered as far as Clegg and the Tories are concerned.
Score 6/10. Just as I scored very low on a questions I marked as right, here I’m scoring pretty high despite getting it wrong. This is partly because we did get one pretty high profile resignation in Liam Fox, partly because I’ve been proved right about Cable over and over and over again and partly because there’s still two days left for Chris Huhne to do the right thing before he’s forced to by the CPS.
10. The 10% cut to Housing Benefit will be dropped from the Welfare Bill. The Lib Dems will claim this as a victory despite a lot of the other pernicious stuff that will remain.
Score: 10/10. Not much to add other than Thank God, but the fight goes on.
11. There will be at least one quarter of negative GDP and unemployment will rise.
Score: 7/10. This is the most difficult to score. A negative quarter was announced this year, but it was for the last quarter of 2011. We’ve absolutely flat-lined, and predictions are that this quarter will be negative again. But the figures aren’t out yet so I’m having to rely on predictions. I will come back and rescore if I am wrong. I am – sadly – completely right about unemployment.
8 right, 3 wrong or 73%
69/110 or 63%
(See the difference a bit of subtlty can make – humph!)
Let me know what you think. Have I been too generous? Too harsh? What are your predictions for next year?