Last 12 months I set out ten predictions for 2015. Before setting out any predictions for the year ahead, therefore, it could very well be necessary to observe how last year proved. The first prediction was that Syria would earn the Greek elections and would refuse to compromise. A more than partial hit, I’d say.
They did earn the election and for some time do refuse to bargain, before having to back down confronted by the mass of conservative makes ranged against them across Europe. I would say this story is not over yet, and the success of Podemos, and of the still left in Portugal are just the starting chapters, rather than the conclusion.
The second prediction was that Labor would earn the election in the united kingdom, within the same process that led to the rise of Syria et al. On the face of it, a large miss. The other part of the prediction was a growth of the left inside the Labor Party. At the right time, and given the potential for Labor to lose, very few people, the year this time last, thought that such a recognizable change was likely. Indeed, even by the center of last year, few people would have believed that Jeremy Corbyn would become Labor Leader, on the back of such a huge upsurge in party membership, driven from the left.
So, however the headline prediction was a miss, again, I think that the prediction, as a whole, was correct substantially. The 3rd prediction, that UKIP would fail to win any seats, is again substantially correct. All of the pundits were suggesting that they might win up to 20 seats. In fact, as suggested, the higher turnout of an over-all Election meant that, whilst they increased their number of votes even, they were unable to switch that into seats.
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They actually lost the seat of Mark Reckless, which had been gifted to them by his defection from the Tories. Farage failed to win again, plus they have only held on to the chair of Douglas Carswell, credited to his personal following. Even that is leading to UKIP problems, as a party with one MP appears established to suffer a divide just!
The fourth prediction, that the Liberals would earn only six seats, was the most successful prediction. Actually, they received eight, but, even on election night, Paddy Ashdown was saying that he’d eat his hat if they only won the 26 chairs that the exit poll was suggesting. Much like Prediction 1, it is a confirmation of the general thesis of a collapse of the political center, and of the traditional ideas that have been dominant going back thirty years. Ashdown didn’t eat any hats, once again demonstrating that Liberal guarantees are worthless. Prediction five looked to a split in the Tory Party between these conservative and essentially social Democratic forces, around the question of Europe.