Friday, 6 May 2011
I have joked for a long time about being so wrong about election (and other) predictions that you should place a bet on the opposite of what I say. Now, I am convinced that you would make a fortune if you did so. My favourite mistakes are the ones I do with newspapers (luckily, I think they only publish John Curtice’s predictions for obvious reasons (if they are not obvious - it is because he is almost-always correct)). So, for example, I said that Wendy Alexander would ride out the storm and remain Scottish Labour leader. Then, I made an accumulator prediction of sorts from 2007: that the Conservatives would win the 2010 election (that is the closest I have come to being right), the SNP would use it to full effect in the referendum campaign (there was no referendum), the referendum would produce a ‘no to independence’ vote (or a ‘more devolution’ vote if the 3rd option was given) and the SNP would then lose in 2011 because the wind would be out of their sails. I also reckoned, even after the non-referendum, that Labour would be the biggest party (and might form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats!) just because of the incumbency effects: the SNP were the incumbents and would lose a few votes accordingly, plus Labour were not in government in the UK or Scotland anymore (so wouldn’t be punished at the polls for Iraq and the economy in the same way). This has to go down as my most spectacularly wrong prediction to date (John Curtice is now predicting an SNP majority). In my defence, I am not a psephologist and do not have any expertise to draw on here. My expertise is in other things: coalition/ minority government and the Scottish Parliament, public policy, intergovernmental relations, and so on (and I will publish a few posts in the next week or so). But you would think that I would get some of these correct, even by the law of averages, wouldn’t you? My latest prediction is that there will be a referendum in 2 years or so (surely this has to be right!) but that it will not produce enough support for independence. So, of course, that means independence tomorrow. Place your bets.