Here’s what I thought would happen, did it?!
1. All three party leaders will remain in post again – and all stronger than ever
2. There will be some sort of bargain struck over boundary changes (perhaps equalising number of seats without reducing the number) – very wrong and I’m a bit surprised to be honest as this would have benefitted Lib Dems too
3. UKIP will not win any by-elections – I meant parliamentary ones, and I was right
4. UKIP will not sustain polling numbers above 10% – it depends which polling company you pay attention to, but I think I have to accept defeat on this
5. Lib Dems will end the year with their highest polling numbers since the 2010 honeymoon – hardly much to get excited about, but their year average is now (just) in double figures
6. The economy will grow reasonably well for 3 out of 4 quarters – blimey, who’d have thunk it!
7. George Osbourne’s budget will have some giveaways to stimulate growth, but the coalition will refuse to acknowledge that it is a stimulus package, or plan B – I’m with the pessimists on the Help to Buy Scheme, it will blow hot into a housing market that has not shrunk anywhere near enough after the crash, but it was there in the budget and it has stimulated growth and the Coalition calls it anything other than a stimulus package!
8. The Government will announce major reforms to the immigration system to cope with new wave of immigrants from EU accession countries and to deal with anomalies that are hindering the relocation of highly skilled workers and international student recruitment – half right I think, lots of announcements and useless things (e.g. NHS charges for immigrants that will probably cost more to administer than they will make!) but sadly nothing to make life easier for much needed highly skilled immigrants and international students.
9. There will be no mass reshuffle, only tweaks to deal with resignations – Cabinet has continued to remain stable (one of the Coalition’s success stories in my opinion).
10. Chris Huhne will be found not guilty of speeding offences. He will not return to Government though – oh dear!
11. The ridiculous and torrid Plebgate scandal will rumble on with no firm conclusion. It’s ultimately impossible to prove who said what without doubt. Andrew Mitchell’s reputation will be restored though, but he will not return to Government – all very sad and depressing, but I was right!
12. More huffing and puffing about Europe. Nothing will actually happen – not even a Euro crisis this year!
13. Labour will win every election going, handily – they didn’t win Eastleigh, but all others were theirs by a mile.
14. Cuts in child benefit for households with an earner in the higher tax bracket (i.e. households earning more than £45,000 per year) will go down like sh*t in a cake and there will be an almighty hoo-hah. Not because of the inequity of it, but because that’s how much journalists earn and they consider themselves “average earners”. Average UK household income is about £40,000 with two earners – there was some predictable squealing about this on the BBC and from newspaper columnists, but they seemed to get the message when polls continued to show support for the policy.
9 and a half out of 14. Surely, I should be next in line for Nick Robinson’s job when he goes to Newsnight?!