The Ten Worst Predictions for 2010
1. “I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament.” Nick Clegg (right), Vince Cable, Danny Alexander and twenty-five other Liberal Democrat MPs failed to predict that they would vote in favour of an increase in fees (or abstain).
2. “2010 will be an excellent year for higher education. In the summer of 2010 we will announce that we have reached our 50 per cent participation target. The Association of Graduate Recruiters will announce that graduate starting salaries have risen again, proving that the economy required degree-level skills and it was right to expand higher education … Some [universities] will have charged the highest fee for their most successful courses, but less for other valuable courses that suffer from falling demand or cost less to run.” Alan Johnson, higher education minister, writing in The Guardian, 27 January 2004. This summer the university participation rate among young people was around 40 per cent; the graduate differential has fallen; and all universities charge the maximum tuition fee, currently £3,225.
3. “A British nuclear disaster – and a Tory victory.” Sarah Goldsmith, witch and would-be Green Party candidate for Torbay, 31 January. “I’m a herbalist, a wise woman and I use traditional spells. How much more green can you get?”
4. “I predict that David Cameron, having failed to convince an intelligent electorate that he has fundamentally changed his party, will fail to form a government this week and will never become prime minister.” James Macintyre, “My lonely prediction”, New Statesman, on polling day, 6 May.
5. “So the exit poll shows the Tories on 307 seats, 19 short of an overall majority. Don’t panic chaps and chapesses. My view is that by 4am this poll will have been shown to be wrong … I’ll run naked down Whitehall if that turns out to be true.” Iain Dale, Conservative blogger, at 10.02pm on 6 May. The result was that the Conservatives won 307 seats, 19 short of an overall majority. Dale never did run naked down Whitehall, bowing to impassioned pleas from his readers.
6. “England to win World Cup – ‘Quant methodology’ predicts England will beat Spain in the final on 11 July.” Matthew Burgess and Marco Dion, analysts at JP Morgan, 18 May.
7. “I do have a prediction and it is that David Miliband will win.” Nick Robinson, BBC political editor, talking over the announcement of the result of the Labour leadership election, 25 September.
8. “This winter could be unusually mild and dry, with temperatures at least 2C higher than last year’s big freeze.” The Met Office, 28 October. It was not a “long-term forecast”, bless us no, because the Met Office stopped issuing those, coincidentally after suggesting the likelihood of a “barbecue summer” followed by a “mild winter” last year. This was just data that suggested a “high probability of a warmer winter for London, the East of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland”. The statistics were generated by the Met Office’s new £33m supercomputer built by IBM.
9. “Quantum physicists discover extraordinary way to generate electricity from water.” Craig and Jane’s Psychic Predictions for 2010 (£1.50 per minute – pay by credit card or add to your phone bill). Craig is candid about some of his predictions that did not come true in 2009: “However Victoria Beckham did not get pregnant as predicted and I was wrong about Gordon Brown being forced out of office before the election.” Mind you, he was in exalted company on that last one.
10. “The euro is a protection shield against the crisis.” José Manuel Barroso, European Commission President, 5 February 2010. And countless similar predictions, including: “Solidarity is possible, [and] will exist. A bailout is not possible and will not exist.” Joaquín Almunia, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, 29 January 2010.
Some of these predictions feature in The Independent on Sunday’s bumper Boxing Day quiz. Go to it.Tagged in: corrections
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