Tuesday, October 13, 2015

We could all be running naked down Whitehall soon

This afternoon Stephen Tall ran down Whitehall naked (or very nearly). He is pictured here with an impressively large rosette.

He was doing it for charity, and you can still donate to Médecins Sans Frontières (UK) via his JustGiving page.

Commendable though his charitable efforts are, there is a little more to it than that.

Appearing on the Daily Politics in 2013, Stephen announced airily that he would "run naked down Whitehall" if the Liberal Democrats won as few as 24 seats at the general election.

As it turned out, we won a lot fewer than that.

The Daily Politics would not let him forget his pledge, and Kelvin MacKenzie offered a generous donation if he would honour it. Hence this afternoon's events.

Stephen's streak has led me to look at how accurate my own predictions for the general election were.

I wrote a post in January 2015, which made various tentative forecasts. I was right that the Ukip and the Green Party would be disappointed, but woefully underestimated how well the SNP would do.

My suggestion that the Liberal Democrats might outpoll Ukip proved way too optimistic.

The following month I rightly argued that we had made too much of Mike Thornton's victory in the Eastleigh by-election. But I was comforted by Lord Ashcroft's faulty constituency polls and did not draw the depressing conclusion that my arguments warranted.

I seem to have avoided forecasting which party would win the election altogether.

Today I have a feeling that, in the words of the late Yogi Berra, it's deja vu all over again. Politics in 2015 seems just like a rerun of the 1980s.

I have seen this movie before and I know who wins. (Clue: It's not Labour.)

My overwhelming instinct is that Jeremy Corbyn cannot possibly last until 2020, and that if he does Labour will suffer a catastrophic defeat.

But maybe, like the SNP, he will prove me completely wrong.

So be wary of making politics predictions. We could all be running naked down Whitehall soon.

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