Happy New Year.
Stephen Bush, writing in the New Statesman (online), makes five predictions for the year ahead in politics, and gives his reasons. Here are those predictions, and here’s my view of them.
1. Labour will win (London’s) City Hall.
In this year’s mayoral election? It won’t happen. Given last year’s general election results, and other long-term demographics in the capital, Labour’s candidate, MP Sadiq Khan, should win. But the party locally, like nationally, have struggled to provide a positive narrative on what they would do in office. The Conservative’s candidate, MP Zac Goldsmith, already has a strong campaign, and with the right backing, will succeed his colleague Boris Johnson by a handsome majority in 2016, even though they could lose the odd assembly seat.
2. The SNP will continue their dominance of Scottish politics, but Labour won’t come third.
Despite electing a new local leader, Labour in Scotland continues to suffer from poor poll ratings. They still have never accepted that they failed to deliver social change when they were in power, and people have since flocked to the Scottish National Party in their thousands. Meanwhile, the Conservative party, after many decades, could have a significant revival in support. The real contest in the elections in 2016 is which party will finish second…. and Labour have a long way to go before they will hit the floor. If they have a bad election, and do finish a distant third, then Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership could be at risk (see below)
3. Jeremy Corbyn will still be (Labour) leader in a year’s time.
No he won’t….if the party fails to improve in the elections. The party’s perceived infighting, which is old news anyway, could intensify. He still has the support of the majority of members and supporters, but he really needs the support of the parliamentary party… and a significant number of MPs remain opposed to him. There could be a leadership challenge, but Corbyn could still beat any so-called rivals to the crown. His authority however would be regularly be undermined, and may be forced to resign.
4. George Osborne will continue to fall short of his fiscal targets and no one will care.
Osborne, if you believe independent financial experts (as opposed to advisors), he has been a very poor Chancellor. Despite missing his own spending targets, and making several about turns on policy, The continued media and public focus on the last Labour government’s fiscal mismanagement means that he has continued to get away with it. It’s true… until there is a massive financial crash, not many people will notice that much.
5. Britain will leave the European Union.
The majority of the mainstream press, plus a number of politicians, have got the referendum they demanded, and will not rest until they get the right result- that the UK leaves the European Union. That could happen because most people in the UK still do not have an idea of how the European Union’s institutions actually operate. Most of the debate about the EU seems to be so one-sided, that it’s too bloated or bureaucratic, and most of the time, countries within the bloc cannot always agree on a single policy. If The UK does leave, there wouldn’t be any mourning from our partners. They seem desperately keen to be rid of us anyway.