A burdz eye view on the year ahead

Predictions.  It’s a mug’s game really and having failed totally on all my political bets for 2010 – apart from a spectacular gain on an Ed Miliband win – the burd has absolutely no track record whatsoever on this front.

But hey, it’s a bit of harmless fun, right?  And thank goodness there are no tartan bollocks awards for bloggers.  Yet… 

So here is a burdz eye view on the year ahead:

  1. The Scottish Budget will pass at the first attempt.  Make no mistake, there will be much huffing and puffing from the Opposition parties but they will baulk at blowing the SNP’s house down so close to an election.  No one will want to enter the campaign with a reputation for fiscal irresponsibility on their report card.  They will all abstain and claim the moral high ground.  It will make headlines, a few of us might even blog on it, but ultimately voters won’t care.
  2. Labour will hold the most seats after the Holyrood election but won’t form the next administration.  I don’t think it’s the walk in the park for Labour that the polls currently predict.  As blogged in 2010, it all comes down to about 20 marginals and roughly three key voter groups whose votes will swing it.  And on the list seats, the Lib Dems occupy as many vulnerable last places as the SNP.  Both Labour and the SNP will gain seats from the the Lib Dems, the Conservatives will end up more or less as they began, the Greens will make some gains but not enough to achieve the much vaunted breakthrough (sorry @twodoctors) and while Labour will gain a few constituency seats from the SNP, the SNP will recoup those losses through the regional votes. 
  3. The SNP will remain in government, with the support of the Conservatives in return for baubles.  More committee convenors than their numbers deserve, a depute presiding officer, possibly even a Ministerial without portfolio invented post.  But no one will dare call it a coalition.  Apart from Labour of course.  
  4. The unholy alliance with the Tories will prompt a resurgence of the left in the SNP.  Kenny MacAskill, Keith Brown and Angela Constance will emerge as the ring leaders.  Though this might just be the burdz wishful thinking. 
  5. The UK coalition government will last at least another 12 months.  Heaven help us all.
  6. The first UK Minister to resign on conscience grounds will be a Conservative not a Liberal Democrat.  And it will be on Europe, or AV, or reform of the Lords, or some other nonesuch issue.
  7. The UK will vote no in the AV referendum – but Scotland and Wales will vote yes.  Another constitutional nail will have been driven into the United Kingdom’s coffin, but it won’t be anything like enough to seal the box.
  8. Wales will vote yes in its referendum for legislative powers for the Assembly.  Hurrah!
  9. Tavish Scott will resign as Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and will be replaced by Margaret Smith.  Scotland will not only have another woman leading a party but also the first lesbian woman to lead a party.  Some will gnash and wail; others, including the burd, will cheer at a triumph for diversity.
  10. Iain Gray and Ed Miliband will survive the year in their respective leadership posts.  Gray’s performance will be seen as good enough to survive and in any event, no one will have the stomach for a fight this far out from 2015.  Labour winning the Oldham East by-election this month will be the start of a turnaround for Miliband.  He will use the goodwill this buys him to silence the Balls-Cooper axis.  In spectacular fashion.  They will slink off and Miliband’s authority will be assured until the General Election.
  11. Scotland will not qualify for the Euro 2012 finals.  As usual, we will be there or thereabouts right to the last, prompting much unjustified optimism, as usual, and hope that this time will be our time.  As usual, we will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
  12. Celtic will claim the SPL title on the last day of the season (thanks to a controversial refereeing decision elsewhere), Hearts will nearly finish second and the mighty Killie will finish fourth.  This will cause the burd to get very, very drunk and cry.
  13. A Scottish band will win the Mercury Prize.  I’d like to think it will be the Sexual Objects, but more likely to be Broken Records or Kid Canaveral.
  14. A Scottish newspaper title will fold.  Sadly.  It might be the Scottish outpost of a UK title aka the Sunday Times last year.  Sad as that would be, it would be preferable to a wholly Scottish title going.  But that is a distinct possibility.  If the Herald gets hit by a long drawn out strike, its owners might just give up and walk away.
  15. We will have a heatwave summer.  Hotter even than 1976 which the burdz bairns (and no doubt others) are convinced is a figment of their mammy’s overly febrile imagination.  There will be a drought, the Greens will get all shouty, but no one will care.  We’ll all either be too busy enjoying it or moaning, just as we did about the snow.

6 thoughts on “A burdz eye view on the year ahead

  1. Pingback: #sp11 Regions revisited – Lothians « A Burdz Eye View

  2. Actually the difference between seats and votes is an interesting one I hadn’t considered.

    If memory serves in spite of the closeness of seats in 2007 the SNP got about 60,000 total votes more than Labour.

    If, and it is obviously a big if, Labour won most seats but the SNP most votes it does give them a defence for attempting to stay in government.

    At that point it becomes a debate about which, if anything, the public would care about more. Do they accept the argument about vote share or just concentrate on MSP numbers?

    Of course given that this would reduce political coverage to politicians trading insults over electoral statistics it could just completely turn voters off! But maybe that’d help whoever was in government too?

  3. Hmmm, an interesting set of predictions. Hopefully 12 in particular happens!

    Number 3’s certainly a bold idea and one that a few have floated. But is it really feasible?

    In terms of Westminster elections an SNP/Tory deal – however unofficial – is surely a gift for Labour. Also whilst the public may not follow minute political detail doing such a deal to keep out the biggest party can only lead to disenchantment.

    But perhaps the biggest reason for the SNP not to do this is that it can only hurt them in future. Unless there is some sort of political realignment then the SNP (solely based on the constitution) will always be a minority.

    Doing a secret deal to keep out the biggest party means that in future it could happen to the SNP. And after their justified claims in 2007 that the biggest party has a moral right to lead would lead to charges of hypocrisy.

    It’s true that on the continent being the biggest party is no guarantee of being in government and perhaps it’ll eventually be thus here. But to be the first party to do it could have future electoral consequences.

    • I wouldn’t disagree with your analysis and would agree entirely with the risks and the moral right for the biggest party to have first shout at forming an administration. I think it will depend on how close the seat numbers are.

      And the electoral arithmetic will be important. There is every possibility that the SNP could still emerge with a majority in terms of the popular vote but fewer seats. The way the votes work, there is always an inbuilt majority – or nearly always – in favour of Labour. That’s why they so clearly lost in 2007: despite the system helping them, people effectively still voted them out. The system doesn’t work like that for the SNP, they have to fight the system to win so I think anything coming close to their performance in 2007 allows them to disregard the moral right argument.
      And I don’t necessarily support a pact of some sort with the Tories – in fact, probably don’t support it at all – but doesn’t mean it isn’t at least being considered behind closed doors! Maybe I just like being provocative?!

  4. Interesting. Some of them are no-brainers (2,5,8,10,11), others are likely (7,12,15), some are brave but plausible (3, 6, 14, sadly), others pretty unlikely (1, 4) and #9 is impossible – Tavish may go but I’d bet the house on it not being Margaret. No idea how the Mercury Prize is awarded😉

    Also, Will P said something similar about us: I don’t recall us going over the top and predicting vast sweeping gains. Up is obviously the aim, but I’m going to try to avoid specific predictions. It’s as much about organic growth and building capacity between elections as about bid for a clean sweep.

    Finally, regional last places..
    Central: SNP then LD
    Glasgow: Green then SNP (one prediction: we’ll come ahead of the Libs here)
    H&I: SNP then Lab
    Lothians: Lab then SNP
    MSF: Lab then Tory
    NE: SNP then LD
    South: LD then SNP
    West: SNP then SNP again

    In short, I disagree with this: “on the list seats, the Lib Dems occupy as many vulnerable last places as the SNP”! They should do better in the rural seats/regions, but I really think Glasgow could be the first region ever not to have a LD MSP.

    • I am so very glad you think a Killie fourth place finish is likely and I wonder why you think 1 – the budget passing at first attempt – is unlikely?

      And the much vaunted claim has been made by others, not by the Scottish Greens themselves. I’d like to think it might be different but I just can’t see it – not because of voter disinterest but simply because of the disadvantages inherent in the electoral system.

      I’d forgotten Labour had so many last places on the list vote – I see those almost as being discounted as they will convert into constituency gains. You are right to see the Lib Dems as being most vulnerable in Glasgow, that might be a prediction worth hoping for, especially as they bumped Robert Brown who didnt deserve it…

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