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How many 2011 predictions will John Rentoul get right?

December 28th, 2010

Event Rentoul’s Predictions for 2011 Date
Oldham E & Saddleworth “Labour gain” 13/01/11
Welsh referendum “Labour-Plaid Cymru gain” 03/03/11
AV referendum “Lib Dem loss” 05/05/11
The economy “Conservative gain” 31/12/11

What do we think of the Blair biographer’s predictions?

The Indy on Sunday’s political editor and Blair biographer, John Rentoul, has published a list of his main predictions for 2011 and they are set out in the table above.

While I do think that Labour’s got a good chance in Old & Sad I think he’s stretching it a bit to describe such an outcome as a “Labour gain”. The notional 2005 result for the seat had Labour with a 10.4% lead and in May, of course, Phil Woolas won. Labour is the incumbent and of it was a lesser commentator than Rentoul writing this he could be accused of trying to spin the result before it’s happened.

Then there’s his forecast for the AV referendum. Rather than go for “Yes” or “No” Rentoul suggests that this will be a “Lib Dem loss”. Certainly it would be a blow to the yellows but the only party the party that had this in its manifesto at the general election was Labour.

As to the outcome that’s a pretty hard call. YouGov polling suggests that the no camp are winning by a margin while ICM have it the other way.

Everything depends on the campaign and here those Labour heavyweights from yesteryear lining up in the NO camp – Beckett/Prescott/Blunkett/Reid could make a big difference – though I can’t work out which way.

Whatever this is the time of year for predictions and in the next few days Double Carpet will be reporting on the outcome of the PB 2010 prediction contest as well as the question for the next twelve months.

Mike Smithson