Any fool can make predictions at the start of a new year, but it takes a big man to own up to how wrong he was, twelve months later. So here goes; my 2011 predictions (recorded here) were as follows…
11 political/economic predictions:
1) Labour will win the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election. - RIGHT
2) In May’s local elections, the Tories and Lib Dems will each lose around 600 seats net. - WRONG
3) Labour will fall only just short of a majority in the Scottish Parliament elections in May. - WRONG
4) The ‘No’ campaign will win the AV referendum in May. - RIGHT
5) An attempted coup on Ed Miliband will be openly discussed. - WRONG
6) Dominic Grieve will replace Ken Clarke as Justice Secretary. - WRONG
7) Vince Cable will leave the cabinet, replaced as Business Secretary by David Laws. - WRONG
8) Unemployment will decrease in at least one quarter as the private sector grows. - RIGHT
9) The FTSE will climb above 6,500. - WRONG
10) Strikes in London will help Ken Livingstone take the lead over Boris in the polls. - WRONG
11) Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty will all confirm they’re running for president. - WRONG
and 11 sporting predictions:
1) England will win the final Ashes test, taking the series 3-1. - RIGHT
2) Paul Collingwood will quit Test cricket. - RIGHT
3) England will win the Cricket World Cup. - WRONG
4) Roy Hodgson will be sacked as Liverpool manager. - RIGHT
5) Fernando Torres will leave Liverpool. - RIGHT
6) Manchester City will win the Premier League. - WRONG
7) Andy Murray will win a Grand Slam – probably the US Open. - WRONG
8) Rory McIlroy will win a major. - RIGHT
9) Ronnie O’Sullivan will announce his retirement. - WRONG
10) New Zealand will win the Rugby World Cup. - RIGHT
11) David Haye will beat both the Klitschko brothers before retiring. - WRONG
I’ll post my (hopefully more accurate) 2012 predictions tomorrow…
December 24, 2011 Any other business Comments Off
Just a quick line to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas! May you embrace the festivities with the same enthusiasm as this young lass…
December 18, 2011 Any other business Comments Off
For those of us who have long since tired of Simon Cowell’s latest mediocre Pop Idol Factor winner being Christmas Number One every year, the emergence onto this year’s scene of Gareth Malone’s Military Wives Choir is very welcome indeed. Made up of wives and girlfriends of serving military personnel, and with all profits going to the Royal British Legion and military charity SSAFA, it would be a hugely worthy winner.
November 13, 2011 Any other business Comments Off
- They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
- Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
- They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
- They fell with their faces to the foe.
- They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
- Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
- At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
- We will remember them.
October 30, 2011 Any other business Comments Off
When a snivelling leftie MP attempts to politicise the wearing of remembrance poppies – by criticising opponents for not yet wearing one, nearly three weeks before Remembrance Sunday – it can be easy to forget why we actually wear them. Poppies don’t exist to engender self-righteousness in the wearers, or to invoke some sort of unseemly race to demonstrate one’s virtue. They exist to honour those brave, heroic troops who have lost their lives since the First World War, and to raise funds for the invaluable work of the Royal British Legion.
So get yourself a poppy, and wear it with pride – but let that pride be in those who have served, not in yourself for wearing it.
[The Poppy Appeal site is here.]
September 22, 2011 Any other business Comments Off
The light blogging over the last couple of weeks is a reflection of work being madly busy at the moment, not – as one leftie friend suggested optimistically, yesterday – a sign of waning enthusiasm. Indeed, the ‘Boris backer’ project has really only just begun. As much as I enjoy the blog, though, the real pleasure comes from others’ apparent appreciation of it, and the knowledge that it might be making just the smallest contribution to Boris’ re-election efforts. Would I bother writing it if I had no readers? Probably not.
As such, I’m thrilled at the results of the Total Politics 2011 Blog Awards, which have been announced over the last couple of weeks. This site’s been voted the 12th best Conservative blog in the UK. Even more significantly, it’s been voted top of the ‘Blogs with Boris in the name’ category…
To anyone who voted, thank you.
It’s rare that comedy makes it into the news so the announcement of the winner of the award for the best joke of the Edinburgh Fringe is an annual highlight. The winner this year is Nick Helm for his joke: ”I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”, though I think I actually laughed more at Matt Kirshen’s effort which came in at number 5: “I was playing chess with my friend and he said, ‘Let’s make this interesting’. So we stopped playing chess.”
The political link – if you’re looking for one – is that Nick received his award from the TV channel Dave, allowing the Guardian to wittily declare “It’s official – Dave loves Nick”. They’re a clever bunch, aren’t they?
Last year’s winner was Tim Vine for his one-liner: “I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.” which, whilst quite clever, I remember not finding particularly funny – on paper, at least. Again, number 5 was probably the one I found funniest, just for the brilliant and unexpected imagery from Gary Delaney: ”As a kid I was made to walk the plank. We couldn’t afford a dog.”
The wooden spoon for the worst joke of this year’s festival was won – deservedly – by Paul Daniels: “I said to a fella ‘Is there a B&Q in Henley?’ He said ‘No, there’s an H, an E, an N an L and a Y’.”
February 20, 2011 Any other business Comments Off
The Daily Mail’s obsessive attempts to classify every inanimate object known to man into various cancer-related groupings – those that cause cancer, those that don’t cause cancer, those that prevent cancer – is a long-running joke in the world of print media. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing funny about cancer; there is something bizarre about the paper’s fixation with what does and doesn’t make us ill, and the frequently contradictory articles that they publish on a near-daily basis. Even despite its track record, the paper’s truly excelled itself in the last couple of days.
This was published yesterday…
This was published today…
(Hat-tip: willshome on Twitter.)
January 31, 2011 Any other business Comments Off
What would you do for a million pounds? What wouldn’t you do for a million pounds? YouGov have polled just over 2,000 adults to find out what they’d do for a million pounds cash. The results are both hilarious and intriguing. 31% of people would be photographed fully naked in a national newspaper, 18% would go an entire year without any human contact, 17% would have sex with someone they find physically repulsive, 15% would give up one of their kidneys, 9% would go without sunlight for a year, 8% would be waterboarded, 2% would play russian roulette, 2% would have an advertising slogan tattooed on their forehead and 1% would have one of their arms cut off.
The figures get really interesting when you look at the breakdown of the responses (see here). While just 13% of people in London would lose a kidney for a million pounds, 21% of Scots would happily part with the organ for the cash. A much higher proportion of Labour supporters than Conservatives would go a year without sunlight. While 7% of 18-24 year olds say they would have an advertising slogan tattooed on their foreheads, just 1% of people aged over 60 would do the same. 27% of men say they’d have sex with someone they find physically repulsive compared to just 7% of women. Perhaps most interestingly, just 13% of Scots say they’d go without sunlight for a year – I thought 100% of Scots did that already…
January 24, 2011 Any other business Comments Off
I’m just back from seeing The King’s Speech at the cinema. It’s a brilliant, funny, engaging, hugely enjoyable period-drama, well deserving of its wide plaudits and acclaim. Based on a true story, it follows the relationship between the stammering, stuttering Duke of York then King George VI (Colin Firth) and his speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Both Firth and Rush are superb (as is Helen Bonham Carter in her role as the spirited Duchess of York then King’s wife, the future Queen Mother).
The film essentially follows two parallel plots – Logue’s attempts to help the Duke deal with his chronic speech impediment, and the developments of the constitutional crisis that was King Edward VIII’s relationship with Wallis Simpson and ultimate abdication. Both are gripping, with the former becoming increasingly crucial as the latter results in the Duke unexpectedly becoming King. The film’s denouement comes at the point at which he has to give a nine-minute radio address to the country at the start of the Second World War.
It’s always hard to do a great film justice in a couple of hundred words. I’ve certainly come nowhere close. Let me put it this way, instead: if you haven’t seen it already, get yourself to a cinema.