The start of a new year is always a great time to make predictions which will ultimately be shown at the end of the year to be entirely misplaced.
That’s certainly true in politics. Who would have predicted a Conservative majority government at the start of last year. Well, me, actually… But I wouldn’t have predicted Jeremy Corbyn would be Labour leader… Or that Jim Murphy would be such a disaster as leader of Scottish Labour.
So,here are some predictions for 2016. Most revolve around the Scottish elections, since that’s what’s mostly on my radar right now.
The SNP will win a majority in the Holyrood elections
There’s nothing I can think of that can stop this. The question is, can they win a majority on constituency MSPs alone? They would need to pick up twelve of the twenty constituency seats they don’t currently hold in order to do this. I think it’ll be very close.
The Conservatives make gains on Labour
I don’t see Labour holding all thirty-seven seats they currently have. They currently hold fifteen constituency seats. Good luck.
The Conservatives, on the other hand, will, I think, gain a small handful of seats, mainly on the list. They’ll gain on Labour more because Labour lose seats rather than by gaining their own, but I think it will be a bit of both.
The Greens will finish with more seats than the Liberal Democrats
The Lib Dems will struggle. I think they’ll pick up a single constituency seat and a few on the list. The Greens won’t win any constituency MSPs, but they’ll win more on the list, because they’ll pick up pro-indy, anti-SNP votes. I’d be surprised if the Liberal Democrats get 5% of the vote.
I would say Willie Rennie will no longer be their Scottish leader, but will there really be anyone there to replace him? I think it’ll be grim for the Liberal Democrats, despite the outward optimism they seem to have now.
Britain will vote to remain in the EU
I know Brits are hardly fond of the European Union, but I don’t think people will be prepared to take the risk of leaving when faced with the choice in a referendum. When making a choice, thinking about factors like jobs and money in their pockets, people will stick to what they know. They won’t want to take the risk.
Don’t believe me? Well, it was the same with Ed Miliband.
Jeremy Corbyn will survive as Labour leader
Getting rid of Corbyn would result in full-scale civil war. Labour MPs will decide to let him continue to poll badly, rather than stick the knife in quickly. It’s probably safer.
Hillary Clinton will win the US Presidential race
This will happen for the simple reason that no-one can beat her to the Democratic Party nomination, and all the Republican Party candidates that might do well are crackpots can’t reach out to enough voters. That, in essence, is the problem the Republican Party has at every election at the moment.
London will get a new mayor
But I’ve no idea who. London mayoral election’s are a mug’s game. I think it’ll be the tightest mayoral election yet, though. If forced to make a prediction, I’d probably pick Sadiq Khan, based on gut instinct and nothing else.