Columnist Will Mapplebeck is bang on for some of his 2017 predictions a year ago. And, whoops, he really wrote some howlers too…
Never predict anything, particularly in sport and politics. But, back in January I had a go and got some stuff right. But a lot more stuff wrong.
Things I got right:
Merkel stays on – Merkel did hang on in Germany, although at the time of writing she’s going through some pretty tricky negotiations to stay in the job.
Crossings continue – Not so much fresh as continuing under the media radar. Thousands are still risking their lives crossing from North Africa to Europe, 3,000 have died since January in the Mediterranean. Recently migrants have been attempting to negotiate the Alps in midwinter in trainers.
Yellows in peril – I predicted the Lib Dems wouldn’t go anywhere, and it came to pass. The combination of a new leader and a strong anti-Brexit stance has not paid dividends in the polls. They appear to be treading water. For now, we are back to a two-party system in English politics.
Austerity stinks – The prediction I’m most proud of. Jeremy Corbyn changed the game on this. The Conservatives lost the narrative and Corbyn showed there is a vocal and engaged portion of the electorate who endorse and champion higher public spending.
North Korea – Easy to predict but it became more of a flashpoint throughout the year as the two leaders sabre-rattled dangerously. No-one could have predicted the name calling though. Rocket man?
Celtic tops – I got this right and wrong. The Hoops won the SPL by roughly 20 zillion points but this did not spark much introspection north of the border or any serious talk of them joining the Premier League.
Things I got wrong:
Over and out for Fillon – The overwhelming favourite did not become President of France. A combination of a bright young challenger and his own finance scandals consigned him to the dustbin. In fact, he ended the year by exiting from politics completely.
Italian instability – Only a few things are certain in life – death, taxes and a new Italian Government every year or so. However, I was wrong again. It’s been a quiet year by Italian political standards and the next election is scheduled for 2018. I won’t be predicting that one.
May in May – Well, that was a surprise. It turned out she did go for a poll, but in June not May, and it all went swimmingly…
Corbyn the untouchable – Contrary to what I predicted, Labour lost the Cumbrian seat but it didn’t make any difference to Corbyn (see very left) or his Teflon leadership. Events later in the year would cement his authority within the party.
Trumped by Trump – Mind-blowingly wrong. I predicted that Trump would tone it down on the international stage and might seek to roll back on domestic promises. The exact opposite happened.
And finally, in sport – England’s women did reach the semi-final of the Women’s European Football Championships, but they were expected to do better. I also confidently predicted another Andy Murray major and in a tournament he hadn’t won before. Unfortunately, he got a hip injury and never competed at his best this year.