Well! We’ve seen it all over the last two years and now I’m done with all predictions.
First we had the anxiety over the Scottish Referendum. The final predictions were wrong and after a sleepless night the vote was for Scotland to remain in the UK.
Then it was the General Election. We were told the Conservatives didn’t have a chance to beat Labour.
Wrong, against all the predictions they did.
This year we had the Referendum for whether to stay in the European Union. The Politicians were confident we would remain and so were the polls. Once again they were a far way out and we are now saddled with Brexit.
Last week, the greatest upset of all – in spite of a predicted Democrat win we now have a highly unpredictable man, with no political experience, a bully, a racist and a womaniser, destined for the White House.
Consequently the world is in shock.
So what do we make of all this? Clearly we can no longer put our trust in any polls or predictions. The question is – why and where have they gone so wrong? I expect with all the postmortems and analysis that will now go on, some conclusions will be drawn – but it won’t change the results.
Surely it is time to accept that it is an impossible task to make accurate forecasts in such a changing political world? But I suspect polls will go on because otherwise a lot of pollsters would be out of a job! They will continue in spite of their failures. However in future polls we should remember that not even ‘margin of error’ in the American election polls was accurate. All the predicted polls in the marginal states were completely wrong.
It is clear that in making these recent predictions neither politicians, the media or pollsters seem to have taken into account the views of the general public – and the views of the general public have, in recent years, become highly unpredictable. It is not just the question of what is the usual way for voters to go, nowadays people use their vote as one of protest and an opportunity to air their grievances. There is a need to make general unhappiness known and felt – and the most effective way of doing this is with the vote.
It must be time for politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to have a re-think.
In the UK we should really consider whether calling a Referendum over a major and history-changing decision is a wise move. I think it can’t be. It can’t be just a simple ‘yes or no’ question that is thrown at us, the issues involved are far too complicated.
Also, instead of being given advice over the decision in a Referendum, the general public is filled with either fear or false hope. It gives the politicians and leaders a chance to make predictions of disaster, or promises of great benefits, all of which are quickly forgotten once the vote is over.
In the States there surely has to be a re-think over the way the election of a President and leader of the Western World should be arranged? So often the decision over who should be leader relies on a few swing states – and disregards the popular vote.
I am sure that like the gun laws, this way of voting will never be changed – but all I know is that it can’t be satisfactory to be landed with a deeply divided country, full of fear and anger. Again promises have been made by Trump in order to win the US Presidential Election which are being immediately disregarded. In both the US and UK it has been a cynical exercise which borders on the criminal.
So what of the future? At the moment it looks to many of us to be pretty grim. In Britain we have been landed with Brexit with all the insecurity and uncertainty it brings. Many of us now fear for the stability, financial and political, of the country. In such an uncertain world it might have been sensible to keep as many allies as possible, yet we have done the unthinkable and made an enemy of Europe. We also have the ‘Three Stooges’ who have been appointed by Mrs May to sort it out. There is little confidence in them being able to do this.
To add to this nightmare we have Trump heading for the White House, surrounding himself with far right politicians – with his two greatest foreign allies being Putin and Farage – and I am no fan of either.
My usual optimism is being severely tested and I rather fear for our children and grandchildren.
In future I am just going to stick to the Stars for any predictions. At least I don’t have to take them seriously.