Well its certainly been an eventful year for this blogger.
So how did my crystal ball predictions of 2012 do (remember I made them just after Cameron's bounce after the EU Budget veto last year)
1) Boris Johnson will win the Mayoralty election and Labour will win the London Assembly elections. Labour will make gains against Liberal Democrats in urban centres in Council elections across the UK.
- 100% accurate. Boris won the mayoralty with a 3% lead in a tight race. Labour secured eight of the London Assembly's 14 first-past-the-post constituencies, gaining two from the Tories, which left them with six. In the local elections Labour gained 823 councillors nationally, as the Tories lost 405 and the Lib Dems 336.
2) The government will announce a cross-party review on aviation and will formerly look into the possibility of an airport in North Kent - consulting with local authorities in the region. Medway Conservative MPs will not apologise for mis-representing the airport position to the public for 3 years
- 80% accurate. The government announced an independent review on aviation which will yes, formerly assess whether a airport in North Kent is feasible. Widely seen as a grass kick exercise after which the Transport Secretary was reshuffled. Medway MPs have still not apologised for calling this entirely wrong and nor have they accepted the government has undertaken a u-turn in considering any proposal for an airport on the Peninsula
3) The Olympics will be a success and will mark the change in economic fortune for the UK. There will be recession - albeit a small one - in many industry sectors from January-July 2012
- 80% accurate. The Olympics did see growth of 0.9% on the quarter but the UK is certainly not out of a recession caused by George Osborne making the wrong call in 2010. Await Q3/Q4 data but looks like growth has returned albeit very weak. George cut before the economy recovered which is why we are still stagnating as other countries in the G7 saw growth. Tories on course to borrow more in 5 years then Labour in 13 despite all the hot air on cutting taxes and deregulation. Tories broke their own golden deficit reduction target rule of zero-deficit in five years.
4) Rehman Chisthi will become a PPS
- 0% accurate. It seems his standing in the Parliamentary Conservative Party is at rock bottom. Probably wasn't helped by his noted absence during the early months of 2012.
5) Medway will continue to have appalling KS2 and Primary school results. The 11+ fiasco will be hushed up with a move to primary-school based testing absolving the politicians of all responsibilty; there will be a further move to re-organise Primary Schools in Medway.
- 100% accurate. Medway came bottom of table on KS2 results and Primary school OFSTED reports were pretty poor as well; relatively speaking to other locations. The 11+ fiasco was clouded in one consultation after another after another about whether exams should be taken in Primary Schools or centres; which to this day I think is still out to consultation (seems to be mentioned monthly in Messenger). There was an announced change in Primary schools with expansion in Chatham; two years after Ridge Meadow was closed on the bank of incorrect stats
6) Councillor O'Brien will make an unsuccessful bid for the Police Commissioner role but will be outfoxed by a KCC-sponsored candidate with populist appeal.
- 50% accurate. Cllr O'Brien did run for PCC and he was outfoxed, but by another Medway Conservative; an individual known to court popular appeal it sadly ended in a flat rejection from the people of Kent.
7) Councillor Chambers will continue as leader of the Medway Conservative Group, ostensibly as a result of weak and incapable positioning of Conservative back-benchers in Rochester & Strood who will of course remain loyal to him to the press
- 100% accurate. A decade on and we still have a weak cabinet and Cllr Chambers is still in charge. We had factional splits in the open though with the Mayoralty vote which pitted the Rochester & Strood candidate against the anointed Rainham choice; Rainham won through.
8) The next Medway Conservative Council budget will be as balanced on paper but as usual unbalanced in outcome. This years budget, which is currently in deficit to the tune of £7.9m, will not be equalised. Money will be taken out of reserves to cover up shortfall.
- 50% accurate. Too early to tell (still waiting for Q4 out-turn).
9) The Better for Less programme will see massive, but covered-up, delays in rolling-out across the Council. It will not save £2.4m, but this will be deftly accounted for in overspends in other budgets to hide the delays that always happen with PwC projects.
- 0% accurate. Too early too tell. Probably incorrect at this point.
10) Councillor Les Wicks will be re-shuffled in April/May 2012
- 0% accurate. Cllr Les Wicks remains very much in post
11) Further Medway Liberal Democrat wobbles will continue to cause damage as the party squabbles about its future. The party will further retrench itself into defending urban seats rather than focusing on sub-urban areas it could win in 2019.
- 80% accurate. Cllr Stamp furore continues to damage this year with claim and counterclaim still going back and forth. Lib Dems locally are still incapable of organising themselves but the rump that remains however has stuck with it. Leaks suggest they will focus on retaining the Councillors they have but hard to verift.
12) Train fares will go up by 5-7% and bus fares 6-10% at the end of 2012 despite Conservative pledges. IPSA rules will be changed so Tory MPs do not need to disclose transport as an item on Parliamentary expenses.