Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Upon Revisiting My Predictions for 2009 - "The Average Prognosticator"

Yes, when it comes to predicting the future, I’m just plain Average. That may not come as a surprise to many. Certainly not to me. Heck, I’m often glad that my predictions don’t come true, maybe because I often expect things to turn out a little more negatively than they do.

Last year, in a blogpost dated December 30, 2008, I made a number of predictions about 2009. It’s time to revisit those predictions to assess just how poorly I did. Follow-up is necessary, I think, so that you will be better prepared for the rash predictions I’m sure to make for the year 2010.

1. More War

Well, I kind of got that one right. I’ll give myself an A anyway. First, the loser prediction, which was more of a toss-off than serious analysis. Thankfully, there was no Israeli assault on Iranian nuclear reactors. Maybe I’ll re-hash that again for 2010.

With regards to Obama not being the Prince of Peace many thought that he would be, I can point to the Afghan surge of an additional 30,000 troops on their way to that troubled territory as evidence that the President remains a war hawk. Troop draw downs in Iraq have been negligible, although things seemed to have remained relatively quiet there throughout the year. Pakistan, though, as predicted, is on the verge of implosion; well, at least the Zardari government is. What might replace the U.S.’s plenipotentiary in the region is anyone’s guess. A more Islamicized government of the people? Sharif? Or perhaps General Kiyani will be the new American order-taker on the block. Either way, Pakistan fell increasingly into internal turmoil throughout 2009, and things look rather grim for the region in 2010.

2. Another General Election in Canada

Well, I mostly blew that call. Definitely D territory here. I say "mostly" because there were few nuggets there which I think I got right. Yes, sure, I know, there was no fall election. Heck, that surprised me more than most, I think. I really didn’t think that Jack Layton was going to reverse years of NDP political direction, betraying the loyalists in his Party in the process, for short-term political gains (that being maintaining the status-quo in Parliament instead of a loss of seats for the NDP; recall that when the election show-down finally did materialize this fall, the NDP had slipped in the polls).

Ignatieff, however, did sink the "Liberal - NDP Coalition supported by the Bloc" as I predicted (uhm, I don’t think I was alone with that prediction, least not on the 30th of December last year). Ultimately, most of the Liberals voted with the Conservatives in support of the budget. I said that some Libs would absent themselves from the vote. Instead, a cadre of Newfoundland and Labrador Libs actually voted against the budget, so I’m taking half a point there for my prediction (don’t agree? Sue me).

For the election which didn’t happen, I predicted a somewhat reduced Conservative Minority government, with seat gains by the Liberals at the expense of the NDP, and no Green elected. If current polls are any indicator of electoral success (and I know that they’re not, but if they were), likely the outcome wouldn’t be all that different than I predicted, except I don’t think that the NDP will lose as many seats to the Liberals as I once thought. Even though Layton played politics at the expense of ideology, the NDP has been holding their own these past couple of months. We Greens should be concerned about this, as weak-NDP supporters are one of our core target groups to poach votes from, especially if they’re under 30 years of age.

Finally, I predicted that Michael Ignatieff would brand himself with Canadians as a "Consultative Strong-Man, who knows just what the economy needs." I was wrong on all counts there. First, Ignatieff has failed to brand himself as anything at all. Instead, the Conservative’s "Just Visiting" pre-election campaigning has succeeded to a degree in branding him instead. But give some credit to Ignatieff here too: he just didn’t seem to want to tell Canadians what he’s all about. Or what the Liberal Party really stands for. As far as knowing just what the economy needs, Ignatieff and the Liberals just don’t have a clue, at least not one which they’ve articulated. What particularly galled me in 2009 was Ignatieff’s call for continuing to promote dirty oil extraction from the tar sands as Canada’s economic development engine. Liberal Premiers McGuinty in Ontario and Charest in Quebec must be scratching their heads about this, as the Canadian petrol-dollar continues to creep upwards, throwing thousands in the manufacturing sector in Central Canada out of jobs.

Yes, with the consultative and decisive leadership displayed by Michael Ignatieff, the Liberals must be feeling really smug at the end of 2009. Of course, they will likely elect someone in the next election.

3. The Green Party will not Elect a Single MP

Well, I got this one right, but not for the right reasons, so I’ll give myself a B- on this count. See, given that I was predicting a general election in this fall, this prediction would have had a little more weight had that event actually occurred. Instead, we had only 4 by-elections. But there were a few other things going on this past year: general elections in British Columbia and Nova Scotia. In all of these elections, the Green Party failed to elect anyone to a legislature. Further, results in all of these elections for Green candidates were far less than we expected them to be.

As far as the Federal by-elections went, results were terrible. We couldn’t even hold onto the gains we had made since 2008. By-elections are probably the best opportunities our Party has to elect someone, given that the fate of the government does not hang in the balance, and voters are less likely to vote strategically. Yet, we really blew it with the by-elections.

One bright spot: now-GPO Leader Mike Schreiner did well in a Ontario provincial by-election where he faced off against (former) PC Leader John Tory and the Liberal who eventually won (whose name I don’t recall). Schreiner out-polled the NDP and did pretty well in a part of the province Greens haven’t had a lot of success in (Haliburton-Kawartha).

4. Establishment of a North American Cap and Trade System

A for effort here, F for timing. Look, despite Lorrie Goldstein’s syndicated daily rants in my local newspaper, a North American Cap and Trade system is on its way in. Although Goldstein makes me very, very angry, with regards to cap and trade, I think he’s on to something. In my opinion, this isn’t the brightest idea out there regarding how to price carbon. I’m very concerned about the loopholes which are going to be created for the coal and likely tar-sands industries. I don’t like the fact that other industrial sectors are going to be on the emissions-hook for cleaning themselves up while some of the biggest polluters are let off with intensity-based targets (here I’m VERY concerned about impacts on extractive industries in the mining sector).

Cap and Trade is going to happen; just not in 2009. Whether it’ll reduce greenhouse gas emissions or not remains to be seen.

5. The Vancouver Canucks Win the Stanley Cup

A big fat F here for me, and an A+ for the person picking after me in the hockey pool, which happened to be my wife. I took Daniel Sedin, she took Sid the Kid Crosby, and the rest is history (which I still haven’t managed to live down).

So what’s that...Two A’s, a B-, a D and two F’s. Kind of looks my report card from first year university. Anyway, not bad for 5 predictions; at least I received 6 marks, with a median of a C (ok, almost a C-). Lookit me, Blogosphere! I’m Average! Which puts my crystal ball gazing right up there in the ethereal rarified atmosphere amongst the truly giant in the realm of celeb prognosticators like Margarate Wente of the Globe and Mail. Be still, my beating heart!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)