We don’t do predictions…especially about the future

Posted on: 18th May 2011

Originally posted December 29th 2009

Kelvin Mackenzie once claimed that his letter of dismissal to the Sun’s astrologer began with the line “As you will no doubt have foreseen”.

Although I remain optimistic about the fortunes for Cornwall and Scilly in the New Year, I’m not going to predict with confidence what will happen.

New years are also opportunities for new resolutions. Perhaps we wouldn’t put so much store in the hope offered by a new year if we didn’t harbour disappointments or regrets about the past? Just so for the political classes of Westminster Village.

It is just possible to survive in politics; but only if you remain irrepressibly optimistic. Most days need to resemble a New Year’s Day! A fresh dawn. A clean slate. A new opportunity to put the world right… in spite of the knock backs and disappointments of the past.

Will 2010 rise above the mire of tribal Party politics? Surely we all want a rapid upturn in the fortunes of our economy, to protect public services as we cut public debt, to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, to reverse the human impact on climate change and to clean-up politics itself. To do this we must look forward with hope in our hearts. Open to those rare nuggets of constructive advice, politicians must find ways of protecting themselves from the battalions of critics hoping, praying and plotting for their downfall.

When explaining why he did not become a politician, Peter Ustinov said that he “could not stand the strain of having to be right all the time”. But you won’t find many politicians making confident predictions – especially about the future! Juggernauts of benefit of hindsight but precious little foresight.

Parliamentary colleagues will be very deeply shocked at the news of the sudden death of one the Common’s most independent minds and effective back-benchers – David Taylor MP for North West Leicestershire. Hard-working, he was one of those who saw his job more as a calling. Very commited, he probably took on too much. Always earnest, he was deeply sincere. He suffered unfairly when his family and he were falsely accused when the expenses scandal unfolded. He and I occasionally shared notes. Always optimistic about our impact upon the process of policy making, he nevertheless felt resigned to an MP’s lot as powerless casualties of an over mighty media.