Business Eye: How I fared on 2014 predictions

Alex Pratt
Alex Pratt

It’s time to come clean on my predictions for the year made in my Jan 8, 2014 column.

Top of the list was that Alex “Braveheart” Salmond would not convince the Scottish half of my family ton vote for independence. Tick; a full five points.

Moving to infrastructure I predicted the Government would fail to apply the brakes to the runaway HS2 train and would not take the urgently needed decision on air capacity at Heathrow. Ten more points. Ching ching.

While the news has recently been sparked by the prospect of the lights flickering off as potential power shortages start appearing as predicted, this has thus far been avoided but only because emergency reserve services have been deployed by the National Grid. So, I’m giving myself 3 out of 5 on this one. I suggested that our growth spurt would stutter before the year end, and the Bank of England would raise interest rates. Growth has slowed but is still pretty strong by global comparisons so perhaps 2 out of 5 is fair, but I called interest rates completely wrong, so a big fat zero there.

I went out on a hopeful limb to suggest that Pinewood Studios would be granted permission to add over 3,000 new highly skilled local jobs (5 points) and that the pressure for more efficient local government would intensify under continuing austerity cuts in favour of Unitary Councils.

With BCC now pursuing a combined authority model and AVDC having made a unilateral dash for unitary status just last week, I should award myself 10 out of 5 or “200%” as Simon Cowell might say, but will settle for the full 5 points.

While the price of gold has been much higher than the $1200/Oz at the start, for most of the year offering significant profit potential for those who got in and out, it is finishing at the roughly same level so perhaps 2 out of the possible 5 is fair.By my reckoning that’s 32 from a possible 45. That is 71%. An A minus?

It all sounds very Derren Brown until you remember the huge events that I failed to predict, like Russia invading the Ukraine, the appearance of the dark ISIS genie, the outbreak of Ebola, landing a space probe on a comet 33 million miles away, the plunge of Bitcoin, the $25Billion arrival of Alibaba, and the staggering halving of oil prices.

2015 predictions will follow next week.