Sunday 31 December 2017

Correspondents Look Ahead

As I've written before, I've been tuning into (and enjoying) Radio 4's Correspondents Look Ahead for decades now, and this year was no different. 

A few years back, in the early years of this blog, I posted a review of the predictions made on the previous year's edition and found them to be almost entirely wrong, and I had great fun pointing it out (especially at Paul Mason's expense). The post even got a mention on that year's Correspondents Look Ahead where I was cast as "a rather unkind blogger". 

Unfortunately for me, however, it backfired. I really do think that the programme became far more cautious - indeed boring - as a result, especially for the next couple of years when hardly any concrete (i.e. potentially embarrassing) predictions were made. 

Thankfully, especially as I've held back recently in pointing out the wrong predictions recently, we've finally arrived back the stage where caution is being thrown to the wind again - though, that said, quite a few of this year's predictions weren't exactly that daring!

Here's a list of the predictions for 2018. Should we all rush out to the bookies?


James Naughtie 
  • Donald Trump will be devastated by insider revelations about chaos in the White House.
  • The Democrats will win control of the House of Representatives in the November election.
  • Donald Trump's tax bill is going to prove "spectacularly unpopular with voters".
  • Russia will have a successful World Cup.
  • Joe Biden will announce that he's running for the presidency but won't win the nomination.
  • There'll be some form of internet collapse.

James Robbins

  • The Democrats will win control of the House in the November election.
  • There will be a Cuba+++ moment in South Korea with the mass evacuation of Seoul due to US/North Korean tension.
  • There will be "a non-disastrous rumbling on" of the Brexit talks. 
  • The UK government will suffer at least one substantial House of Commons defeat led by Remainers but will then narrowly squeak through a confidence motion and avoid a general election.
  • Russia will not have a successful World Cup because of its far-right and outside media scrutiny.
  • 2018 will be the year of renewables and batteries. 

Carrie Gracie 

  • Donald Trump will announce a series of "robust measures" to try to deal with the enormous trade deficits that the United States suffers in relation to China.
  • There will be negotiations on the Korean peninsula between China, the United States, South Korea and North Korea. A deal will be struck whereby North Korea agrees to freeze its nuclear and missile programmes in exchange for the US and South Korea "dialling back" their military exercises on the peninsula.
  • Either the Dalai Lama or the Pope will make a visit to China.

Yolande Knell 

  • The Democrats will win control of the House in the November election.
  • Donald Trump will launch and pursue a peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians which won't succeed.
  • Donald Trump will reimpose US sanctions on Iran but the Iran Nuclear Deal will survive thanks to its other signatories.
  • Russia's Syria peace conference will fail to bring about peace.
  • PM Haider al-Abadi and President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi will win their respective elections.
  • Yair Lapid (a "moderate") will lead the next Israeli government after the fall of Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • Mohammed bin-Salman's popularity will drop with the young because of his austerity measures and the contrast with his own lavish lifestyle.
  • Mohammed bin-Salman to squeeze Jordan and the Palestinians over accepting the terms of a Trump peace plan.
  • There'll be a resurgence of al-Qaeda.

Owen Bennett-Jones 

  • Imran Khan to become PM of Pakistan.

Kevin Connolly 

  • The Democrats will win control of the House in the November election.
  • Because of his "terrible" polling numbers Donald Trump might be content to be a one-term president and stand aside.
  • Brexit is going to rumble along "a bit less disastrously than you might think".
  • Russia will have a successful World Cup.
  • Trouble for the EU will come from Poland and Hungary for the EU and they may be more awkward for the EU than the UK ever was.


  • Vladimir Putin will win the Russian election.

The one that made me chuckle was OB-J's prediction that Imran Khan might become PM of Pakistan. Imran Khan's big breakthrough has been a regular prediction on Correspondents Look Ahead, on and off, for years now. And it's never happened so far. Will it finally come true?


  1. "Imran Khan's big breakthrough has been a regular prediction on Correspondents Look Ahead, on and off, for years now. And it's never happened so far. Will it finally come true?"

    Answer: NO!!! Thrice no. Never was going to happen, never will for a whole host of reasons including the fact that Western Media keep pushing him.

    The BBC like to push Imran Khan as a westernised guy but you should hear the things Khan comes out with in Pakistan. He's fully signed up to Sharia Law.

    1. Yes.

      Amusingly, looking back, OB-J actually made that very prediction about Imran Khan at the end of 2011 (about 2012). I wrote:

      "OBJ predicted that Imran Khan would, if Mr. Zardari fell, become his successor (in power terms if not as president). Not yet, Owen, not yet. (Hopefully, not ever, not ever.)"

  2. Carrie Gracie's are pretty good, as is she. Most of these predictions are just wishful thinking from those who only pay attention to their own narrative.
    I think Trump's tax reforms are a crap shoot, but may just make a lot of his base happy in a 'jam today' kind of way. If he can get some kind of deal with China (without doubt the most threatening business
    entity constantly and mystically ignored by the media), he'll have a score.

    US Blue state politicians will be asked some "hey, what are we paying for?" questions after February. And of course Katty Kay will find some bleaters. Te-dum.

    If he can keep his General's mitts out of Iran, and stop re-tweeting without checking, I think Trump might have a good 2018. No more PNAC plans, Donald. Back off.

    I also reckon the Russia collusion investigation is going to backfire spectacularly on the US Dems. To keep up with it all, I watch the Tucker Carlson show on You Tube every night instead of the BBC late news. The narrative is somewhat different.

    Russia will have a good World Cup 'cos their hooligans have been forewarned. It's not rocket science.

    Finally, I think that moves to cancel Brexit will come quite quickly in 2018. The proof of that is in the lack of any pudding, and the British government trying to drown itself in the gravy of PESCO etc.
    This blog is great, please keep it up. Happy New Year to both of you.

    1. Yes Carrie Gracie is worth 100 average BBC journos.

      And yes, the whole Mueller investigation, Clinton defence strategy is in tatters. Tucker Carslon is a good source of news on it. But if you went by BBC absolutely NOTHING has been happening on the Mueller investigation over the last four weeks. This despite the fact that they must have about 40 staff covering the USA on a permanent basis.

    2. Thanks Enough. Happy New Year to you too.

  3. predictions for 2017 last edition
    - 9m20s Sopel and all agree that Trump won’t walk away from the Paris Climate deal WRONG
    - 27m20s Embassy won’t be moved to Jerusalem say 2 WRONG
    1 says yes and there will be a new Intifada
    - They predicted about Trump foreign visits
    ..they said no early visits to mainland Europe
    So they suggested Russia/Canada/UK ..which of course he has not visited
    He began with Saudi, Israel, Italy so all 3 beeboids were WRONG

  4. Some 2018 comments
    44:30 James Robbins : "I predict a substantial tipping point in energy
    - 2018 is decisively the year for renewables ..waffle waffle"
    - "Tide for Fracking is running out" (surely wrong ! only people who don't want it are the Russian and Saudis cos they want us to buy their oil/gas)
    - "skids under Hinckley point"

    They claimed Trump has terrible approval ratings
    really ??
    \\ On Dec. 28, 2009, according to a Rasmussen poll, Obama had a 47 percent approval rating.
    On Dec. 28, 2017, Trump had a 46 percent approval rating.
    Obama’s approval rating on December 29, 2009 —just one day later — was 46 percent, the exact same as Trump’s. //
    Ramussen is a non lefty polling org but proves accurate


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.