Alastair Meeks reflects on last night’s events

Alastair Meeks reflects on last night’s events

Thursday night’s drama was hugely enjoyable.  There’s nothing I enjoy more than a series of unfolding surprises.  It’s led us to a whole new political landscape, with a whole new range of political problems to chew over.

But, to borrow a phrase that has been heard a lot this week, enough is enough.  Much though it is a blow to the ego, I have to admit that while I know a lot of information about politics I clearly do not understand it in any way meaningful enough to draw conclusions about uncertain matters.  The last two years have illustrated that over and over again.

In 2015 I had confidently expected a hung Parliament.  I was amazed that the Conservatives secured an overall majority.  In the ensuing leadership election campaign for Labour, I dismissed Jeremy Corbyn’s chances until it was apparent that a bandwagon was rolling.  When he won, I dismissed his chances of ever getting a fair hearing from the public for his ideas.

In 2016, I confidently expected Remain to win the EU referendum.  I did not believe that the public were ready to be so reckless as to press a big red button just to see what happened.

And so to this year.  I thought that Theresa May calling the election was a good idea, to capitalise on Labour weakness.  Despite the Conservatives running a dismal campaign and Theresa May seeming aloof and panicky, I expected them to achieve a hefty victory based on the entrenched hostile views that large sections of the population had about Jeremy Corbyn.

In short, I have been crushingly wrong about many of the most important political judgement calls of the last two years.  For someone who spends a lot of time thinking about politics and who makes money out of betting on it, that’s appalling and humiliating. 

I realise that an awful lot of apparently intelligent people made exactly the same mistakes.   That gives me no comfort at all.  I’m not aiming to be in good company, I’m aiming to get under the bonnet of what’s going on.  Transparently, I’m failing too often.  I expect those apparently intelligent people would rather be more accurate too.  No doubt they are going to need to consider how they do better.

I have made some progress in the last two years because I have become much quicker to recognise that I might be wrong.  This didn’t just save me money this time, it made me money.  That, however, is a workaround.

I have two choices.  I can seek to sweep this under the carpet.  Or I can accept that I urgently need to start seeking out new perspectives, to be checking existing ideas against new developments and generally being more open-minded.  Only the second is an honest choice.  So I’m going to try to take it.  Who knows, it might actually be fun.

Lawyers aren’t big on humility.  Oh well.  I suppose that’s something else I’m going to have to start learning fast too.

Alastair Meeks

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