It is time to salute the brilliance of the visionary that is Diane Abbott

It is time to salute the brilliance of the visionary that is Diane Abbott

Another reminder not to dismiss seemingly outlandish political predictions

A year ago this weekend Diane Abbott made this prediction

Labour will be level-pegging with the Conservatives within a year, Diane Abbott has said amid more woeful polling for Jeremy Corbyn’s party.

Labour slumped to fourth place in the Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election this week, while the Conservatives enjoyed a 17-point lead over the official opposition in a YouGov survey on Friday.

The Shadow Home Secretary suggested the party’s recent poor showing stemmed from the moves against Mr Corbyn’s leadership this summer.

Speaking to the Andrew Marr show, she conceded Labour has gone through a “very difficult year” and argued “it was always going to take time to pull round from that”.

“But I think we are coming together now. We’ve got a new chief whip, Nick Brown, who’s one of the most experienced party managers in the House of Commons,” she explained.

“I think that as we come together, as you hear less noises off, I believe we can close the polling gap.”

When asked to give a timeline for Labour to narrow the gap to the Tories in the opinion polls, Ms Abbott replied: “I’m confident we’re going to close the gap in the coming 12 months.

“We’ve had a pretty difficult 12 months – partly [due to] Jeremy’s enemies in the party, partly commentators. But we have the right policies and we have the right leader.”

Ms Abbott also said that claims the Labour party is in demise are “much exaggerated”.

“We are the largest social democratic party in Europe,” she declared. “That huge surge in membership is due to the current leadership. We have the right policies on whether it’s the NHS, whether it’s investing in the economy.

“As you know the Tories are fatally split on Europe. It consumed John Major’s leadership, it consumed David Cameron, I believe it will consume Theresa May.”

Shortly after Diane Abbott made her prediction I wrote a piece on PB tipping the 10/1 on Labour polling below 20% at the next general election which tells you what I thought about the chances about Diane Abbott’s prediction coming true.

But twelve months on the polling averages have it neck and neck whilst Survation, the current gold standard of polling, have Labour 8% ahead. Twelve months ago very few could have predicted Mrs May to go back on her word and hold a snap election, run up a 25% lead in the polls, and then run the worst general election campaign in living memory.

After the 2015 general election result, Corbyn becoming leader, Brexit, Trump becoming President, and the Tories losing their majority against Corbyn, we shouldn’t be quite so dismissive of outlandish predictions.

As for Diane Abbott, her prediction seems to be a lot better than Jeremy Corbyn’s prediction in June that he’d be Prime Minister by Christmas. Perhaps we should all start paying closer attention to the pronouncements of Diane Abbott, for the first time in a while I’m feeling a little bit confident about my bet on Diane Abbott being Corbyn’s successor.


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