I'm taking awkward look back at my 2020 crystal balls-ups, says Paul Routledge

That does it. The crystal ball can go back to the charity shop.

I should have known, at that price it wasn’t one of Madam Petulengro’s cast-offs.

Many of my predictions for 2020 in Owd Routledge’s Almanac last January were not so much off target as off the shooting range.

I thought the new Labour leader might be a woman, and while some may consider Sir Keir Starmer a bit of an old lady at times, that was wrong.

I prophesied that Donald Trump would be re-elected President of the USA, but only he and his lawyers agreed with me. The rest of the world thinks it’s Joe Biden.

I forecast that Wimbledon would be won by a new kid on the block, and the Tokyo Olympics would be marred by political shenanigans and accusations of doping.

Neither of these came true because neither event took place. Covid-19 ­intervened, and I didn’t see that coming, but nobody else did either.

With, I am told, the exception of an ­astrologer, who obviously knew already that I’d get it wrong. I don’t feel I’m much of a threat to the ­star-gazing professionals.

But I did get some things right. I did predict that the Queen would celebrate her 94th birthday amid fresh scandals about the dysfunctional Royal family.

This was an easy hit, I fear. There is a new royal scandal every year.

This year, it was Harry and Meghan the runaway royals, plus the continuing saga of the Duke of York and his, er, unwise connection with an American celebrity sex offender.

I did also prognosticate that Boris Johnson’s talks with EU on a new trade deal after Brexit would fail in September. They did, and again and again.

I further predicted that the autumn party political conference would be “a non-event”.

They were, because they were cancelled due to Covid-19 – a rather cheeky hit, I know, but what the hell. Let’s take credit as we can.

And I said the UK-sponsored ­international conference on climate change scheduled for November in Glasgow would end in tears.

It did, or rather the crying game is still ongoing because the ­tree-huggers’ big bash was another victim of the virus. I reiterate that prediction, because the environmentalists are never happy with what comes out of these events.

Pointing out that December marked the 60th anniversary of Coronation Street, I suggested that veteran star Bill “Cock” Roache would complain that he hasn’t got a much-deserved knighthood.

I haven’t heard him doing so, but I bet he’s grinding those shiny white teeth in private. Waiting longer than Ken Dodd for your K can’t do much for a showbiz personality’s self-esteem.

Another forecast I can reprise for 2021 with total accuracy: I will once again be overlooked in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

And once again I can rejoice that I am not numbered in a list that includes
Sir Rentagob, aka Iain Duncan Smith, knighted for a long political career ­dedicated to impoverishing the poor.

Finally, I repeat my wish of a Happy New Year to all readers.

Twelve months ago, I concluded: “Surely this year can’t be as bad as the last one – but you never know.”

Now that’s what I call a prediction!


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