It’s time for my annual demonstration that forecasting and prophecy are two distinct disciplines. When interpreting what follows, bear in mind that I’m not even reliably wrong. Here goes…

  • SYRIZA will win the Greek elections. There will then follow an extended game of Chicken in which SYRIZA refuses to pay Greece’s debts to other Eurozone member governments, and the ECB threatens to cut off the Greek banks, gradually strangling them. If that does not lead to Grexit in 2015 (the most likely consequence), it will be because the other Eurozone governments will eventually offer not to demand any repayment of Greek debts for an extended period, but without accepting that it will not eventually have to pay. That could potentially see us through 2015, but the reaction in Germany would be stark, with demands for a referendum on euro membership extending from AfD into the CSU and some of the mainstream press.
  • Renewed Eurozone turmoil will push UK opposition to EU membership above 50 per cent in the polls.
  • At the General Election, the main issue will be the economy. The Conservatives will say they have stayed the course this Parliament and ask the voters to keep us on that course in the next.
  • The Conservatives will be the largest party after the General Election, with no two other parties able to combine with more seats. The Liberal Democrats will win fewer than 25 seats.  The SNP will win more than 30 seats, making them the third largest party. The Conservatives will govern as a minority.
  • Ukip will win 8 seats at the General Election.  In combination with the Conservatives, and a small number of Labour rebels, that will suffice to pass a bill requiring an In/Out referendum on European membership in early 2016.
  • David Cameron will continue as party leader until November.  There will then be a leadership election.
  • All of the top three candidates for the Conservative leadership will say they would be willing to lead the Out campaign in a referendum and would personally vote Out.
  • George Osborne and Theresa May will be the final two candidates put to the membership. Boris Johnson will not secure sufficient MP support to make it to the last two. George Osborne will become party leader and Prime Minister.
  • Despite political turmoil at home and financial turmoil in the Eurozone, the UK economy will continue to flourish, growing at a rounded three per cent.
  • Apart from Greece, the main international interest in Europe will be the implosion of the Russian economy, which will be followed by a humiliating retreat from the Ukraine (Crimea excepted). The Ukraine will continue on a fast track to EU membership by 2020.