Poor Predictions from Astrologers

Update 2010/02/12: I bowed to the pressure of some of the commenters below and changed the title of this post. Previously the title contained the term "bad" which was used in the sense of "not dependable or reliable" at making correct predictions and not in the sense of "evil, unpleasant, deleterious, or noxious". I am ashamed to have caved in on this particularly as changing the title will not actually provide the solution they think it will. I did provide constructive solutions but those seemed to be ignored. Now back to the original post...

In Thursday's Guardian, several astrologers, tarot readers and assorted others were asked for their predictions for the UK General Election (I hope it was supposed to be ironic). Astrologer types can often be believed because few people actually check their predictions but selectively remember the successes. Now that all the results (currently 645 out of 646) are in, I thought it might be good to see how they did. Taking out all the wuffly talk, these are the predictions:

Christine Hillard, Tarot Reader

  • Prediction: The process will not go smoothly.
    Result: Mostly wrong. Apart from some recounts, it seemed fairly smooth. The postal voting went better than I expected.
  • Prediction: Charles Kennedy will not be elected.
    Result: Correct. He wasn't, although that would have been predicted by most of the country - even Liberal Democrat voters
  • Prediction: Michael Howard will be higher in the polls than expected.
    Result: Wrong. New Labour's majority is about 65; exactly what MORI predicted in the run up to Thursday's vote so I would say that he didn't do better than expected.
  • Prediction: We're looking at a photo finish.
    Result: Wrong. Labour were well out in front all night and finished with a significant (if smaller) majority.
  • Prediction: Blair will win.
    Result: Correct. Wasn't that obvious.
TOTAL: 2.5/5.

Richard Brown, astrologer He cleverly managed to waffle on for three paragraphs and only makes one prediction.
  • Prediction: A period of confusion for Blair stretching into early July.
    Result: Not so far. Perhaps for the Conservatives.
TOTAL: 0/1.

Michael Korel, Tarot reader
  • Prediction: Lib Dems have no chance whatsoever of success.
    Result: Correct. As before, this wasn't surprising for the 'third' party.
  • Prediction: Some gains for the Conservatives on last time. They won't be enough.
    Result: Correct. As all the polls predicted.
  • Prediction: Labour will have a reliance on previous glories.
    Result: Correct.
  • Prediction: Labour will win with a much smaller majority.
    Result: Correct. As MORI et al suggested.
TOTAL: 4/4.

Sharon Rimmer, clairvoyant I will have to ignore her predictions for the coming years and focus on just the last few days.
  • Prediction: Labour will just scrape through.
    Result: Wrong. A majority of 65 isn't exactly scraping through.
  • Prediction: The Liberal Democrats will take seats from both the Conservatives and Labour.
    Result: Correct.
  • Prediction: It will be close to a hung parliament. There will be no defining power.
    Result: Wrong. A 65 majority.
  • Prediction: Robert Kilroy-Silk will not win a seat.
    Result: Correct.
  • Prediction: Oona King will defeat the threat of George Galloway.
    Result: Wrong. He won!
TOTAL: 2/5.

Camilla Ventham Fraser, spiritual medium Ignoring one prediction for the future.
  • Prediction: Blair will be voted out.
    Result: Wrong. How wrong could she be.
  • The Conservatives will return to government with a three-seat majority.
    Result: Wrong. The Conservatives got 159 seats less than Labour.
  • Howard is our next prime minister.
    Result: Wrong.
  • Prediction: Kilroy-Silk will win a seat.
    Result: Wrong. He came fourth in the seat he was standing in.
  • Prediction: The greens will not get a seat.
    Result: Correct.
  • Prediction: Wimbledon will be a Conservative win.
    Result: Correct. After a 7.2% swing from Labour to Conservative.
  • Prediction: The Lib Dems will gain seven seats.
    Result: Wrong. They gained 11.
TOTAL: 2/7

Robin Lown, hand psychologist/palmist
  • Prediction: Blair will win by a whisker.
    Result: Wrong.
  • Prediction: Huge loss of marginal seats.
    Result: There was a big loss but not big enough to cause a change in government. I'll give him this one.
  • Prediction: Michael Howard will survive as Conservative leader.
    Result: Wrong. He plans to step down.
RESULT: 1/3

Paul Watson, western and Chinese astrologer
  • Prediction: The Liberals will do fairly well but nothing spectacular
    Result: Correct. Let's assume that getting the highest number of seats since the 1920s isn't spectacular.
  • Prediction: Howard will do better than expected.
    Result: Wrong. He did as expected by the opinion polls.
  • Prediction: Blair will win.
    Result: Correct.
  • Prediction: Closer than the polls predict.
    Result: Wrong.
RESULT: 2/4

The astrologers provided much astro-babble to make themselves sound important. Talking about Tony Blair, Richard Brown claimed that "the solar return chart has a yod apex Pluto in the second house, which implies determination yielding success in mass movements involving the public". I wonder if that applies to the railways as well. He also managed to bring Quaoar into his discussion, so presumably he thinks Kuiper belt objects are influential. Michael Korel did get all his predictions correct but he wasn't saying anything different to most of the political commentators before the election. Overall though, it would appear that this bunch generally do worse than 50 percent on the success of their predictions once you remove the astro/mystical waffle. I think I'll stick to Andrew Marr.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Saturday 07th May 2005 (13:03 UTC) | Permalink
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