These booklets are on sale every year in newsagents and bookshops. Apparently they have been giving astrology predictions on world affairs since 1697. It’s only £2 so, in the winter of 2004, I bought a copy and kept it so that, at the end of the year 2005, I could check how it had done. I checked the predictions with what actually happened in the UK and around the world with the BBC, Channel 4 news, the Press Agency and Reuters. To compare it with a ‘good guess’ I also made some predictions of my own over a pint of beer in late November 2004.
These were my six predictions: Labour would win an election in May (pretty obvious); Prince Charles and Camilla would marry in June; Tony Benn would die in the same week of a heart attack; there would be a hurricane in mid USA or Caribbean in the late summer (there always is); there would be a bomb attack in Britain on Nov 5th; there would be riots in the summer in Scotland (yeah I knew G8 was coming)
Then I looked at Old Moore and realised I had been way to specific, the predictions here are much vaguer and generalised, still, too late I’d made my predictions and I’d have to stick with them.
So on to Old Moore's Almanack. Because so much of it is vague I felt I had to ignore the generalised bits and try to just concentrate on any specifics, also I tried to cut through the crap of heavy hints to the prediction underneath, otherwise we would be all over the place trying to make things fit with hindsight. So here are some of Old Moore’s predictions for 2005:
Tax cuts (wrong),
Terrorist attacks in Indonesia or Caucasus (wrong)
Old Moore's Almanack actually gives a number of predictions of major terrorist attacks through the year. As well as the ones above there were: March: Moscow, Iran, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka; Sept: generally everywhere; Oct: Britain, Iran, California, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya Phew, there was a lot there so I checked them all against the list of major terrorist attacks on the Foreign Office website - they were all wrong.
Major airline bankrupt (one went bankrupt in Sept so months out but maybe half right?),
House sale boom (wrong - 40% down on last year),
Russia accepts defeat in Chechnya (wrong - Russia kills main opponent this month and by Nov has installed puppet president)
Russia military action in Georgia, Azerbaijan (wrong);
Much loved performer dies (wrong - Ronnie barker dies in Oct which Old Moore misses);
Like terrorism Old Moore mentions earthquakes a lot, twelve countries over the year. So I checked these with the world earthquake recording centre. The only one vaguely close was a prediction of an earthquake in May on USA west coast when there was an earthquake in California in June that injured three. Near enough? Not really when Old Moore misses those in Indonesia killing 1,000, and in Pakistan killing 86,000, I call that a miss so: wrong.
Venezuela and Columbia have military take over (wrong - altho’ they have a dispute in Jan);
Election in UK between late March to Mid May (right - altho this is the normal time for an expected election and by putting this prediction in April I think we see where Old Moore is hinting at. PS I also got this one right!)
Nuclear accident (wrong);
Saudi civil war (wrong - king dies in Aug which Old Moore misses);
Revival mad cow/foot mouth (- bird flu in news from Oct, I’ll be generous and give Old Moore a near miss, but it’s still wrong)
English politician retires (wrong);
Nuke accident again (wrong again!)
UK troops invade Ghana (wrong);
India changes government (wrong);
Peace in Ireland (In July IRA renounce arms so I know the month is wrong but I’ll give this a… right)
Instability in UK, France, Spain, India (wrong)
Royal Birth (wrong - Old Moore completely misses royal wedding in April, I know I predicted the wedding would be in June but at least I got the damn wedding!)
EU foreign policy crisis (wrong - Old Moore does miss great big internal EU crisis in summer when France, Holland etc say no to EU constitution);
First C of E female bishop (It was ok’d at July synod but the synod was known about before Old Moore's Almanack 2005 came out. They decided on consultation so no female bish until 2010+, so Old Moore is at least 4 yrs out. So I’ll give that a wrong )
Germany out of EU (wrong);
Public installations sabotaged (wrong)
As a lot of this ‘world affairs’ predictions aren’t much use to most of us any way I also checked the predictions that are likely to affect us most: betting predictions. So how did Old Moore's Almanack get on here? Two examples:
Grand National winner - 9 yr old 10st 3 oz (wrong)
Football Pools - I checked the first week in January, out of sixteen draws Old Moore got…none!
And now some real events in 2005 Old Moore seems to have missed: The Pope died; London was bombed; Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans; Riots thro France; Earth quake in Pakistan.
Despite the numerous terrorist attacks Old Moore's Almanack mentions it fails to get any of the eight ‘significant attacks’ on the foreign office list. It missed three presidents toppled by popular revolt and one by assassination. Misses pension problems, Blunkett resigning and new Tory leader, a toff from Eton.
Out of the long list above, it got two right: a full point for the election in May and half point for IRA renouncing weapons on wrong month. As I’m generous I’ll give it half for the air bankruptcy which was months out, half for mad cow if you read it as ‘bird flu’, (See I’m getting the hang of how astrology works now) and a half for women bishops, which I think is pushing it. So Old Moore gets 3
So how did I do with my guesses? Well I got the election right, a lot righter in fact than Old Moore, I half got the royal wedding as I was two months out, I half got bomb attack in UK although again I got the month wrong. There were some piss poor demonstrations in Scotland so I got that right, just about. I think I could even claim a half right with the hurricane in mid USA/Caribbean as that is pretty close to New Orleans. Tony Benn is still with us so I got that wrong. So I get 3.5 and I only made 6 predictions!
I’ve only done predictions once, on one night, back in Nov 2004 and I still beat Old Moore who has been doing it for three hundred and seven years. So there you have it: Old Moore's Almanack is worse than a good guess while pissed, so proving that astrology is a load of old toss.