EXCLUSIVE: Slugger hivemind wrong-footed by dHondt

The Executive caught almost everyone on the hop by live tweeting the d’Hondt ministerial lottery. It has brought our predictions competition to an early close but we hold off on announcing a winner until it is all official on Monday.

I’ll pull out some of the main things predicted, the most obvious one being that very few Slugger readers were close to calling it right.

  • 1st pick DUP – 99% of people correctly predicted Finance
  • 2nd pick SF – 99% of people incorrectly predicted Enterprise with only one reader getting it right (well done, you’ll get your kudos on Monday)
  • 3rd pick DUP – 97% of people called it incorrectly with only two including the one that got the 2nd pick right being correct. Most thought it would be Education.
  • 4th pick only a quarter of readers called it right as Regional Development. This was the joint hightest prediction at this stage with Employment.
  • 5th again only 25% of Slugger readers called it right with over 50% expecting Social Development
  • 6th another miss for the Slugger collective with predictions going everywhere and only 15% correct – most popular was Agriculture
  • 7th another miss for Slugger only 10% right with 40% going for Environment
  • 8th 25% right – the most popular pick
  • 9th 10% right, largest prediction was 25% for Agriculture
  • 10th 30% of Slugger’s hivemind was right here

Given the terrible predictive abilities of Slugger anoraks it maybe isn’t worth noting our other expectations? But sure…..

They see a number of changes in SF Ministers, broadly expect Simon Hamilton in the Executive and the only thing most of them agreed on and that transpired was Health (the largest spending department and one of the most influential) would be seen as so toxic it would appear as a bottom pick.

Anyhow, here’s the Executive those that entered our predictions competition expected (yes, I know Agriculture appears twice – that’s because Health was never thought to be most likely at any stage):

  • DUP – Finance
  • SF – Enterprise
  • DUP – Education
  • UUP – Regional Dev
  • SF – Social Development
  • SDLP -Agriculture
  • DUP – Environment
  • SF – Culture
  • DUP – Agriculture
  • Alliance – Employment

(what Slugger’s cloud got right in bold)

So, the interesting question that arises as a result of the predictions and the actuals – why are top four parties so reluctant to deal with a big spending and impact Department such as Health? An indication that our system encourages keeping away from the normal areas seen as important in Governments? An attempt to ensure parties aren’t damaged over seeking to deliver change/improvement? A risk adverse Executive? The DUP finally selecting it for fear leaving it to Alliance as the wooden spoon would totally expose the Executive as reluctant to actually deal with bread and butter?

On a positive note we did correctly predict Alliance would be left with Employment and Learning as the dregs. What does that say?