Nothing is guaranteed in politics. If the situation in the UK since 2016 has taught us anything it is that making predictions is a mug's game. However it would appear that I am a mug because I have made a list of some bold predictions for Welsh politics in 2024.

Last year I predicted that neither Adam Price or Mark Drakeford would be leading their respective parties by the end of the year. Now Adam Price did indeed step down in May and while Mark Drakeford has now announced he will be stepping down this won’t be until next March (though I am still claiming that as a win).

It is the nature of bold predictions that they can’t be too obvious. “It will rain” or “Labour will be the largest party at a general election" would likely be correct but there is no way anyone could consider them “bold”. Therefore it is necessary to predict things you think will happen but aren’t so obvious that people simply shrug and say: “Well, duh”. So let’s give it a go.

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Andrew RT Davies will back the right-wing candidate to replace Rishi Sunak and no longer be Welsh Tory leader within six months

Two predictions for the price of one to start with. In 2024 there will almost certainly be a general election. The latest possible date a poll could be held is January 28, 2025, but it has been reported that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told a gathering of journalists before Christmas that "2024 will be an election year".

It seems likely that the Tories will suffer a pretty brutal defeat (unless things change). Following this it seems certain that Mr Sunak will step down. This will trigger a Tory leadership contest that will be a battle for the future of the Tory party.

People like Suella Braverman are already positioning themselves to appeal to the right of the party. Mr Davies will back the right-wing candidate (he was one of the few Welsh Tories who backed Liz Truss and maintains that he has “no regrets” over doing so). If this candidate goes on to lose it will likely mean that he will have positioned the Welsh Tories to the right of the UK Tories even though Wales is more left-leaning than England.

Given that a Senedd election will be fewer than two years away at this point some already-disgruntled Conservative Senedd Members will move against him out of fear for their jobs. They will be aided in this by the fact that the notoriously slow-moving Senedd standards commissioner will have upheld a complaint against him regarding comments he made about asylum seekers on GB News. Even if the right-wing candidate takes over the main Tory party I can still see a situation where Mr Davies is forced to step down as leader by the end 2024.

The Welsh Labour leadership race will be closer than the Brexit referendum

Either Jeremy Miles or Vaughan Gething will be the next leader of Welsh Labour. I weighed up making a prediction of who the winner will be and I just can’t bring myself to commit either way.

My head says that Jeremy Miles will win it. The safe (dull) candidate who is a fluent Welsh speaker will likely be a safer bet than the abrasive Vaughan Gething. Miles also has the support of more Senedd Members (none of the 2021 intake are supporting Gething). But my gut keeps telling me that Vaughan Gething is going to do it. He has been desperately trying to cultivate support for a long time and I can’t escape this instinct that his popularity with certain unions will swing it for him. But I am far too cowardly to trust my gut so instead I am going to predict that the leadership contest will be decided by a margin of 52/48 or closer.

There will just one Tory MP left in Wales

The boundary changes will mean that Wales has fewer seats overall anyway but I believe that the Tories will have just one MP left. Current polling predicts three seats will be held: Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, and Brecon, Radnor, and Cwm Tawe.

I think that there is unlikely to be a big surge for either Labour or Lib Dems in these areas but Tory voter apathy will lose them both Monmouthshire and Brecon, Radnor, and Cwm Tawe.

Plaid Cymru will take Ynys Mon

One of the seats that the Tories could lose is Ynys Mon. The island is a three-way shootout between them, Plaid, and Labour. Plaid Cymru know this is going to be a really tough election for them with the party unlikely to make any widespread gains across the board. They are likely to put all their effort into winning Anglesey and they have a really good chance of doing so. Labour will likely be more focused on reclaiming other north Wales seats and in Llinos Medi Plaid have a well-known local candidate who is very driven.

Wales will still have more than 10,000 people waiting in excess of two years for an NHS appointment and more than 100,000 waiting longer than a year

At time of writing there are 26,000 people who are still waiting two years for an NHS appointment. This is down from 41,000 in January. There are more than 133,000 waiting over a year, down from 152,000 in January.

I predict that neither of these lists will have gone down by as much as the Welsh Government would hope. Two-year waits will still be above 10,000 and one-year waits will still be above 100,000. This will be down to an exhausted and fatigued workforce plus a lot of the checks put off during Covid coming home to roost.

Support for Welsh independence will plummet after election but will be back up to its previous level within 12 months

If Labour win the next general election I believe support for Welsh independence will, in line with polls, plummet. This is because I know for a fact that many people who support independence do so because they see it as a vehicle for removing the Tories from power.

Once this rationale is gone I believe many of the soft supporters for an independent Wales will switch. However I also think a Labour administration in Westminster offers an opportunity for the independence movement to solidify a more stable long-term support.

When there is a Labour Government in London all of the arguments from the Welsh Government about why our public services are struggling slowly evaporate. There is no-one else to blame. Add to this the fact that a Keir Starmer-led government seems unlikely to give Wales its fair share of HS2 funding, for example, and I can see support for independence resurging.