Watch out for Philip Cowley's triumphant grin if you are passing Nottingham University. The reader in parliamentary government finished his book, The Rebels , in the summer when the Prime Minister appeared unassailable. Cowley says he lost count of the number of smug academics who told him Labour MPs would behave differently now there was a smaller majority. At the book launch in October many said he'd exaggerated Blair's problems to entice bookshops. But just after the book's publication something funny happened - the portent came true as the Government suffered two defeats. Doubtless this will do Cowley's bank balance no harm.
Sometimes academics do get it right.