It’s been a busy old year. Gordon departed. Cameron and Clegg moved the brokeback wagons into Downing Street. Gideon slashed and burned. Vince tried to waltz his way into some young “constituent’s'” knickers and Ed beat David.
After the arguments over the electoral college in Manchester, and the luke warm tussling over AV we thought it best to pick our winners rather than have a readers vote. The old fashioned way. Feel free to add yours in the comments.
Politician of the year
There really could only be one winner:
Filled with his own self importance, and a belief that he was born to do this. He had the audacity to call his budget “progressive” while slashing and burning with that trademark smirk. But in all serious political circles he has earned (grudging) respect. As Cameron twists and turns, Nick jumps through hoops and Vince dances around a resignation, Gideon has become the rock at the heart of the Cameron government. Well advised, well rehearsed and well… impressive. Let’s hope 2011 isn’t as good a year for the man who could keep Labour out of power for the next decade.
Ed Miliband won against the odds. Has finally beefed up his team and started landing punches. A win in Oldham East & Saddleworth followed by a good showing in the locals could give him the momentum to really take on the government in 2011.
David Cameron. He won. Just. He made it into Number 10. Just. He ends the year with decent poll numbers all things considered, a “radical” programme and a sturdy majority (courtesy of his Lib Dem pals). Fair dos. Not a bad position for a PM to be in.
Best supporting politician
Nick Clegg. Like The Man from Del Monte in the old ads who liked to say “yes”, Clegg’s willingness to hop into bed with Cameron and accept his “big, comprehensive offer” now gives him more clout than any of his predecessors since Lloyd George. But at what price?
David Miliband for his magnanimous speech at conference.
Gordon Brown for not backseat driving.
Harriet Harman for super-subbing during the summer, although lost marks for her fingerprints – or at least dinner plates – being all over the Hewitt/Hoon plot.
Geraldine Smith (late of Morecombe & Lunesdale) whose gutsy defences of Gordon and denunciation of all wannabe coup-ists was a sight to behold.
Brass neck of the year
Nick Clegg for his volte face on tuition fees.
Hewitt and Hoon for their risible, back-of-a-fag-packet plot to oust Gordon Brown.
George Osborne for calling the budget “progressive”.
Tony Blair for saying Bank of England independence was his idea in A Journey.
Liam Fox for his “fury” over his leaked letter to Cameron about defence cuts.
The man behind the man award
Stewart Wood From Peter Parker to Spiderman. The bespeckled Oxford don and foreign policy adviser to Brown became the war time consigliere to Miliband Jnr. Masterminding the tortoise vs the hare victory over Miliband Snr. Now a peer with his sights set on taking down Sayeeda Warsi.
Sue Nye Respected for her long-suffering loyalty to successive Labour leaders and unfairly fingered for Gordon Brown’s Mrs. Duffy encounter (“It was Sue” squealed the nark). Bows out both well-liked and well-respected.
Ray Collins for helping keep the Labour show on the road and ensuring that Labour did not do as badly as some predicted. Or end up as broke.
Off to a flying start award
Rory Stewart for his less than generous remarks about the sartorial standards of his constituents.
Mark Reckless Crazy name, crazy guy. Too pissed to vote. His “I don’t intend to drink in Westminster again” pledge is one that Westminster’s watering-hole watchers will be keeping their bleary eyes on.
Chris Kelly the publicity hungry backbencher is rumoured to be taking his chicken whisperer act on “Britain’s got talent” next year.
Survivor of the year
Andy Coulson. Like all spin doctors, a wannabe Rasputin. And like the mad monk, seemingly unkillable. He ends the year in situ. But the phone hacking scandal is not going away.
Vince Cable One time Lib Dem treasure, ended the year on a low after trying to impress two young undercover journos with his “nuclear option.” Neutered but still walking. Just.
Jonathan Ashworth. It is said that in the event of a nuclear holocaust Jonathan Ashworth will still be working in the Labour leader’s office. 3 masters in 12 months.
Gisela Stewart. One of the bright points of a grey evening was seeing Birmingham Edgbaston – the first seat to indicate the Labour landslide back in 1997 – stay Labour.
Nigel Farage. A plane crash at the general election, a train crash of a successor. Britain’s favourite little Englander still stands.
Political battle of the year
Miliband vs Miliband. Part A river runs through it, part The Godfather II. It was what it was always going to be: two brothers divided by their determination to get the top job. It leaves a legacy. It must. But is there more drama to come?
Osborne vs Mandelson. You might think you know which one is the better politician, but only one of them masterminded their way into government this year
Balls vs Gove. Michael Gove’s early billing as a star of this Tory generation took a near fatal hammering from a brutal master of political pugilism, Ed Balls. Gove’s calamitous decision to axe the building schools for the future programme was made to hurt more than he ever imagined it could.
Adam Boulton vs Alistair Campbell. Did Sky want the Tories to win the election? At a corporate level we can be fairly sure that it did. At a journalistic level? Hard to say. But Boulton’s reaction shows that the accusation strikes close to the bone.
(Ex) minister of the year award
Alistair Darling To emerge, as chancellor, from a beaten government and a tanking economy with your reputation enhanced is truly a remarkable achievement and the mark of a quietly brilliant man.
Kenneth Clarke The Tory right may be screaming for his head, yet his enlightened approach to prison reform may set penal policy in a direction that actually works. But will Cameron’s nerve hold and keep Ken where he is?
Bob Ainsworth An unlikely hippy, it’s safe to say, but his recent call for drugs reform was a significant intervention from a former minister who knows that the “war on drugs” was lost long ago. The number of people who secretly agree with him but would never dream of saying so is a small part of everything that is wrong with politics.
The Jo Moore award for PR disaster of the year
Bigot-gate Gordon Brown’s description of Rochdale pensioner, Gillian Duffy, as “that bigoted woman” was the undoubted numero uno gaffe of the general election campaign. Few recall, however, that Labour took Rochdale from the Lib Dems on election night.
Fire up the Quatro poster. A spectacularly ill-judged Labour campaign which turned Cameron into one of the country’s most loved TV characters.
Airbrushed Cameron Equally backfiring idea, which showed Cameron to be even more plastic and artificial than he is.
Liam Byrne – His “there’s no money left” note to his successor, David Laws, was quickly used as a stick to beat him with. A colossal mistake by an otherwise smart man.
The fourth (rate) estate award
#Hackinggate Non-reporting of the biggest media scandal in decades. Guilty consciences all around Fleet Street as no-one seriously doubts that the culture of phone hacking goes well beyond one rogue reporter at the News of the World. We know this because people keep owning up to it in the Guardian. Yet, apparently, this despicable practice, the gross and illegal abuse of privilege, doesn’t warrant a mention in the vast majority of the press.
Nick Clegg’s Nazi Slur on Britain One of the most pathetic days in recent British journalistic history. Andy Coulson got exactly the headlines he wanted. Those responsible – editors and scribblers – damaged their own reputations to suck up to their future bosses, and Lib Dem central office wasted a day fighting fires started by lickspittle. Tawdry, tawdry stuff.
Kay Burley Sky News’s afternoon anchor. Just type her name in to YouTube. Enough said.
Prediction of the year
Dan Hodges for his “David Miliband has won” prediction on Uncut, five days before the coronation ceremony. At which Ed was crowned.
Benedict Brogan “Cameron will be PM by tea time on Friday”.
Nick Robinson “David Miliband will win”‘ prediction, about 90 seconds before he lost.