The Uncuts: 2018 political awards (part I)

Politician of the Year: Vladimir Putin

Sometimes the bad guy wins. Vladimir Putin is Uncut’s 2018 politician of the year.

This was the year his primary strategic objective in Europe – to weaken and fracture the EU – came so much closer. Brexit chaos in Britain, yellow jackets in France and the political twilight of Angela Merkel mean Putin’s western border has rarely seemed so fissiparous or vulnerable.

In the US, Putin has continued to reap the benefits of Donald Trump’s election as the White House wrecking ball keeps crashing through the structure of American military and trading alliances, built up over many decades, that have underpinned the global world order.

Vladimir Putin is not an all-seeing, all-knowing puppeteer. Events have been kind to his agenda. But he has done what’s possible within and without the law to drive home his advantage. Sometimes this has been run through with incompetence as with the attempted Skripal assassination, but more often than not, Russia’s efforts have been effective, particularly in terms of cyber warfare.

That said, Uncut’s is not entirely a counsel of despair. Russia’s fundamental weakness is becoming more acute – Putin’s economy is stagnating. Russia’s wealth per capita places it behind countries like Romania, Oman and Costa Rica. The economy remains one third smaller in 2018 than 2013 and just as with the Soviet Union, a weak economy and expansive military are not compatible in the medium term.

But as we stand at the end of 2018, Vladimir Putin was the judges’ unanimous choice for politician of the year.

It’s worth pausing for a moment to consider why he won the award, and not a name closer to home.

Traditionally, Uncut politician of the year is an award that goes to a UK party leader (last year Putin won the Uncut’s version of the overseas category). But this year has been remarkable, without comparison in recent memory in that all of the UK’s party leaders have had a dreadful year.

Earlier this month, nearly two-thirds of Theresa May’s backbenchers declared no-confidence in her. Her pitch to stay on as leader involved promising she’d step down before the next election and daily life in the Conservative party is now defined by the tumbling race for the succession.

Jeremy Corbyn (Uncut’s 2017 politician of the year) did not make it into Downing Street as he was predicting last year, nor has he made any breakthrough in polling. Even though pollsters have updated their methodology following the 2017 general election, Labour remains locked in a tie with possibly the most ineffective government in a century. Worse still, Jeremy Corbyn frequently comes third in a three-way choice for Prime Minister involving him, Theresa May and Don’t Know.

Vince Cable’s anonymity has almost extinguished the Lib Dem flame while Nicola Sturgeon, who remains by some margin the most skilled national party leader in the UK, is in retreat. She is assailed by more radical nationalists to push for independence while Ruth Davidson continues to pressure her among swing voters. Over a decade in power at Holyrood is taking its toll as the SNP struggle to renew and define themselves in office (spoiler: it’s an impossible task).

If there had been a Scottish election with a result in line with the polls, arguably Davidson would have been the choice for politician of the year, but 2018 has all been about national politics and hers’ has been a marginal national voice.

Elsewhere, Sadiq Khan looks secure as Mayor of London, especially considering his Tory opponent, but has not moved the national debate. The same is true of Andy Burnham and the other regional mayors.

Even Ukip, Britain’s own version of the populists have split and split again until they are now more a punchline than a party.

All in all, a true annus horribilis for British politics. Vladimir Putin’s new year message to Britons, wishing us “well-being and prosperity in 2019” couldn’t have been more pointed if he tried.

Labour MEP of the Year: Seb Dance

Nigel Farage has never served as a minister or even been elected to the Commons. But, arguably, no politician has done more to shape today’s UK. It is his Brexit and our nightmare.

“He’s lying to you,” read the note that Seb Dance MEP held up behind Farage when Farage addressed the European Parliament last year. Subsequently, Dance was elected as Deputy Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party and continues to maintain his straight talking, honest politics approach to Brexit.

Between Neil Kinnock’s election as Labour leader and the referendum of June 2016, there was little doubt that Labour was a pro-European party. The shambolic events since then should fortify us in our pro-European instincts. While Labour shrinks from these convictions, Dance is energetic and articulate in encouraging us not to. The mystery is why more Labourites don’t sing his pro-European tune.

We Can’t Be Racists Because We’re On The Left: Marc Wadsworth

Former noted recipients of this award have been Rt Hon Diane “White people love playing divide and rule” Abbott MP and Lee “no black person in the UK can be racist” Jasper (jointly awarded, 2012). More recently, however, winners have almost exclusively been connected with prejudice against the Jewish community. In 2017, for example, Jackie Walker won a special “Cry Me A River” award for a one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe about her alleged victimisation.

After a year in which the dam finally burst on anti-Semitism within Labour, this year Uncut felt it was time to give due recognition to the large number of examples of idiots thinking that they couldn’t be racist by the mere fact that they were members of a left-wing party, and accepted an extended number of nominations. Among the celebrity nominations was Ken Livingstone, who finally had to resign from the party because, well, Hitler.

Sadly, many of these nominees are still members of our party. However, in this crowded field, the award went in the end to Marc Wadsworth, who did manage to get expelled by the party for heckling a Jewish MP at a campaign launch against anti-Semitism, an activity that the judges felt really went above and beyond normal, pedestrian bigotry.

Congratulations, Marc, for doing so much in that month that you were with us. It’s because of people like you that this party has become what it is today.

Once Most Likely Lads: Steve Hilton and Maurice Glasman

George Osborne’s favourite part of his portfolio career is using the Evening Standard to mock Theresa May. Gordon Brown used to agree with Nick (Clegg), now Mark Zuckerberg does. Ed Balls is a cosmic dancer on Strictly and in Trumpland. Ed Miliband’s Christmas card annoys Ian Austin. David Cameron is in his shed.

If you are waking from a coma that started in mid-2015, the world must seem a very strange place. It is odd enough for the rest of us.

The political era in which Maurice Glasman and Steve Hilton were influential thinkers put us into our political frying pan and the architects of Blue Labour and the Big Society unite in advocating the fire of no deal Brexit.

Hilton wants to combine this with a “pro-enterprise policy agenda” and Glasman “sees the possibility for socialists to lead a political transformation”. Leave it, lads, you’ve helped enough.

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3 Responses to “The Uncuts: 2018 political awards (part I)”

  1. John P Reid says:

    I use to like reading the comments on Labour-uncut as at least the Authors would acknowledge the Blairite, Pro EU because it’s a bit left wing innit,
    Articles would be destroyed by the Commentators, or a few Momentum people would post here, saying leave Jeremy alone, he did all he could to stop Brexit, such as only going in holiday for a week during the referendum

    But this article is so embaressing, I don’t know if you just don’t care ,how irrelevant you are by picking in people even more irrelevant, or think as no one really Cool, like Jeremy clarkson or JK Rowling supports Brexit, it shows how in touch with the Kids you are.

    But I’ll bite and comment, if Theresa May had twigged she could have done things different, that even after two and a half years of the Elite (as in people who read blogs and hear Pod casts) screaming the working Class are Raacist!! And you’re thick you are, that Theresa not been any buyers remorse, let alone well all the brexiters will dead soon and everyone who’s now old enough to vote would vote remain and no remainers have died in the last two and a half years.

    The PM should have said to the EU, by March 2019 if we have a no deal Brexit it will go through as we’re not going to settle for BINO, she could have said half the money and no back stop, no hard border,and no Customs union in Northern Ireland and the EU would have known that she wasn’t bluffing, So your scare story/gloat you believe that Blue labour or Steve Hilton are out of touch if they feel they hoped for No deal and that is now unpopular

    (I actually think Corbyn wants no dealand could wellget it, but that’s another story)
    There’s many on the Left like George Galloway who’d go for a no deal too

    Speaking of Galloway, he was shocked that Putin has hada Xmas greeting from Donald trump, because he doesn’t twig, what these two blokes stand for is doing what they feel is best for their Countries

    ok Barbara Castle was a MEP
    Labour MEP of the year. As an award but as if that’s a good thing to celebrate, well I suppose the MEPs were so bad it has encourage the public to vote Brexit so I’ll have to give him credit there.

    Jasper famously replied to Rob Merchant that Rob being white he wouldn’t understand why ajasper said it, but that implied Jasper spoke for all black people when he knew that white people can suffer from racism,

    As for calling Maurice glasman a likely lad, something Dawn H Foster does, why do the elite think blue Labour is laddish because it’s Working Class and Socially conservative, so its subject to ridicule, that laddism is something that Working Class , Small C people are some how un cultured ,philiatines or non sophisticated to not be aware of metropolitan culture to know that they should aspire not to be “Lads” and be more gentlemen like ,seems rather snobbish to me, like Emily thornberry and the flag

  2. anon says:

    @John P Reid

    Alas, Labour Uncut and its contributors haven’t yet really latched on to the the present day zeitgeist; they are still stumbling around their kitchens singing “Things Can Only Get Better” and muttering things like “Tough on crime…” and “I feel the hand of history…” – and dusting down their favourite Tony picture.

    But what they are doing is existing in a bubble of denial – they refuse to recognise that thousands of children were raped during their wondrous tenure in government; that thousands of people were killed or displaced by their ‘Progressive Interventions’ into other countries; that the people of this country were reduced to second class citizens; and that powers and rights were stolen from the people by deceitful quangos and the EU – not really stolen, but given away by our arrogant politicians who had no right to give away those powers and rights.

    I sense in this article a sour bitterness of being on the wrong side of public opinion and the realisation that their vile game is coming to an end – more of this in 2019 I hope.

    And….Happy Brexit New Year.

  3. john P Reid says:

    Posted something similar on Labourlist, but here’s Darrell goodliffe, the former Libdem who joined labour,and in 2011 slammed labour trying to get the white Working Class vote, by Having Gordon brown call Mrs Duffy a bigot, or Jack straw say it’s mainly Pakistani Muslim men who target white girls up north
    Any way , here he is now Defending Tommy Robinson as a Ukip member who runs their blog Kipper central

    I even recall his article on his
    Blog, when he said the gun found 10 feet away from Mark Duggan when he was shot dead by police, the police probably popped down, their local armory, got a gun to fit Duggan up

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