Newspapers and blogs are full of reviews of the year at the moment. We’ll be posting our own political highlights over the next couple of days, starting with these three…
Video of the year
Tim – I’ve cheated in this category and chosen two winners and both really are picks of the year. Viral videos will be big at the next election and not for the squeamish but Guido Fawkes’ video of Gordon Brown appearing to repeatedly pick his nose while sitting next to Tony Blair at Prime Minister’s Question Time has been watched hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube. The Australians also proved that politicians can never hide from their on-camera past. This vintage footage of Kevin Rudd eating his ear wax during a parliamentary debate was one of the most watched videos of the downunder election. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to stop Labor’s Rudd from ousting John Howard.
Samuel – A World Without America was the most successful viral video we made when based at 18 Doughty Street at the start of the year. It showed a British newsreader reporting on various crises that wouldn’t have happened in a hypothetical world in which America didn’t exist. It sparked both delight and hostility in the US, with it being played on national news networks and talk radio shows and attracting 12000 (and counting!) comments on YouTube. A great example of how the internet enables you to get a message out relatively cheaply – in this case, that it’s easy to take America for granted.
Moment of the year
Tim – This has been the most extraordinary political year and we are spoilt
for choice in this category. Sam chose first and I probably would
agree that ‘Bottler Saturday’ was the decisive political moment of the
year. Avoiding being an echo, however, I’ll choose the moment when
Alistair Darling announced that the personal data of half the
population had been lost by HMRC. I choose that moment not because it
was the worst deed of this Government but because incompetence is its
hallmark. The NHS computer fiasco, the release of foreign prisoners,
the overpayment of tax credits, the run on Northern Rock, the
mishandling of Foot and Mouth… This Government really would struggle
to run a bath. Although Labour is deservedly seen as being at least as
sleazy as the Major administration I do not think sleaze will kill
Brown politically. It will be incompetence. Most voters don’t expect
politicians to be particularly ethical but they do hope for basic
Samuel – Definitely Brown bottling out of the election. I feared we would have taken quite a beating from Brown if he called the election early. But, as Nick Robinson put it succinctly, he took the weapon that is choosing the timing of an election and "contrived to turn the weapon upon himself, wounding both his reputation and the morale of his party". He has lost his chance to ask to be given a chance. A couple of newspapers reckoned our exclusive story on it definitely being called off contributed to the disaster that was his announcement, which was nice.
"Funny" of the year
Tim – You can watch it on PlayPolitical here. Acting LibDem leader Vince Cable became a superstar in the Westminster Village because of his From Stalin to Mr Bean jibe. A cleverer and more human person would have laughed it off but Gordon Brown reacted with a stoney face. Mr Cable almost never made the joke. His wife had given it the thumbs down then he had tried it out on her. Mr Cable was not actually first with the Bean idea, however. That honour should go to Leo McKinstry who had made the Bean-Brown comparison a few days earlier in the Daily Express.
Samuel – Tony Blair meets Catherine Tate, and isn’t bovvered. For Red Nose Day Tate went into her famous chavvy schoolgirl mode and did a scene with Tony Blair in No.10. After she waffles for a bit he cuts her off and after a pregnant pause turns the tables on her by coming out with the immortal "…am I bothered" line. People were amazed to hear those words come from our Prime Minister and he did it pretty perfectly. A good reminder of how much of a class act he is. Can you imagine how it would have went if Brown did it?!