Help others less fortunate
Such as the Liberal Democrats. Here's how to do it. Feed the lobby journalists lots of stories about how Clegg and Cable threatened to resign and stopped some Government policy you were never going to implement anyhow. No matter how implausible, cleverly insert phrases such as "I'd love to, but Vince wouldn't like it" or "I'll have to ask Simon Hughes before I commit on that" or "I agree with Nick" into conversation. Generally look weak and indecisive so that Nick looks all tough and powerful. Pay attention to the body language; Allow Nick and, yes, even Vince to pat you on the back for a change. Give Nick anything he wants – terror suspects set free, subtle help with the referendum on the alternative vote, and don't bother campaigning in the Oldham by-election (a strategy of inaction apparently well underway). As the strains of "Auld Lang Syne" fade away in the first minutes of 1 January, you might allow the haunting lyrics of that timeless Rolf Harris classic "Two Little Boys" to stray into your mind as your thoughts turn to your young comrade, Nick: "Do you think I would leave you dying?/ There's room on my horse for two."
Pay off debt, gain weight
Which he's been doing rather a lot of, or trying to at any rate. It is, after all, the one thing that is still holding the Coalition together. While many of his colleagues have shrivelled in office, Mr Osborne has blossomed, in a rather bright-eyed, slightly arrogant sixth-former sort of way. Here is a politician who, a year ago, was derided as "the weakest link". There were whispers about him getting the sack as shadow Chancellor. Poor George did, after all, get all the judgment calls on the recession wrong and used to come bottom in the polls behind Alistair Darling (remember him?) and Vince Cable (remember him?), even among City types. But now ... he's got his way over reducing the deficit, has the Treasury and the Bank of England in his pocket, and the economy, despite some squalls, may even be going his way too. If anything, he is probably the Government's strongest link. If he dyed his hair grey and put on a few pounds he might be accepted as an elder statesman, Ken Clarke-style. Failing that, and as a secondary resolution, he really should just try to fix the Osborne smile, which sometimes attains Bushian levels of uber-fatuousness. It's very off-putting and is like Gordon Brown's random rictus grin; terminally annoying. Even if he can't abolish any taxes in 2011, he should cut the smirk.
Get out more
No one wants you to try to upstage your brother, which would be counterproductive anyway, but you really ought to take up a hobby in the New Year – some genuine apolitical Cinderella cause to make some use of your talents and remind us that you exist. Otherwise we're in danger of forgetting them and only remembering that banana. Getting the ambassador's job in Washington would just bore you. Don't do it. Your party may need you.
If he hasn't already. A comeback is not impossible for a new "wee free" Liberal Democrat party based on the cult of Kennedy. He just needs to stick to the fruit juice, a lot to ask of a Scotsman at Hogmanay. Ironic as it may be, giving up some of life's little pleasures may be the price Charlie has to pay to reclaim the party of Lloyd George and Roy Jenkins. One day at a time ...
Our ex-prime minister, and there is nothing quite so ex- as an ex-PM, has a habit of making jokes about the "gauche" Richard Nixon, which just reminds some of us about how gauche Brown is and how like Richard Nixon, even down to being undone by a sound recording not intended to be made public. Just as Nixon was overshadowed by the glamorous JFK, so was Brown by TB, and Brown has the same Nixonian mix of awkwardness, paranoia and a pathetic, chippy yearning for respect and acknowledgement. Brown's new book on the financial crisis, subtitled "it wasn't my fault", is the longest job application in history for the post of head of the IMF, which he hopes to fill when the incumbent, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, leaves to challenge Nicolas Sarkozy in 2011. To be fair, Brown should have more luck rehabilitating himself than Nixon, though it will take longer than he thinks. Meantime, an educated man like him should be nicer to folk, as Mrs Duffy might say.
Don't stop smoking
You need something to relieve the stress and the occasional dose of Nick-otine is much better than kicking the cat or slashing disability living allowance as a cure for frustration. The habit he may have picked up behind the bike sheds at Westminster need not be ditched just yet. In that caring way they have in Westminster, "friends" are said to be concerned about the Lib Dem leader being, in the technical parliamentary term, knackered. Going though Cleggmania and Anti-Cleggmania within a few months would mess with anyone's mind and send them bipolar. Seriously, the Lib Dem leader needs to work out what to tell his party, and the country, if he loses the referendum on electoral reform in the spring. The signs are of it becoming referendum on the Lib Dems, and even Clegg himself, and that's not good. Clegg will have to persuade a sceptical party that all this unpopularity was all worth it. He'll need more than one fag break to work that one out.
You might think legalising crack cocaine is a good idea but it's just the sort of facile self-indulgent non-thinking aloud that signals to the electorate that your party no longer wishes to be taken seriously. Soft on crime and high on drugs, as Labour, now far away from power, used to say about the "joke" Lib Dems, now in Government.
Tame that bulge
By his own admission the Communities and Local Government Secretary won his personal struggle against anorexia some time ago. At the recent British Curry Awards (there really was no other choice for guest speaker) over poppadoms, lamb korma and lime pickle, he also confessed to having acquired a curry addiction in the backstreets of Bradford. It's all very well Eric, but you're one of the Government's assets, the sort of chap who'd sound softly reasonable and convincing even when persuading someone to self-lobotomise (roughly what he's done to local government). The Tories can't afford to have you keel over. Remember: five a day means fruit, not vindaloos. Why not get the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, to make you an example to the nation? You can't just waddle into the leadership, you know.
Be less grumpy
An obvious one, and there's been a lot to get grumpy about, not least The Daily Telegraph's rather questionable tactics. Still, there's lots to look forward to next year. First you and you party probably won't be split three ways in a Parliamentary vote, as you were on tuition fees. Second, the Murdoch thing will pass (unfortunately for you in his favour). Third, you can regain vast amounts of popularity (remember that lovely elixir?) by bashing the bankers. This is where you made your reputation in opposition, the fair voice of economic sanity, and this is where you will be remade. They want to pay themselves £7bn in bonuses next year and your job is to stop them. This time you must you use your power, what's left of it, decisively. If not, you might as well take up ballroom dancing full time, and replace Brucie on Strictly. If you take visible vulpine glee in restricting the bankers' bonuses, we will all share your joy. Remember Vince, "eyes, teeth and tits"!
Dig in those kitten heels
As the nation's premier female politician, Mrs May has a lot riding on her highly styled shoulders. Maybe it was a public schoolboys' joke to give her the job, as it's traditionally a political graveyard, and she's now discovered what a hazardous job being Home Secretary can be, having had to take personal responsibility for Camilla being "poked with a stick" by a student protestor. Still, she got through it all just by being straight, a novel approach. Next year she has to keep the Coalition together over locking up terror suspects for 28 days without charge. If she can get through that, who knows where this high-profile shoe model might end up. The Foreign Office? No 10? QVC?
Obviously he's been having a go at this already, though not everyone is completely convinced that all Ed's little helpers are as together as we might wish them to be. Together they approach the fearsomely blank page that is Labour Party policy depressed by the knowledge that it may be too late to make much impact on a public numbed by freezing austerity. Not a new year to look forward to.
Spend more time with the family
That's your own family, Boris, and a little less attention to your special lady friends. Move back in. You can do it.
Learn something new
A teacher training course in PE. We'd love to see you in trackies.Reuse content