To mark the passing of 2010, I bring you the Village Idiot Parliamentary Awards of the Year for outstanding achievement in bringing politics into ridicule or disrepute during a year of many surprises.
The Fiendishly Cunning Parliamentary Conspiracy of the Year Award goes to the former cabinet ministers and now ex-MPs Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt for their plot to oust Gordon Brown which was launched at 12.30 on a Wednesday in January and collapsed before lunch. Baldrick himself could not have been more cunning.
Tease of the Year: For 10 years, Lord Ashcroft, David Cameron's choice for deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, refused to say whether he had fulfilled the condition attached to his life peerage by becoming domiciled in the UK for tax purposes. As a general election loomed, he finally let on that he was a non-dom. Who would have guessed?
Political Broadcast of the Year: This goes to the Liberal Democrat election broadcast of 23 April. That is the one in which Nick Clegg walks through various landscapes littered with other political leaders' broken promises and says: "Broken promises – there have been too many in the last few years ... Our nation has been littered with them, a trail of broken promises ... This election is different to other elections. The trail of broken promises can come to an end." Watch it on YouTube. It's a belter.
Cast Iron Promise of 2010 comes from the Liberal Democrat election manifesto: "We are the only party that is committed to scrapping tuition fees...Only the Liberal Democrats will cut debt by phasing out fees throughout the next Parliament."
The Man With the Popular Touch: Gordon Brown, for the warm way he chatted up Mrs Gillian Duffy on walkabout in Rochdale. Shame about the microphone.
Political New Man of the Year: Frank McAveety, a Labour member of the Scottish Parliament who, while chairing a committee meeting, took a fancy to a schoolgirl in the audience. "Dark and dusky," he said. "She's got that Filipino look. You know, the kind you would see in a Gauguin painting. There's a wee bit of culture." Another case of forgetting the microphone was on.
Campaigner of the Year: Phil Woolas, for the skill and determination with which he saw off a strong Lib Dem challenge in Oldham East and Saddleworth at the general election, snatching victory by just 108 votes.
Ministerial Meteor of the Year: David Laws, appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury, 12 May; resigned, 29 May.
Backbench High Flier of the Year: Paul Flynn, the only Labour MP to make Ed Miliband his fifth choice, out of five, in the leadership election, with an honorary mention to Gordon Brown's former spin doctor Ian Austin, who put Ed M fourth.
Political Forecaster of the Year: Iain Dale, whose popular blog is something else to which we said goodbye in 2010. On election night, Dale cast a disdainful eye over the exit polls and blogged: "It seems too incredible to be true that the Lib Dems are only predicted to get 59 seats. I'll run naked down Whitehall if that turns out to be true." The Lib Dems got only 57 seats. Dale never did run naked down Whitehall.
Political Blogger of the Year: The Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, who gave so much detail on her blog about the time she was spending in her constituency that it called into question the honesty of her claims for a second home allowance. She explained to a parliamentary committee that the blog was "70 per cent fiction and 30 per cent fact".
Parliamentary Hunk of the Year: Mike Hancock, 64, the Lib Dem MP for Portsmouth South, from whom no fair-haired Russian devooshka can resist the offer of a job. "Mr Hancock is a honeypot for pretty Russians," somebody told the Daily Mail.Reuse content