Those we have loved and loathed

Who made an outstanding contribution to world peace or helped end child poverty? And who made our lives a misery? We asked the year's movers, shakers and troublemakers for their nominations

TARIQ ALI Writer

Heroes

Mainly anonymous: the Israeli air-force pilots who refused to go and bomb occupied Palestine, stating that they were not mafiosi hired for revenge killings; the Palestinians and Iraqis who struggle against colonial occupation, and, finally, Robert Fisk whose fearless reports from the war-zones illuminate the truth.

Villains

Too many this year to provide a complete list, I'm afraid, but let's include the three Bs for a start - Bush, Blair, Berlusconi, and add the old SoB Ariel Sharon as a footnote. The first two, backed by the third, have killed more than 10,000 Iraqi civilians and occupied Iraq, while the Israeli war-criminal orders the killing of Palestinian innocents every week. State terror takes more lives than the other kind.

KATE ALLEN Director of Amnesty International UK

Hero: Aung San Suu Kyi

A supremely brave defender of the Burmese peoples' human rights, who has again spent much of 2003 under de facto house arrest. Her courage in the face of oppression continues to be an inspiration, not least to women around the world.

Villains

All of those who have sought to vilify refugees and asylum-seekers. During 2003, some of the globe's most vulnerable people have been subjected to poisonous press, harsher policies and greater barriers to finding places of safety. It's time to remember the suffering, bravery and dignity of those involved, and keep our door open to those that flee repression.

YASMIN ALIBHAI-BROWN Independent columnist

Hero: Peter Hitchens

Hard to say this, but I nominate Peter Hitchens, a man with whom I publicly disagree about almost everything on earth. He has stood against the war on Iraq but for different reasons from the left, so that's not it. But it is for his brilliant, fierce writing on the disgrace that is Guantanamo Bay that he deserves this accolade. He argues that this illegal and immoral detention for years of people who may or may not be guilty of crimes, is a betrayal of the most profound values of the West.

Villain: Vladimir Putin

He appears untouchable, able to do as he pleases, and the world does not condemn his actions because he is not a Communist and he embraces neo-Capitalism. The treatment of Chechens in their own country is appallingly cruel - torture, state terrorism, fabricated evidence are used to destroy the will of a people. This only encourages the worst of Chechens to rise and commit horrendous crimes in turn. In Russia itself, elections are rigged, the media, too, is fast losing its independence, but, hey, we are told, Mr Putin is one of us now, he is with us in the war against terror. And the pious Mr Blair and Mr Bush have no lessons to teach him.

BRUCE ANDERSON Independent columnist

Hero: George Bush

Bush is a man who says what he means and means what he says. All along, he insisted that America would deal with the Taliban and move on to Iraq. At various stages, the policy appeared to be in disarray. That was a superficial assessment. The President stuck to the course he had set. That now looks like a course for re-election. It is also the right course for Iraq and the Middle East. This is a courageous president; it could prove to be a great presidency.

Villain: Jacques Chirac

Chirac has now been President of France for nearly nine years. If people were asked to list his achievements on one side of paper, there would be a lot of blank paper. He has succeeded in his principal objective: the immunity of his office means he cannot be indicted for corruption. What a miserable record. Earlier this year, Chirac tried to belittle the new members of the EU. He only succeeded in belittling himself. This is a worthless man.

LORD ASHDOWN High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Heroes: the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina

It has been said that people get the governments they deserve. That is not true in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They have borne war, poverty and irresponsible politicians with stoicism and, at times, remarkable courage. Nearly a million of those burnt and raped from their homes during the war have gone back. They have made a reality out of the right of refugees to return home. The citizens of Bosnia are a generous, intelligent and brave people, and they deserve better.

Villain: Radovan Karadzic

The arrest of Saddam will bring clear political benefits to the people of Iraq, and the arrest of Karadzic - the architect of ethnic cleansing during the Bosnian war in the 1990s - would have the same effect in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Today, he is in hiding, indicted for war crimes. We will ensure that Karadzic finally faces international justice.

J G BALLARD Author

Hero: David Campese

He is my hero of the year for having the courage to admit that he was wrong.

Villain: Tony Blair

For leading us so hysterically into an unnecessary war. He strikes me as a dangerous man, a would-be Messiah with a pocketful of nails, searching for a cross to die on.

AARON BARSHAK 'The Comedy Terrorist'

Hero

I don't think there are any heroes left. Jonny Wilkinson? A player doing his job. My hero would have to be a folk hero, who had climbed insurmountable obstacles, embarrassed the establishment, survived an onslaught of criticism and outraged the English tradition of modesty by nominating himself. Namely, myself.

Villains

There is nothing so repulsive as the "latterati". The sort who work in the media, live in Islington, drink in gastro-pubs, and disdain the bourgeoisie. They vociferously condemn the removal of tyranny that they have never experienced. So, everyone who starts sentences with, "Look, nobody's denying Saddam was a monster, but..."

ALAIN DE BOTTON Author

Hero: Herzog & de Meuron

The Swiss architects who put up the beautiful Laban Dance Centre in Deptford - and have shown that a new building can rival in beauty and interest anything that past ages have ever put up.

Villain: St George

The property development company that has set about destroying various bits of London. Its developments are all along the Thames and in key bits of west London, and tend to be both utterly pretentious and lacking in sensitivity to their context. No wonder there is such fierce resistance to property development.

PAUL BURRELL Former butler of Diana, Princess of Wales

Hero: Jane Tomlinson

This remarkable woman has shown incredible strength and courage in not allowing her cancer to stop her living life to the full and, by doing so, has raised thousands of pounds for cancer charities. She is an inspiration to everyone with her positive attitude to life. People like Jane give true hope to so many other people and her bravery makes the human spirit soar.

Villains: the Royal Household

Those anonymous "grey suits", whom the Princess always despised, showed their true venomous colours when they advised - badly - William and Harry to attack my book before they had even had the chance to read it. Many now see my book for what it is - a tribute to the Princess. Not content with one knee-jerk reaction, these same PR masterminds issued advice that Prince Charles should deny a rumour about which the general public had no idea.

JOHN CAREY Merton Professor of English Literature at Oxford University, and chairman of the judges of the 2003 Booker prize

Hero: D B C Pierre

Not so much for winning the Booker as for his humility in doing so. Before the announcement, The Guardian released all those details about his sordid past, so it was brave of him to come to the prize-giving ceremony, and he accepted it with dignity, embracing the other nominees and showing no signs of triumphalism.

Villain: Brian Sewell

I heard him recently as a panellist on Radio 4's The Good Read discussing A Dark-Adapted Eye, which was written by Ruth Rendell under the name of Barbara Vine. He was complaining that he couldn't finish it, and dismissed it as lower middle class. This was the most inept and snobbish remark regarding books made this year.

NOAM CHOMSKY Linguist and writer

Heroes

Those who struggle courageously and unpretentiously against oppression, violence, and needless suffering. They would not want me to mention their names.

Villains

I do not have the moral authority to rank villains.

SIR TERENCE CONRAN Design guru

Heroes: Rory Bremner and his team

For presenting the truth about Iraq, pre- and post-war, and about our government's villainous behaviour. And for risking being banged up as terrorists for their efforts. Also, Channel 4, for giving them the freedom to do so.

Villains: Blair and Bush

For taking the world to war, ignoring the United Nations, and using weapons of mass destruction and their religious convictions as an excuse.

JILLY COOPER Novelist

Hero: Buster

The springer spaniel that was awarded the Dicken medal - the dog's Victoria Cross - last week for finding a huge cache of weapons in Iraq.

Villain: Paul Burrell

Because he's sanctimonious and should leave those poor Princes alone.

SIMON COWELL High-waisted Pop Idol judge

Hero: Myself

Villain: Osama bin Laden

TAM DALYELL Labour MP

Hero: Lord Hardy of Wath

A pioneer in the environmental cause, he championed hedgerows from the day he was elected to parliament in 1970, and he campaigned to ensure that grants for grubbing up hedgerows were abolished, which has meant that the British countryside still retains many of its patchwork-field marvels.

Villain: Colin Boyd, Lord Advocate of Scotland

He has appealed to increase the accused Lockerbie bomber's sentence above 27 years. I believe that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has wrongfully been found guilty of the disaster.

RICHARD DAWKINS Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University

Villain: George Bush

It's a difficult choice between Bush and Saddam: both unelected bullies, both self-interested chancers, both chronic liars, both repellent in their swaggering braggadocio. Saddam, unlike Bush, is a torturing murderer, but he is now a broken man whose removal from the world will make no difference, and he anyway only ever threatened his local area. Bush is still at large, environmentally toxic, and highly dangerous not just to his own country but to the world, perhaps especially Britain, whose otherwise decent Prime Minister, dragged down by his weird infatuation with Bush, has single-handedly dragged us into guilt by association.

Hero: Michael Moore

An occasionally irritating loose cannon, but most of his broadsides are right on target. Dude, Where's My Country? is a better book than the stupidly entitled Stupid White Men. Moore courageously raises all the embarrassing questions that demand answers.

DAVID DICKINSON Permatanned TV presenter

Hero: Jonny Wilkinson

He's everything that a British sportsman should be - dedicated, a superb athlete and a modest gentleman. Even when his final kick won the game, he was loath to take the credit and emphasised the contributions of the whole team.

Villain: Jonathan Aitken

My reformed villain of the year. He got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, but took his punishment on the chin and emerged from prison a better man.

DOMENICO DOLCE AND STEFANO GABBANA Fashion designers

Heroes

Doctors who research to defeat cancer.

Villains

Kamikazes who kill people with bombs.

SIR RANULPH FIENNES Adventurer

Hero: Tony Blair

Under non-stop media attack, Blair's Iraq policy has remained resolute. It is fashionable to attack the coalition in Iraq by conveniently forgetting that they are a huge power for good. Blair has won my admiration and my vote.

Villains

I spent much of the year doing research for my book on Captain Scott, and thereby discovered the extent of the baseless distortions introduced by previous biographers. Scott's reputation was torn apart, and since he was dead he couldn't fight back. Such biographers are my villains, cowards and frauds of the year.

CLAIRE FOX Director of the Institute of Ideas

Heroes: the Hashmis

The Leeds couple that elected to use state-of-the-art genetic technology so that they might conceive a child who could donate tissue to cure their son who is seriously ill with a rare blood disorder. They were made to jump through legal hoops and quasi-judicial scrutiny before being granted permission. They proved that parents who decide to use genetic science usually do so for the best of human motives.

Villain: Clare Short

Her high-profile resignation over Iraq seemed driven less by political * * principles than by a desire to salvage her reputation, which had been tarnished by her earlier unfulfilled threat to resign. Forget her spinelessness and half-hearted gesture politics, most nauseating is that she has now recast herself as a heroic anti-war pundit. She says she was "duped" by Blair's dodgy evidence, but Short is no martyr - she is part of the problem.

GEORGE GALLOWAY Expelled Labour MP

Hero: Lindsey German

For inspiring millions of people to come out to protest against the cruel and unjust war against Iraq. The unstoppable Lindsey German and her Stop the War team have, and will, I believe, change the face of British politics.

Villain: David Blunkett

By a mile, it is the most illiberal, vindictive, biliously foaming Home Secretary of modern times. He has done more to destroy the concept of Labour being a party of equality and fairness than any other person. I dread what his next wheeze will be. Branding, probably. I hope his guide dog savages his ankles.

URI GELLER Spoon-bender

Hero: Concorde

I idolised that aircraft. Whenever I saw it fly over our home, while I was tramping the fields with my dogs, I felt it was a bird of good omen. I had no idea so many people shared my reverence for it. This wasn't like the affection the British feel for the Mini or the red post box - this was love. When she flew for the last time, a nation grieved.

Villain: The Football Association

Run football? They couldn't run a cold bath. The sport is corrupted by drug-abusers and millionaire teenagers rampaging through nightclubs, while millions are switching to rugby... and what's the FA fussing about? They demand to interview me about "illegal payments" of a few hundred pounds, an end-of-season gift to help the stalwart lads at Exeter City enjoy their holidays. Why not let a gang of Baghdad looters run the game - they couldn't do it worse.

JOHANN HARI Independent columnist

Heroes: The Iraqi Prospect Organisation

A group of young Iraqis who are helping to build grass-roots democracy after 30 years of tyranny. You can support them at www.iprospect.org.uk.

Villains

I'm tempted to say David Blunkett for his disgusting comments about taking the children of asylum-seekers into care, but George Galloway trumps even him. Most of the anti-war people were good and decent; Galloway, by contrast, is a monster. He has dedicated his career to lauding, defending and promoting dictatorships. I hope he has a long and miserable retirement in a bunker somewhere.

MAJOR CHARLES INGRAM Convicted 'Millionaire' and insurance fraudster

Hero

The bold decision-maker who works for RDF, the makers of Wife Swap. At a time when much of the media were vilifying me, he had the kindness and audacity to offer a lifeline of sorts to a desperate and previously ordinary family. This simple act provided some relief to my family and me, and some of our happiest memories of 2003.

Villains

I will say nothing about the members of the production team of that game show; I will leave them to justice. But what about the insurance company who then saw an opportunity to so unfairly apply their own sense of justice? Perhaps it should be those members of the public who have attacked my family, my pets and my home? No, I cannot label them villains for being so misinformed. That leaves the newspapers. Regrettably, there are two villains in my mind: one tabloid columnist who is now so desperate for attention that she readily prints exactly what her scurrilous sources tell her. The other, a tabloid diarist, is also now so desperate for attention that she derides everyone and everything. I choose the columnist as my villain, for she is a danger to society. The diarist knows not what she does.

JOHN JACKSON Chairman of the Countryside Alliance

Hero: Sharron Rourke

Sharron, who works for the Rural Regeneration Unit, helped the North Cumbria Health Action Zone set up co-operative schemes improving health and diet by linking urban consumers with local food producers. There are now 27 co-operatives feeding 6,000 people every week in North Cumbria, and the model is being repeated all over the country.

Villain: Bob Worcester

This rich pollster uses all too familiar ways to influence the debate. This is the man who claimed that a majority of public opinion in rural areas was against hunting just months after his company, Mori, had published a poll showing the opposite. More recently, he expressed worries that the Rural Communications Network created by the Countryside Alliance would result in "specialist" voices being over-represented in the Big Conversation. If at first you don't succeed, try gagging!

JAMES JOHNSON Chairman of the British Medical Association

Hero: John Reid

Before Reid's appointment, consultants were unable to participate in the modernisation of the NHS because of the blank refusal of his predecessor to talk. We may not always agree with the way Reid spends the unprecedented levels of money going in to the NHS, but are delighted to have a Health Secretary whose door is open to constructive dialogue.

Villain: John Reid

Reid was infamous for ignoring the workplace smoking ban at the Scottish Office, for which he was awarded the dubious honour of Scotland's Champion Smoker. Despite his decision to give up smoking at the start of the year, he still ignores the deadly effects of passive smoking by refusing to ban smoking in enclosed public places. Low-paid workers in bars and restaurants across the UK deserve protection.

ANNIE LENNOX Musician

Heroes

Real heroes usually go unsung... such as nurses and doctors, or charity workers who carry on doing their work in underpaid and stressful circumstances. We don't know them or acknowledge them much, and it's a pretty thankless task.

Villains

Villains are often behind the scenes, too... they usually hide behind brand names or political parties.

KEN LOACH Film director

Heroes

The million and a half who marched in February against the war and the lying politicians who presume to act in our name. My hope for the new year is that there will be a coalition to the left of Labour for whom we can vote without feeling ashamed and betrayed.

Villains: Tony Blair and Gordon Brown

For their services to corporate interests and their trampling on international law.

SHAZIA MIRZA Comedian

Hero: Simon Cowell

He's intelligent and he knows what he's talking about. If people don't like him, it's because they know he's right and the truth hurts. That's why his opinion in the industry matters. He is entertaining (and very sexy.)

Villain: Michael Barrymore

I used to love Barrymore, because I'm a fag hag and I knew he was gay even before he did. I don't love him any more; I don't respect people who aren't true to themselves. If you're gay - so what? He was brave once. Not any more. He seems to have lost his sense of humour.

STEVE NORRIS Tory candidate for Mayor of London

Hero: Ken Livingstone

For introducing the congestion charge.

Villain: Ken Livingstone

For introducing the congestion charge.

GRAYSON PERRY Turner prize-winner

Heroes: Lance Armstrong and Germaine Greer

I'm torn between Lance Armstrong and Germaine Greer, which probably says a lot about me. Lance is my hero for battling cancer and winning his fifth Tour de France. I'm a big cycling fan and I know what some of those Tour de France hills are like. I really admired Germaine Greer's book this year, The Boy. Too often we see boys as just hoodies involved in petty crime until they become men, but she brought the preciousness back to boyhood. She also looks like my mother.

Villain: the media

Especially in the US, which likes to see things purely in black and white. There is so much bigoted oversimplification, which makes it easy for them to point the finger. I hate this infantile view of the world. Life is really much more complex: we've all got the potential for evil within us.

GERALD SCARFE Caricaturist

In my work, I don't have many heroes, but deal with villains daily. I have been much exercised with heroes and villains over the last year, it being the subject and title of my National Portrait Gallery book. In my research, I have discovered that many of us have both sides - Isaac Newton, for instance, was a hero as a scientist but an unpleasant villain in his private life. So, bearing this in mind, I nominate as my hero Ken Livingstone, for decongesting the streets of London, and as my villain Ken Livingstone, for charging me a fiver every time I cross London.

ROGER SCRUTON Philosopher

Hero: the Prince of Wales

He has stood firm and unvengeful through yet another treacherous media campaign.

Villains: the British public

I choose them, first for their salacious appetite for lies and scandal about the Prince; Second, for their even more corrupt - indeed, downright vicious - interest in the murder of two innocent schoolgirls. The great virtue of the Prince of Wales is that he is prepared to be monarch of a people who have few interests other than drooling over sex and murder.

WILL SELF Author

Hero: Sir Stephen Tumim

Sir Stephen, who died earlier this month, was Chief Inspector of Prisons between 1987 and 1995, and he made it his personal crusade to end the gross practise of "slopping out" in British prisons, and to champion the rehabilitation of offenders through education and the arts. His report after the Strangeways riots was a model of reform, which, had it been implemented, would have revolutionised our society's attitude towards crime and punishment. He was a warm beacon of humanity in a cold sea of hatred and paranoia.

Villain: Michael Howard

That Sir Stephen's attempts to reform the Prison Service were so frustrated was in no small part due to Michael Howard. Make no mistake, despite his new-found concern for the less well-off, and his media-friendly spouse, Howard is still an avatar of entrenched privilege and destructive corporate interests. He should never again be allowed to hold high office.

GRAEME SMITH South African cricket captain

Hero: Nelson Mandela

Mandela is a role model for reconciliation, peace and social causes throughout the world. He is the ultimate inspiration to all South Africans, and the continent as a whole.

Villain

My villain is not a person but the pandemic of HIV/Aids, a devastating disease that is affecting the whole world, and particularly the continent of Africa and my beloved South Africa. We all have a role to play in finding solutions for dealing with its spread.

JON SNOW Presenter of 'Channel 4 News'

Heroes

The NHS; and Mohammed Sahnoon, the UN negotiator about to broker the greatest peace deal in Sudan.

Villains

Conrad Black; and Reading FC for pinching Steve Coppell from Brighton & Hove Albion.

BARBARA STOCKING Director of Oxfam

Hero: Sam Nagbe

Sam was Oxfam's spokesman in Liberia during the terrible fighting in June and July. Holed up in his house, with battles raging outside, he gave radio interviews around the clock. He told the world about the suffering of the Liberian people and the bravery and determination of his team who were battling to provide clean drinking-water. They are all my heroes.

Villain: Sara Lee

There is a global coffee crisis forcing 25 million farmers into poverty, yet the conglomerate Sara Lee has almost completely failed to reform its coffee-buying practices. Coffee prices are lower in real terms than they have been for the past 100 years, but the big roasters are still making huge profits. Meanwhile, poor coffee producers in Africa and Latin America are increasingly desperate. Sara Lee must act now to challenge the human crisis in its supply chain.

TAKI Spectator columnist

Hero: Zach Goldsmith

He manages to combine an aversion to unacceptable capitalism with being a capitalist, and he's an ecologist without going around throwing paint at women who are wearing furs, and other such self- serving things.

Villain: Ariel Sharon

He has managed to start the first world war of the 21st century, and is hated by a lot of right-thinking Israelis in his own country.

PETER TATCHELL Gay-rights campaigner

Heroes: Taslima Nasrin and Aung San Suu Kyi

The Bangladeshi feminist writer for continuing to challenge the bigotry of Islamic fundamentalists, despite a fatwa against her; and the Burmese democracy leader for refusing the junta's offer of freedom until all detained democracy activists are released.

Villain: the Pope

For opposing the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV with the scaremongering lie that HIV can penetrate through condoms; for saying that gay people are "disordered", and that loving same-sex relationships are "evil"; for refusing to apologise for Vatican collaboration with the Nazi persecution of Jewish and gay people.

SARAH TEATHER Liberal Democrat MP and youngest member of House of Commons

Hero: Jane Tomlinson

She has run numerous marathons and triathlons, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity, despite having terminal cancer.

Villain: Ken Livingstone

For going back on all his principles to rejoin a party that is proposing top-up fees and foundation hospitals, and that took us to war in Iraq.

MIKE TINDALL Rugby World Cup-winning three-quarter

Hero: Jason Leonard

Jason, aka the Funbus, aka the Leopard, gets my vote for two main reasons. One: 113 caps - self-explanatory, really, but if you add to that the fact that he is a front-row player who overcame a career-threatening injury, the man hits legend status. Two: you can bet your house that after a heavy night out, the Leopard will be the last man standing!

Villain: Ian Huntley

What he did was not only cowardly, but unforgiveable. The amount of grief he has caused those families and that community was so unneccessary.

SIR NICHOLAS YOUNG Chief executive of the British Red Cross

Hero: Dr Jacques Moreillon

Dr Moreillon is a retired Red Cross delegate. In the 1970s, he regularly visited Nelson Mandela while the latter was imprisoned on Robben Island. Jacques was instrumental in improving conditions for the prisoners by negotiating with the regime to bring an end to backbreaking quarry work, and to recognise their right to study and exercise, and even hot water and clean underwear.

Villain

The HIV/Aids pandemic will kill more people this decade than all the wars and disasters in the past 50 years. A key reason is the stigma attached to it. Cultural barriers and beliefs in many parts of the world have made it difficult to talk about the illness and, more important, about the reasons for its spread - such as unsafe sex. Ignorance and stigma is a villain that is getting in the way of understanding, treatment and care.

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