Vote now for the Non-Personality of the Year

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The Independent Online
There is still time to vote in our Non- Personality of 1996 competition! Yes, this is your chance to nominate the person who, in your opinion, has done most to lower the tone of 1996 and make it a duller, drearier year.

Just to remind you of the purpose of the contest - the whole idea is to counterbalance the vicious trend of things like the Today Programme Personality of the Year, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and so on, in which the winners generally have very little personality and haven't done very much. Typically, it tends to be an army officer who has got an Olympic silver medal in the bobsleigh, a member of the Royal Family who has got through the year without being divorced, someone who spent a year as a hostage in Beirut, etc.

But our Non-Personality of the Year has to be someone who genuinely seems to have no particular personality and has genuinely achieved nothing at all.

Past winners of the Non-Personality of the Year include Peter Mayle, "Doctor" Brian Mawhinney, Terry Waite, Noel Edmonds and Peter Mayle again.

This year, however, we are not naming any names. This is partly because we are scared of libel suits, and partly for fear Peter Mayle might win again. So, without any names or pack drill, here are our nominations for the title of Non-Personality of the Year, 1996!

That chap who does the weather forecast without your being able to understand a word of what he is saying.

The girl that Melvyn Bragg brings along to Start The Week because if he didn't there wouldn't be any female on the programme.

That bright young presenter of that children's TV programme, you know the one.

Any journalist who tries to turn The Archers into a news story.

Anyone who has been sensationally fired from this Irish thing called Riverdance where they only move half their body, so presumably it would only be worth firing half of him anyway ...

That bloke who comes up behind you at 90mph on the motorway and flashes his headlights if you won't get out of the way quick enough.

Any director of Camelot.

Anyone who tries to explain the windfall tax.

The person at the BBC who persists in believing that the Budget speech is an effective piece of theatre.

A footballer who is more famous for being sent off or missing a penalty than anything else.

Anyone who is supposedly a model for a character in Absolutely Fabulous.

The person who coined the meaningless word "supermodel".

Any child of the late Robert Maxwell.

That bloke who drives along the motorway in front of you in the middle or fast lane at a solid 50mph, no more, and won't move over, even when you flash your lights at him from behind.

That woman you sit next to who spends the whole dinner party saying how good Two Fat Ladies is, and you finally say, "Yes, but why is it so good? What do they actually ever do except laugh, when nothing funny is happening or being said? What does it actually tell us about cooking, when everything is so obviously set up?" And the woman looks at you askance as if you are missing the point, and you suddenly realise that SHE will be nominating YOU for Non-Personality of 1996 ...

The politician who has most often gone on the much-vaunted Today programme and then failed to answer the question.

A disturbed youth who costs the local council pounds 90,000 a week to give care to. Obviously we can't give his name for legal reasons, and equally obviously we wouldn't be lifting a finger to help him if we didn't have a legal obligation to do so.

Anyone who still wears his baseball cap back to front.

Anyone who is idiot enough to buy the new England football strip, or the new Manchester United one, or any of them ...

Anyone who rings you up and says, "I'll tell you why I rang".

Anyone who goes out and puts money on the much-vaunted Today programme's racing tips.

The person at the BBC who dreamt up the slogan: "It's all for you on Radio 2".

Any of the many people who ring me up and call me Mr Maynard and then try to sell me time-shares, double glazing, etc, whereas Mr Maynard is the name of my wife's first husband, which isn't the best or most tactful way of going about selling me time-shares, double gazing, etc ...

More nominations for Non-Personality of 1996 coming soon. Please feel free to nominate someone yourself!