Yes, it's time for the aloadofstodge awards for 2008 and a crowd of at least two or three has gathered here at Stodge Towers for a glittering ceremony honouring the people who've made this year the finest year between 2007 and 2009 we've ever experienced !!
Without more adon't, the categories and winners:
Song of the Year: Not a vintage year for popular music and indeed my short-list comes from albums released in 2007 though the singles are from this year. Third place is "All Summer Long" from Kid Rock, second is "Better In Time" from Leona Lewis but my song of 2008 is "Denial" from the Sugababes.
Word of the Year: A number of contenders here. "Credit Crunch" is disqualified for being two words but it's the financial world that offers the key players. "Obamanomics" made it to the top three as did "de-leveraging" but the winner is "tanking". Indices like the FTSE and DJIA no longer fall sharply, they tank.
Analyst of the Year; In a year when most people have been mostly wrong most of the time, this isn't a well-populated category. Steve Richards and Andrew Rawnsley take the political plaudits but in the first leg of a double, the award goes to Allister Heath, Editor of City-AM, whose analysis of the twists and turns of the financial crisis has been daily reading. He's a dry-as-dust Thatcherite and I don't share his politics but his grasp of economics is superb.
Read of the Year: In an uninspiring year, the runaway winner is City AM, the daily freebie. Apart from the quality Editorial, the weekly "Bill of the Week" shows that even in these times of financial stringency, four City boys can still go out and splash £1,500 on lunch.
Bet of the Year: Not mine but the venerable Mike Smithson on politicalbetting.com, who backed Obama at 50s to be US President two years ago. In similar vein, he has backed Jon Hintsman to win back the White House for the Republicans in 2012.
International Man of the Year: Only one possible winner and that is Barack Obama who defied the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and two centuries of prejudice to win the election.
International Numpty of the Year: Another race with a packed field especially from America. Sarah Palin is a strong runner as is her erstwhile running-mate John McCain but they were facing a difficult task which they proceded to make impossible. However, the ever-unbalanced Fox News is the stable of our winner and while Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity warrant honourable mentions, Neil Cavuto wins the award for his unashamed liberal-bashing pro-conservative pro-Republican rantings.
Numpty Blogger of the Year: A new award and a runaway win for Martin Day from politicalbetting.com, whose tedious rantings about Nick Clegg and his comparison with Neil Kinnock have persuaded me that IF Martin is a Conservative, then I'm glad I'm not.
Blogger of the Year: An interesting group of new correspondents this year. On politicalbetting.com, old friends David Herdson and Sean Fear provide conservative analysis that's always worth reading while Stars & Stripes, albeit from a pro-GOP perspective, provided insightful analysis of the US Presidential and Senate elections on a State-by-State level. I called the election 355-183 and was only slightly out (thank you Missouri !!). The winner though comes from the world of weather and is Steve Murr, who posts on netweather.tv amongst others. Amidst a cacophony of background hopecasting, he talks sense.
British Numpty of the Year: Another well-contested field. David Cameron once again got to the short-list. With every speech, his reputation for me unravels and I dread the prospect of him being the next Prime Minister. The current incumbent also got to the short-list as did Alastair Darling but the late winner is London Mayor Boris Johnson. Thanks to him, my monthly Travelcard has gone up by 6.7%, well above inflation and a slap in the face for those foolish enough to have voted for him in May.
British Person of the Year: The blue-riband award and well contested as always. Nick Clegg had his problems but has had a pretty good year overall. The British Olympic team and in particular Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington, warrant honourable mentions as do British servicemen and servicewomen in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Down to the top three then and here goes:
3rd: Vince Cable: The LD financial spokesman has shown a steadiness under fire and a propensity for being right. He has constantly wrongfooted Alastair Darling and George Osborne and is a real asset to the party.
2nd: Brian Paddick: The Lib Dem Mayoral Candidate in London faced an impossible task against the political heavyweights Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone but conducted himself well - that is, until he decided to go into the jungle which lost him the award.
1st: Peter Ward Senior: My Dad celebrated his 80th Birthday this year and while life hasn't been easy for him in the past three or four years, he has retained his strength, generosity and sense of humour. May not be to everyone's taste but then he's not anyone else's Dad (except my brother's of course)
So, on that paternal note, a Happy New Year to my four or five readers and look out for my 2009 Predictions piece to follow in a day or two.