Friday, December 12, 2008

The Awards Which Devalue The Very Word

The Channel 4 Political Award nominations were released yesterday. You can see the the full list HERE. Most of the awards have nominations which are even more fatuous than normal - and that's saying something. Let's take three of them as examples...

Politician's Politician
Diane Abbott
John Bercow
Lord Mandelson
George Osborne

This is the top Award given to the person MPs and Peers feel has made the most distinguished contribution in 2008.

Well, if it's called the Politician's Politician award you might well think that it should go to a politician who is liked and respected across all parties. Three of these four are widely disliked within their own parties, and one achieves the distinction of being disliked both within his own party and among his opponents (Mandelson, before you ask). But even if you take it at the official description's face value, I'm hard pushed to name the "distinguished contributions" made by any of them apart from Diane Abbott, whose speech on 42 days was a humdinger. Does Mandelson get it just for returning to the Cabinet? Does Bercow get it for his report on children for the government in his role as a goat? Distinguished though he is, I am not sure even George Osborne thinks 2008 has been a better year for him than 2007. Let's move on.

Peer of the Year
Lord Adonis
Lord Avebury
Lord Davies of Oldham
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

So no Conservative Peer or Crossbench Peer even merits a nomination. Not even Lady Manningham Buller. Lord Adonis gets nominated presumably because he got reshuffled. Can't think what else he has done. Similarly, Baroness Royall gets nominated just for becoming Leader of the Lords when no one had ever heard of her before outside the House of Lords. And Lord Davies? Perhaps someone else can shed some light on that one.

Hansard Society Award for Promoting Democracy
Sir Bernard Crick
David Davis
June Sarpong (for her website
Politics in the City)

This award is presented by the Hansard Society to the individual or organisation that has done most to promote interest and engagement in the political system in 2008.

I can just about see why David Davis has been nominated (well, I would, wouldn't I?). What has Bernard Crick done this year? Lifetime achievement award maybe, but for 2008? And June Sarpong? Don't make me laugh. Her website, while a good idea but weak on content, has so few readers that it doesn't actually register on the Alexa ratings. Could it be that she has been nominated because she just happens to present programmes for, er, Channel 4, and gives them a second ethnic minority nominee? Perish the thought.

People keep telling me that Total Politics should organise some proper political awards, rather than this sort of politico-celebrity wankfest. I've resisted the thought so far as I think there are too many political awards events and none of them actually achieve what they set out to. There's no point in adding yet another one to the list unless it can be something truly original. We have had one idea, which is being worked up at the moment, but in these difficult economic times it would be brave in the extreme to think that it would be possible to do without some pretty major sponsorship.


Tim Leunig said...

I assume that Andrew Adonis has been nominated for sticking with academies, school stds and parental choice through thick and thin. If a week is a long time in politics, then Andrew has did that one job with single minded determination for aeons. Most politicians want to move on and up, but he wanted to do a job. Surely that is worth celebrating and encouraging?

Dick the Prick said...

Politician's politician:

Diane Abbott
John Bercow
Lord Mandelson
George Osborne

Is this a joke? Is this supposed to be funny? Fair enough get behind George (for political strength) but none of these guys get into the top 50. Ah, good grief.

strapworld said...

Iain, Lets face it Channel 4 is a labour lovefest most days.

So your excellent periodical should be completely different. A NEgative Festival!

Now, Who was that fellow who came up with the worst dressed actors in Hollywood - or was it worst films..anyway my point is that TotalPolitics could highlight The MP who did nothing for his/her constituuents. The MP who bored the pants off everyone! The worst speech. The greatest Lie of the year. The worst Minister. You could, I am sure, come up with far more cutting categories

not an economist said...

Why is he unpopular within the Tory party? I always thought he was a good deabter. I saw him at my university (Lancaster) back in the 80's when he was head of FCS.

I am not saying he deserved this award/nomination - I just don't understand why he is not popular within the Tory party.

Dick the Prick said...

Krishnan Guru Murthy - the Ch4 understudy is absolutely terrible at political interviews. However, I don't think Ch4 have become a Labour shill - perhaps so jaded through BBC & Sky but they do often offer a completely different narrative. I think they should sort More4 news out - it's usually the main news repeated rather than picking one story and nailing it.

James Enfield said...

Politician's Politician - Mandelson's return to government has been a huge success (so far) and he's thrown a lot of mud at the Tories (how many anti-Tory headlines has he generated?).

Osborne's performed well at the dispatch box and given a lot of stick to the government. They've both had good years. I don't think to be a politician's politician you have to be liked by them, are the best politicians liked by everyone?

Peer of the Year -
Adonis has had a major effect for many years by promoting academies and specialist schools, and done so very effectively.

Davies, for the those that don't follow the Lords closely, covers about 7 government briefs very effectively and is constantly (across a large number of departments) an effective and dry performer at the dispatch box.

Has Manningham-Buller done much over the course of the year apart from attacking 42 days?

And I suppose the Hansard Society, before nominating June Sarpong, phoned up Channel 4 to see if they needed any more blacks as nominees?

Savonarola said...

Mandelson, a pernicious force in UK politics, is head and shoulders above the rest. The award has absolutely nothing to do with 'respect' 'well liked' and that guff.

It is about who is effective. Mandelson has rescued both Brown and NuLab and may even get them re-elected. He is a political genius.

He along with Campbell, the retired pornographer and serial liar, has poisoned the body politic and their malign influence has done more to devalue democracy than anything else.


Unsworth said...

Yes, yes, but this is The 'Channel Four' Political Awards. Nothing to do with reality at all. Let's understand that this is solely about Channel Four's aims and ambitions, and sod-all to do with politics.