Thursday, January 01, 2009

Some Reflections on 2008

I should have done this last night, but was distracted by an invitation to visit some real people, which you should never turn down.

We had great fun with Stevie and the girls, his brother Kevin, brother-in-law Ally and his girlfriend Kay. I don't think I have ever heard such ecstacy in my whole life as when Stevie finally worked out how to score a goal in Football on the Wii. The extra time alone was 3 times more than the match had been, and the resulting celebrations made the stuff that goes on in a real football pitch seem very tame and polite.

Anyway, we all really missed Anne, who was working last night.

The last year which started in the McGinnigle house, 2006, was a really good one, so here's hoping that they have worked their magic again.

But on to the serious stuff. A quick look back on the year just gone - Caron's awards, voted for nobody but myself and so entirely subjective.

First, a word about sexiest politicians awards. Men, Obama has this one sown up for hte forseeable, so the rest of you, even Nick Clegg, are just going to have to look into your mirrors and weep.

Now, on to the serious (ish) stuff:

Defining Moment of 2008 has to be Obama's acceptance speech. I could have picked any moment in September when Robert Peston was more famous than Simon Cowell and God, but let's be optimistic.

In case you missed it, here it is again - a treat and a defining moment probably in the whole of history, not just this year. It was remarkable that a man who I was at best lukewarm to at the beginning of the year actually managed to get under my skin and make me like him. Still not sure on the substance, though........

UK Politician of the Year - has to be Vince Cable for his wise and prescient comments on the economy. He saw the financial meltdown coming for years and spoke with more credibility and authority in outlining our proposals to help the economy recover in a sustainable way. His challenge for 2009 is to turn this into success for the party.

Scottish Politician of the Year - Tavish Scott, who, in 4 short months, has done a great deal to build the profile of the Scottish Liberal Democrats after a couple of tough years. He has led the way on tax cuts and HBOS and has started to make much needed changes in the party. It's good to have a leader who has a very clear vision of what he wants to achieve and how he wants to go about it. His challenge for 2009 is to galvanise and motivate the Party to deliver a winning campaign for George Lyon in Europe.

Scottish Political Moment of the Year in terms of media headlines, honours would probably be shared between the SNP's narrow victory in the Glasgow East and then Labour's convincing win in Glenrothes, bringing the Nationalist juggernaut to a screeching halt. I have to offer a health warning for the appalling language, and I clearly have no sympathy with the sentiments expressed, but the viral videos prepared by both sides in a parody of the film Downfall, shows how bitter and twisted they can both be. I'm not embedding them but if you want to watch them, here's the Glasgow East one and here's the Glenrothes one. I will confess to some moments of mild hilarity when first watching them, but, like a fast food burger, any feeling of satisfaction is quickly over.

However, I would give my award for moment of the year to the Scottish Parliament for voting down the SNP Government's ludicrous and illiberal proposals to prevent under 21s buying alcohol in off licenses. It shows that the Parliament is still capable of working together to vote down illiberal proposals. Let's hope that this idea is now quietly forgotten.

Political Campaigner of the Year

This one has to go to Baroness Ros Scott, new Liberal Democrat President. Who on earth would have thought, 18 months ago, that a humble Peer would beat one of the best known names in the Party. It's a tribute to her sheer hard work in travelling the length and breadth of the country, supporting local campaigning here, there and everywhere combined with use of the best the internet has to offer. And, by the way, her campaign database software is the basis of the future. Her comprehensive victory was well deserved and I feel that the Party is in safe hands for her term.

Congratulations to her and the Honourable Lady Mark for starting as they mean to go on, by continuing to support local campaigns, in particular Grace Goodlad's campaign in East Wickham at the moment.

Political Villains of the Year I'd go for the Democratic Unionist MPs for voting with the Government on 42 days' detention proposals. Of course, the decision to, later in the year, abandon proposals to extend UK abortion laws to Northern Ireland was completely coincidental. The proposals were ultimately defeated by the House of Lords, forcing a humiliating Government climbdown.

Coward of the Year

The BBC for cravenly buckling to the Daily Mail lobby over Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross. Stupid and insensitive though they were, the BBC should have been more robust in defending itself.

My personal favourite moments of the year, in my life

Watching Anna perform confidently on stage in Mallorca so many times during our holiday.

Going out with my husband to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary

Watching Anna in her choir Christmas concert

Trying on inappropriately high heeled shoes with my niece Emma when she came to stay the other week.

Sitting up and live-blogging the US elections, however stupid that may have been in terms of being exhausted the next day.

Low Points of the year

The darned virus from which I have still not fully recovered, which laid me low in mid November.

Breaking down on the way home from the Glenrothes count.

Trashy TV Moment of the Year

For this one, I've considered John Sergeant quitting Strictly, which took all the headlines for days and was even mentioned in Parliament, the Louis Walsh and Dannii Minogue spat on the X Factor where her tears saw the sweet and good natured Louis hysterically branded a bully in most of the press and the Strictly voting fiasco which propelled Tom Chambers from certain elimination to winning the series. However we have to go back to May for the Winner - the Kosher Chicken fiasco from the Apprentice. If this is typical of the stupidity of future entrepreneurs, then we are all doomed:

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