King of the Valleys Award 2012

by George_East on January 21, 2013

This is a post by George East which was originally posted on 2 January 2013 but which was lost from the site during our recent difficulties.  It is not clear whether the post is complete and unfortunately all comments on the post and any graphics originally posted have been lost.king of the valleys shirt

Our King of the Valleys Award is awarded to the person who has seen their reputation plummet the furthest over the course of the last 12 months.

This prestigious award has set extremely high standards in its first two years.  In 2010 Vince Cable took the Award, going from the go-to politician on economic issues in the run up to the 2010 election to the foolish victim of a Daily Telegraph honey trap at the end of the year, resulting in his responsibility for the Murdoch Sky takeover bid being stripped from him. In 2011 an even greater fall from glory was recognised with Dominique Strauss-Khan seeing off all-comers going from Presidential candidate and IMF Chair to suspected sexual offender in the space of a morning in a New York hotel.  The fact that the charges were later dropped did nothing to restore his reputation as further allegations arose on seemingly a daily basis.

This year there was tough competition between two candidates for the coveted Dog Shit Jersey.  Rupert ‘Digger’ Murdoch saw his reputation fall further, as the Leveson  Inquiry unearthed the extent of the cynical shenanigans taking place in his news empire.   However, his reputation was already on a strong downward trajectory as a result of the closure of the News of the World and the collapse of News Corp’s Sky bid in 2011, in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. nHe was a worthy runner up.

Our winner this year is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne

Gideon has always fancied himself as more of a political genius than he actually ever was.   His reputation rested almost entirely down to his Inheritance Tax pledge at the Tory Party Conference that saw off the Election That Never Was (Gordon Brown never being one to take risks).   That is about it.

He was later comprehensively out-played by the true master, Peter Mandelson over Corfu-gate. However Osborne did start the year with his reputation amongst the Westminster Village as both a competent Chancellor and formidable political operator broadly intact. And then came the budget – a budget that was pre-sold as a work of political genius.  Coalition apparatchiks were dispatched to various news studios to tell us how brilliant Gideon had been – so clever in the package he had put together. Oh yes. Within 24 hours the whole budget was unraveling as the Tory press (with a considerable dose of help from Ed Balls) went apeshit about various aspects.

There was something to offend just about every demographic. Daily Telegraph readers found that their charity donations were no longer going to be subject to tax relief.  Daily Mail readers found themselves the subject of the ˜granny tax‘ .  The Sun went to war over the taxing of Pasties – as a working class lunch was made subject to VAT for the first time. As well as alienating his natural supporters Osborne in one hit, undone all notion that ˜we are all in this together’ by cutting the top rate of tax (for those earning over £150,000 per annum) to 45% from 50%.

Far from the budget being a work of political genius it was the single most inept budget of recent political memory.  Labour could not believe their luck. This budget disaster is something the Tories have still not recovered from. The heartless and useless meme has stuck.   Immediately before the budget Labour’s lead was negligible (indeed the Tories even had a slim lead in one or two polls at the beginning of last year).   Ever since the budget the Tories have been roughly 10 points behind. S

Superb work this year Gideon and it is a positive pleasure to give you this Award. Do keep it up.

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