Prat of the Year Awards 2012

by George_East on January 21, 2013

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This is a post by Jackie South which was originally posted on 1 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.

Now for the most important Award of 2012,  Allthatsleft’s Prat of the Year award. OK, that is clearly bollocks, but there appear to be a number of prominent individuals who have been working very hard for this honour.

Before we get to our top five, I wanted to play tribute to a number of those people who didn’t quite make that final cut. Take a bow, Todd Akin for blowing a near certain Senate seat by reinventing basic human biology (whilst suggesting that rapes could be categorised as legitimate and illegitimate).  You too, Julian Assange for trying to make yourself look like a martyr against the repressive might of … Sweden?  Take a step forward, Clint Eastwood, just don’t start talking to the chair you see there. So, without any further ado, the top five… (Drum roll…)

5. Karl Rove

The arch evil genius of the Republican Party, who did more than anyone else to give us eight years of George W Bush, had his political reputation shredded live on national TV by his own beloved Fox News.  Oh, delicious irony. Old Turd Blossom was the expert pundit for Fox’s coverage of the presidential election results. Fox’s pundits as a whole were woeful: Dick Morris predicted a Romney landslide just before the election, despite all the indications of the polls. Rove’s meltdown live on air, where he disputed the station’s own expert’s call of Ohio (and therefore the election as a whole) for Obama, displayed a man so convinced by his own hunches that he ignored all the evidence pointing to a different conclusion.

Rove’s mystique and reputation as the smartest political brain in the business was torpedoed live on air. And all the time, live pictures played of a jubilant  Democratic crowd who understood far more than Rove what the figures showed. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy…

4. George Osborne

Britain’s own erstwhile evil political genius crashed and burned as well.  Indeed, he is now judged by some as the worst Chancellor of the Exchequer since the war.

It was the disastrous March budget that did most damage to his reputation: doling out tax cuts to the richest whilst imposing the Granny Tax, the Pasty Tax and Caravan Tax. Osborne had to backtrack on all of those new levies after a ferocious media attack.

As Nadine Dorries said, he looked like a posh boy who didn’t know the price of a pint of milk. Then in July, there was his ridiculous attempt to pin the LIBOR scandal on Ed Balls, which many of his own colleagues thought was not only ridiculous but also counterproductive. He currently looks likely to be the first Chancellor to oversee a triple-dip recession.

Finally, in September he tried to flatter his ego by giving out the medals at the Paralympics. His bemused embarrassment at the boos he received was one of the gems of the year.

3. David Cameron

The Prime Minister has managed to chalk up five separate Prat of the Week awards in 2012 (see here, here, here, here and here).  Here is our rundown of his greatest acts of prattery in 2012:

  • His bungled announcement of his policy on energy companies having to offer the lowest tariffs
  • His month-long dawdle before deciding that Andrew Mitchell could not command the authority required to be Chief Whip and sacking him in the Plebgate farago
  • Being made to look stupid by Argentinian president Christina Fernandez de Kirchner after his attempt to wrong foot her at a summit backfired
  • Attacking Jimmy Carr for tax-dodging only to back off when he discovered his mates like Gary Barlow were involved in similar schemes
  • More tragically, the Jimmy Carter-esque rescue attempt of two hostages in Libya which ended in the death of both
  • Telling voters he wanted “A Boris in every city” with the inevitable consequence that they nearly all rejected the idea of an elected mayor at the polls

My own favourite was Horsegate, the story of how he had ridden on Raisa, the horse that Rebekah Brooks had borrowed from the police, to be returned “in a poor condition”.  Cameron’s office tried to deny the story but then had to concede it was likely to be true.  When Brooks later revealed to Leveson that Cameron had thought that ‘LOL’ meant ‘Lots of Love’, cue the jokes that he thought ‘IMHO’ was short for “Is My Horse Outside”? How on earth did this total arse get to run the country?

2. Mitt Romney

Another five-time winner of Prat of the Week this year was Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (see here, here, here, here and here). Romney’s problem was that it appears that every time he opened his mouth it was to change feet. He responded to the gun attack on a Sikh temple in the Mid West by offering his sympathy to “the sheikhs”. He criticised airplane companies for not having windows that passengers could open.  He told us that Iran saw Syria as its route to the sea.  He claimed to be “as poor as a church mouse” whilst also saying how much easier it would be to get elected if he had Mexican parents (number of presidents elected of Hispanic origin: 0, number whose relatives were leading politicians: quite a lot). But his top three acts of prattery were:

  • Going on a world tour in July to boost his standing as a statesman, where he managed to offend everyone he visited. Most famously, he was dismissive of London’s preparations for the Olympics, but he also managed to upset both the Palestinians and Israelis and his attempt to invoke the spirit of Solidarity in Poland backfired when the organisation expressed its support for Obama.
  • His infamous statement that 47% of Americans did not pay tax and it was therefore his jobnot to worry about those people“. The fact that those 47% were more likely to live in Southern states he needed to win than safe Democratic states added to his prattishness.
  • Despite the indications of most of the polls and the clear predictions of the most analytical of pundits, he was convinced enough of his victory that he both only prepared a winner’s speech (leading to a leaden concession oration on the night) and ordered enough fireworks for a victory display to provide the gunpowder for a small nation.

Thankfully, enough Americans saw Romney for the prat he is and rejected his sorry ass.

And the winner is (rips open golden envelope) … 1. Nick Clegg

He may not have won as many Prat of the Week awards during the year as Cameron and Romney, but Nick Clegg is a worthy winner of the annual award, for the second year running. 2012 was the year that Clegg tried to come out fighting.  He ended up leading his party coming eighth in the Rotherham by-election, behind a local vicar and the English Democrats. Its not surprising: Clegg often came out fighting against policies he himself had helped to devise, such as government proposals on internet records or the dismantling of the NHS.

The only place where he has shown any gumption was really just a massive, self-serving sulk. When the Coalition saw through its commitment to draw up proposals to reform the House of Lords, those proposals sunk as a result of a Tory backbench rebellion and the votes of the Opposition parties.  That did not breach the Coalition agreement: the report had been produced. Clegg’s hissy fit was to respond by rejecting the boundary review he had signed up to in he deal to get the AV referendum he lost. That rejection helps his own party’s chances next time (and those of Labour) but hardly looks like the exercise of any principle.

Finally, he decided to lance the boil of his volte face on university tuition fees by issuing a video of him apologising.  But not for the decision he took, rather the fact that his party offered a pledge it could not carry out without winning outright power. As statements go, it is pretty dishonest, and most saw through it. The pledge, after all, was for MPs to personally vote against increases in fees, not one to guarantee that the increase would not happen.  Whatever the parliamentary maths, both that pledge and the Coalition agreement left the Lib Dems to vote against an increase. Instead, Clegg and most of his party voted for them or abstained.

The video was mocked, and Clegg was forced by Andrew Marr to watch the parody version of it. His uncomfortable forced smile as he did so was the best thing on the Marr show all year, with Marr saying  “It may be more effective than the original“.

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