Hero of the Year Award 2015

by George_East on January 7, 2016

2015_HeroOfTheYearSo to the final of our annual awards, our heroes of the year.   2015 was, on the whole, a pretty bad year for the left.  Labour started the year with Ed Miliband favoured to become Prime Minister and with a Tory majority government considered to be all but impossible.  Of course that was exactly what we got.  Labour then turned in on itself and elected probably the most unelectable leader in its history in Jeremy Corbyn.  The Tories have for all intents and purposes been without an opposition ever since.

So when we looked for our heroes of the year it was necessary to cast the net somewhat wider than the main opposition party to find them.

As is traditional the winners in reverse order are:

Joint 5th:  The People of Syria

Syria has rapidly devolved into a the playing field of multiple international power games, as well as a brutal domestic civil war.   Russia fights the west, Iran fights Saudi Arabia, ISIS fights everybody, Turkey fights the Kurds, Assad desperately tries to cling to power.  And in the midst of this are people of Syria, having their homes and lives destroyed.

Joint 5th: Wilko Johnson

From international tragedy to a story of personal triumph over adversity.  Dr Feelgood guitar legend, Wilko Johnson, was given a few months to live as a result of what was diagnosed as being inoperable pancreatic cancer.  He even did a tour called the ‘Farewell Tour’,  which by the end he was too sick even to play the final scheduled gig of the tour, in his native Canvey Island.

A doctor read about his plight, examined him and as a result carried out an operation which has cleared Wilko of his cancer.  Since then he has gone from strength to strength, touring with The Who and Status Quo, and doing an extensive live tour of his own.

Once described as the greatest living Englishman, it looks like he is going to be around to have that title for much longer.

4. Justin Trudeau

Amidst mostly gloomy electoral news for the left across the world, Canada elected a Liberal majority  government under Justin Trudeau.  This was heartening both because Trudeau stood on an openly Keynesian economic platform (a good few notches to the left of Ed Miliband’s manifesto in May) calling for deficit spending on infrastructure, and once in office welcomed in Syrian refugees with open arms.  The sight of Trudeau at Toronto airport meeting the refugees as they arrived with the words ‘you are home now’ stood in stark contrast to the heartless approach of the UK government.

3. Barack Obama

As the US President enters his last year in office, we had further reminders that we will miss him when he is gone.  His tearful stance against the continued insanity of American gun laws in the wake of what seemed like almost weekly massacres, determining that he would go around Congress to the full extent of his presidential executive powers was matched by his earlier condemnation of governors of various US states refusing to accept Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks.

He was always a big politician (emphasising just how trivial our domestic politicians are), though there is a sense that he perhaps did not achieve his potential.  That said the barriers to success as a US President (in the face of a hostile congress) are immense.

2. Nicola Sturgeon

Our only domestic politician in this year’s list is Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.  As the SNP swept almost everything before them in the general election in 2015 and in the sure knowledge that they are likely to achieve the same thing in the Holyrood elections this coming May, in Nicola Sturgeon we had some sense of what a successful British centre left politician might look like.  Indeed in earlier decades you can perfectly well imagine her being the leader of Scottish Labour.   Not as much of a schemer and partisan political player as her predecessor, Alex  Salmond, Sturgeon looks genuinely statesmanlike.

1. The People of Paris

2015 started with the horrendous terrorist attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris.  It ended with attacks  on sporting venues, bars and gig venues across the city in the worst terrorist attacks in Europe since the Madrid train station bombing back in 2004.

Like the reaction to the London bombings in 2005, the reaction to both sets of attacks on the part of the Parisian population has been dignified, inclusive and united in its resistance.  The Front National were roundly defeated in Paris in the regional elections and the City’s people remained determined to live their lives as normal.  They are our worthy heroes of 2015.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

dan ash January 7, 2016 at 2:54 pm

George. You say it’s been a pretty bad year for the left. Of course, how right. A record number of people joining Labour because it promised a left wing agenda is close to a catastrophe.

Or do you mean that Labour lost the election? True, that’s bad. Very bad. But it wasn’t lost by “the left”. It was lost by a party which believed that a marginally softer neo-con future was the one to strive for.

We don’t know what the future holds. But at the moment for those on the real left, those who are proud to be socialists, it’s actually been a good year to have our principals given a voice.

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