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...
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 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
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.