“Keeping An Eye on the Czar of Russia” Awards Night.. A Gala Evening with many of Norn Irons finest political celebs on the Red Carpet, all coveting a “Czar”. The panel of judges….me….had a difficult job in deciding on the winners.
Man of the Year Award:
Jeremy Corbyn MP. (Leader of the Labour Party). Hands up if you predicted this twelve months ago.
Too Stupid to be in Parliament Award:
The Labour MPs who nominated Jeremy to be on the ballot paper to widen the discussion and did not want him elected.
Political Party of the Year::
Scottish Nationalist Party. Taking 56 of 59 seats at Westminster, they probably wont replicate this in 2020 but they will be the dominant party in Scotland for generations. The “United Kingdom” is finished. The British Labour Party is collateral damage.
Boogey Man of the Year:
Donald Trump. Did anyone see this happening? Republicans were once reasonable alternatives to the Democrats. Opposition is the most important thing in a Democracy. But over the past two decades, they have sold out…first to Christian fundamentalists, then Tea Party people, Gun-Owners then Racists. Frankly they have allowed the Tail to wag the Dog. And establishment candidates like Jeb Bush and Lindsay Graham are victims of this. They created the circumstances that led to Donald Trump being the front-runner.
The smart analysts say that Marco Rubio or Steve Cruz will win the nomination for the GOP but Trump continues to confound.
Hilary Clinton is hardly inspiring but still more likely to be President of United States than anyone else.
But USA looks hopelessly divided.
LetsGetAlongerist of the Year:
William Cawley. I know nothing about him but he seems to make radio and TV programmes of a LetsGetAlongerist nature.
Flop of the Year:
Naomi Long of the Alliance Party. She lost her East Belfast seat at Westminster. She will bounce back when Ford gets his peerage for services to DUP and Sinn Féin.
Flip Flop of the Year:
Sinn Féin on Welfare Reform.
“Je Suis…” Placard Award for Human Rights
Patrick Corrigan (Amnesty International). He has built up his part nicely over the years. Normally I am a big fan of Human Rights….no seriously on balance….I LIKE Human Rights. But if you are out in Royal Avenue in Belfast and you are approached by Amnesty fund-raisers, just say two words “Patrick Corrigan”. The fundraisers will back off.
Double Act of the Year.
Clare Bailey (Green Party and Pro-Choice Activist) and Bernie Smyth (Pro-Life Activist).
Martyr of the Year:
Andrew Muir…..a man who takes Cake seriously.
Local Politician of the Year:
Fearghal McKinney MLA. New Deputy Leader of SDLP. Didnt he do well?
Local Political Couple of the Year:
I have to go for SDLP couple Claire Hanna and her hubby, Donal Lyons who had a great year.
When Alasdair McDonnell stood down from the Assembly, having held South Belfast at Westminster, Claire was the natural choice to succeed him and she was co-opted. This meant giving up her seat in Belfast City Council. And Donal was co-opted. Donal is also Chief Policy Officer for SDLP at Stormont.