Saturday, 20 December 2008

What do they know that we don't?

has become an incredibly useful website, and not just for the times that TB has been in an a hurry and hasn't had time to catch up with the day's news and blogs properly. He is, however, again forced to wonder exactly who it is that makes up their panel of top 100 political insiders. The site's claim to fame is that the people-in-the-know are polled on the day's big issues and offer the inside view. There have, however, been a couple of mildly embarrassing hiccups along the way. It's that time of year again where we all end up reflecting on the last twelve months, not just personally, but in terms of the year's news. TB was going to put together some of his own heroes and zeros of the last year but it seems
have beaten him to it. However TB has been left gobsmacked at who
these awards
have been given to...

Bear in mind when you look at who has been praised that this is, supposedly, the view of the 100 most eminent Westminster experts...

We'll start with pretty much the only award that TB agrees with - Rising Star of the year - awarded to Michael Gove with James Purnell as runner up. This is a fairly obvious choice, both men have the potential to lead their respective parties in the future. Purnell is one TB's favourite Labour politicians mainly for the fact he is basically a tory. Gove is a fantastic mind, writer and parliamentary performer.

However the sanity quickly falls away...

Gaffe of the year was awarded to George Osborne for letting slip that Mandy had "dripped pure poison" to him about Brown on their chance encounter in Corfu. Of course the revenge led to Gids being dragged into the whole world of pain that had the BBC and left wing press panting for a few weeks this autumn, but was this really the biggest gaffe of the year? Yes it caused a bit of hiccup for Team Dave, but at the end of the day George survived and the fact he survived a round in the ring with the Dark Lord Mandelson can only make him stronger. Surely the biggest gaffes of the year are the ones that have left serious and lasting damage to those concerned? Take, for example, the Labour class based campaign in the Crewe by-election, that not only upset both sides of the chamber but was wholeheartedly rejected by the electorate. Or what about Alex Salmond's cock-up at Glenrothes, where he went about Obama-like declaring victory and then got thumped, damaging not only his credibility but that of his entire cause. What about Peter Hain and Wendy Alexander both lying about campaign donations? What about Nick Clegg and the thirty odd notches on his bedpost, making him the laughing stock of Westminster!?

Backbencher of the year was awarded to Frank Field. TB has a lot of time for this closet tory who has embarrassed Gordon on many occasions this year, none more so than over the 10p tax band scandal that nearly bought the Brown government down. However ask someone outside of the village who Frank Field is and you will be met with a blank stare. David Davis was awarded the runner up spot, however ask your average joe who DD is and they are more than likely to say one word - freedom. DD sacrificed the chance of potentially being the next Home Secretary in order to stand up for the civil liberties and freedoms of not just his constituents, but every citizen of this nation, and yet is pushed into second place by a member who is merely disillusioned by the fact they realised they joined the wrong party and has gobbed off about this fact.

What are these so called insiders thinking?

Next we have speech of the year. TB must confess he hadn't heard Diane Abbot's
about 42 day's before he saw it included in these awards and thankfully this passionate and astute defence of liberty is a long distance from the nonsense she normally spouts on This Week. Other contenders that immediately come to mind are Nadine Dorries on lowering the abortion limit (can't find the link,) or Dave's rousing conference
war cry
- "My god this has got to stop!!" but who did the eminent Westminster experts pick? Gordon Brown's fascinating hour and half diatribe on the intricacy's of watching paint dry, that was his conference speech. TB has fond memories of taking part in Guido's live blog of the event and this was not a master piece of oratory. The only interesting thing about that speech was the fact Sarah Brown saved her husband from having rotten turnips thrown at him by the Labour hordes baying for his blood. In comparison to some of the greatest conference speeches of the past (Cameron 05, 08,
Thatcher 75
, many of Blair's etc,) Gordon's tractor-statistic fuelled ramble was an embarrassment and if it wasn't for the global economic downturn it would have been the last Labour conference he addressed as leader.

For TB this was the
greatest speech
of the last year. OK so it was last December but it still counts.

And so to Journalist of the Year - no objections to the runner up Fraser Nelson who has offered fantastic coverage, not only for his Spectator readership, but hard hitting analysis for the News of the World. But hang on... who does the coveted crown go to? Which journalist had provided fair and balanced, as well as accurate and sensible coverage of the economic downturn? None other than the BBC'c business editor Robert Peston of course. This is where TB's laptop nearly went out the window. TB would die a happy bear if he never had to listen to Peston's irritating nasal tones ever again whining about the fact that the people are too stupid to see that Gordo is the saviour of the universe, or complaining about the German's audacity at attacking Brown, rather than addressing the cause for criticism, or his disgusting rant that real people would be affected by the collapse of Woolworths. Never has the BBC had such a blatantly partisan figure manipulating situations, and peddling titbit's fed to him by his close contacts within the government. This man is a disgrace to his profession and TB is outraged that he could even be considered for any honour, however irrelevant, for his rubbish reporting.

Only two people have profited in terms of personal stock out of this recession, one is Gordon Brown and the other is Robert Peston - both should be ashamed of themselves.

TB doesn't often lose his cool and go on rants of this length but the question must be asked who is more out of touch? Is it the people behind
? Have they got their contact lists mixed up with the top 100 window-lickers in the country? Can they really be polling so called Westminster insiders? TB is inclined to believe that yes they are polling the insiders but that opens up a far more scary prospect and adds weight to the argument that politicians and journalists in this country are seriously out of touch. It seems that outside of the Westminster village bubble politicians and their actions receive a very different reaction to that felt by the those apparently in-the-know. It's not
that has failed tonight but the insiders.

is an interesting project and TB will be intrigued to see how the next year pans out for the site. He has however tonight lost a huge amount of faith in the people that this nation puts their trust in to represent them, and the journalists we pay to keep an eye on it all.



I agree with many of your comments. Of course it is not surprising that people like Robert Peston are given the Journalist of the Year award when the Editor-in-Chief of PHI is Andrew Rawnsley. I had to laugh (although was somewhat alarmed) by a report on "The New Capitalism" by Peston on the BBC 10 O'clock News. When Peston's polemic ended, Fiona Bruce invited viewers to learn more about "New Capitalism" on their website in a tone which suggested it was the undisputed official economic theory not to be argued with. I must say though PHI is a very good source of political information but it will have a left wing slant whilst the most senior editors are AR and Nick Assinder.

Anonymous said...

With all the good will in the world at this festive time of year, the site is utterly useless and the panels are the biggest waste of space going. Nothing useful that you can't get from Google Reader or even just opening your own eyes. Poor show.

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