Well 2021 is at an end and what a hell of a year it’s been. There were laughs, tears, shock, disgust and despair – and that was just the reaction to footage of Matt Hancock’s video nasty. The past twelve months have seen various ups and downs in Britain and abroad, ranging from the highlights of the vaccine rollout and England’s Euro run to low points like the Capitol coup, the Afghanistan debacle and various pandemic pitfalls.
And Mr S has been there throughout it all to chart the gossip, drama, high politics and low shenanigans. Tony Benn once sniffed that it was ‘issues, not personalities’ that mattered; Steerpike holds that the inverse is true when looking back at the events of 2021. For how else can one reflect on the chaos of the past year without seeing it through the prism of the personalities involved?
So as the year ends, Mr S has rounded up a baker’s dozen of his favourite personalities in British politics this year, an unlucky thirteen who have found themselves all too often in his crosshairs. Drumroll please; obsequious shows of admiration at the ready – step forth the winners of this year’s 2021 Steerpike awards…
The Hiroo Onoda award for endeavour: Like the Japanese soldier who fought for thirty years after World War Two, Andrew Adonis has spent the past twelve months waging a fruitless struggle for another lost cause. Chair of the European Movement and self-appointed head of the ‘Rejoiner’ cause, Mr S wonders which of his two great campaigns is most likely to succeed: the reversal of Brexit or the return of Tony Blair?
Prophet of the year: Though Keir Starmer’s predictions of a summer lockdown run him close, there can only be one winner for the far-sighted soothsayer of 2021. Step forward, Professor Neil Ferguson and his much-fabled data modelling.