Nick Clegg – “Politician of the Year”

Nick Clegg – “Politician of the Year”

What do we think of the Spectator’s line-up of awards?

We’re coming to that point in the calendar when we also start to look back over the year that was and the first set-piece event took place last night – The Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards 2010.

This was the line-up after an extraordinary and eventful year that simply did not go to plan. Who could have predicted these names on January 1st?

Newcomer of the Year: Caroline Lucas the first Green Party MP

Inquisitor of the Year: Tom Watson

Peer of the Year: Lord Young of Graffham

Speech of the Year: David Cameron for his post-election speech making a comprehensive offer to the Liberal Democrats. Also mentioned was his commons statement on the Bloody Sunday apology. (The award was presented by Peter Mandelson)

Double act of the Year: George Osborne and Danny Alexander

Campaigner of the Year: Ed Miliband for his amazing victory from behind in the Labour leadership race

Survivor of the Year: Gisela Stuart for holding the ultra-marginal Birmingham Edgbaston

Backbencher of the Year: Graham Brady

Statesman of the Era: Baroness Thatcher (collected on her behalf by Charles Moore)

Parliamentarian of the Year: Ed Balls for his hounding of Michael Gove

Politician of the Year: Nick Clegg for transforming British politics in that first election debate.

Looking at the list it is hard to disagree for it embraces all the pivotal moments that have made 2010 such a transformative year – whether for the good or not only time will tell.

Clegg’s performance in that first TV debate in Manchester on April 15th changed the course of that election. It’s main impact was to stop the Labour recovery in its tracks and change the whole narrative of the campaign. Until that point Labour’s poll deficit had been narrowing and it is conceivable that the reds could have come out with most seats if not a majority.

Cameron’s dramatic offer to the Lib Dems on the Friday after the election was unexpected and of huge consequence. It set the tone for the negotiations that were to follow.

Ed Miliband’s successful campaign for the Labour leadership was completely in the face of received opinion and, hopefully, provided some nice winnings for PBers who followed the race on the site.

Mike Smithson

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