|One of my favorite reads - "The Scotsman" - has a very funny column. Their year end offering is here: "Heroes and Villians of 2005". It is behind registration but not subscription.|
OK, OK, for those of you who don't like to register...
Drinker of the year
Andrew Flintoff: The sports personality with both personality and stamina, big Freddie Flintoff guided England to victory against Australia and took the rest of the UK along with him. Then came the victory celebrations which just wouldn't stop - a champagne reception which lasted through the night, through the streets of London and into Number 10 Downing Street. When asked what it meant to be given the freedom of his home town, he said: "That means I can drive a flock of sheep through the town centre, drink for free in no less than 64 pubs and get a lift home with the police when I become inebriated - what more could you want?"
The Andrex award for public excretion
Paula Radcliffe: Paula Radcliffe entered 2005 with bad memories of the Olympics still fresh in the public's minds - quitting the women's marathon when she was overtaken out of the medal places and dropping out of the 10,000 metres. It seemed she had lost her crown as Britain's favourite runner. Then came 2005 and the London Marathon. At 22 miles, it looked like it was all going to go wrong again as she faltered to a stop. But after a brief and very public toilet stop, she dusted herself down and went on to win by a five-minute margin.
Couple of the year
Charles and Camilla: Remarkably, the heir to the throne and his new missus have had a good year. There was the wedding, which was beset by terrible omens. First, the Pope's funeral got in the way. Then the groom's mum refused to go to the civil ceremony. Of course, the public had to be won over, too - that Camilla's no Diana (God rest her sainted soul). But in the end, it was all rather lovely. Her Majesty managed a smile and the happy couple's tour of America later in the year was a remarkable success.
Lothario of the year
David Blunkett: The Sheffield Brightside MP has had an eventful and emotional year, in the course of which he has demonstrated remakably poor judgment: two failed affairs; two cabinet resignations; a paternity wrangle and some unpleasantness over nannies, travel expenses and biotech shares. His decision-making ability - or, in this case, his lack thereof - should come as a surprise to no-one. The signs have always been there: The man is a Sheffield Wednesday fan, after all.
Nanny of the year
The Scottish Executive: Come March 2006, those among Scotland's smokers who have not heeded the government's eminently sensible advice to give up will be forced to huddle outside the country's pubs, clubs and bars if they want to indulge their foul, antisocial addiction. The ban covers any "enclosed public space". Unfortunately, this may well extend to outdoor smoking shelters and such "public places" as private homes. Should you be unfortunate enough to need a home visit from any of our public servants, you will be asked to refrain from smoking for an hour before their scheduled arrival. Do yourself a favour: Try not to have a heart attack or a stroke five minutes after your last fag.
Snappy dresser of the year
David Cameron: Thanks to his appearance on Radio 4's Woman's Hour, not since John Major have we known quite so much about the underpants of the Conservative leader. He may be suspiciously bereft of actual policies, but at last we know the true blue Tony Blair wannabe likes boxer shorts.
Conundrum of the year
Vladimir Romanov: The new owner of Heart of Midlothian FC rode in like the 7th Cavalry to save the venerable Edinburgh club from being turfed out of their traditional home. He appointed one of the best managers Scotland has seen, brought in exciting players and then saw his club storm to the top of the league in their best start to a season for 90 years or so. Then he sacked the manager. And the chief executive. And the chairman resigned. After a convicted sex offender was made manager, Hearts are no longer top of the league. In short, it's all gone a bit Pete Tong and nobody quite knows what will happen next..
Networker of the year
Robert Mugabe: He may be an international pariah but that didn't stop him getting a nice, warm handshake from Prince Charles this year. In 2004, the not-so-charming old tyrant (that would be Mugabe, not Charlie, for the avoidance of doubt) also managed to wring a similar greeting from Jack Straw, much to the Foreign Secretary's chagrin.
Damp squib of the year
G8: Despite all the Make Poverty History protests, the G8 failed to deliver anything meaningful on world poverty. But at least it also failed to deliver any major acts of violence.
Genuine heroes of the year
What with the tsunami that ushered in 2005, the Pakistan earthquake, Hurricane Katrina and her damaging sisters, and the 7/7 London bombings, there have been too many opportunities for genuine heroes to rescue others. We salute them.