Tuesday, 21 December 2010

My Villain of the Year

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness (isn't that the US Postal Service motto?) can stop the blogs. It’s that time of year again when I unveil my Villain of the Year and Man of the Year nominations. I intend to start with the villains so that we can end on a positive note by celebrating the achievers tomorrow.

Whilst Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, has sat atop a corrupt organisation which he has stubbornly refused to reform, my nomination for Sporting Villain[s] of the Year goes to three Premier League footballers, namely John Terry, Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney. Their antics, whilst being paid extraordinary amounts of money and failing dismally at international level, has contributed to many football fans falling out of love with the game they grew up with. Never has the people’s game seemed so far away from errr . . . the people.

Scapegoat of the Year is undoubtedly Tony Hayward of BP who found himself at the centre of a media storm when Deepwater Horizon exploded. However, I can’t help but feel that Hayward was a lightning rod for criticism rather than an instigator of the BP meltdown. For me, the real culprit is his predecessor Lord Browne whose cost-cutting directly led hundreds of safety violations. Browne was forced out of BP before the big one could hit only to resurface with the Browne Report on Higher Education funding which promises to saddle future generations with enormous debts. What a legacy!

Glenn Beck also deserves a mention. For those who don’t know, he is a right-wing TV presenter in the US who likes to use Nazi analogies to describe current US politics. That his antics appear on FOX News, owned by News Corporation, not some backwoods radio station, should act as a warning to those who see no harm in Murdoch’s war against the BBC and attempts to take sole control of BSkyB.

Politicians are never far away from my list of villains and this year we have had to put up with the American Tea Party Movement and Silvio Berlusconi whose contempt for the Italian Constitution, the Courts and most importantly the electorate is shaming. However, this year a British politician has gone from hero to zero in record time. Nick Clegg, if he’s not careful, is about to finish the job that David Lloyd George started nearly a century ago and be responsible for the death of liberalism in British politics.

However, only one politician this year has engaged in piracy on the high seas and has publicly humiliated the Vice President of the United States. By publicly announcing the resumption of settlement building on the West Bank at exactly the same moment as Joe Biden’s plane touched down in Tel Aviv, our nominee alienated Israel’s most important ally. He then topped this by ordering Israeli troops to board an aid ship trying to run the Gaza blockade, in the process killing eleven passengers. It is actions like these that make a Middle Eastern Peace Agreement seem as far away as ever.

My Villain of the Year is Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu.


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