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Insider Research

Insider Research


Understanding the heart of Westminster

The PoliticsHome Awards 2009

It’s that time of year again...

As politics winds down for 2009, PoliticsHome asked the Phi100 panel of political insiders for their take on who had played the most significant roles over the past year.  

The panel includes MPs and peers from across the political spectrum as well as media commentators and political editors, strategists and think tank directors.  Their verdicts are listed below:

POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR: LORD MANDELSON


Lord Mandelson can now add the PoliticsHome politician of the year award to his extensive list of accolades.  

The peer played a critical role in seeing off a Labour coup against Gordon Brown in June, and in receiving a standing ovation for a theatrical conference speech, was thought by many to have fulfilled Tony Blair’s hope that the party would finally ‘learn to love’ this divisive figure. 

The Business Secretary now enjoys an unparalleled influence over government policy and strategy, even prompting a flurry of ‘PM for PM?’ discussion.  However, the speculation over whether ‘chumps’ was really the word he used to describe the Sun editorial staff confirmed he has retained an ability to spark off controversy.  

A failure to become the EU’s new foreign affairs high representative tarnished the end of Mandelson’s 2009, but there have recently been reports that he will run for London Mayor in 2012.  

POLITICAL MEDIA AWARD: FRASER NELSON


The recently appointed Editor of the Spectator, Fraser Nelson, has won this year’s Political Media Award.  

A record of invariably well-informed and insightful political commentary, both in the Spectator and the News of the World as well as regular appearances on TV have seen the Scot build an increasingly high profile in 2009.  

An enthusiastic advocate for tax and spending cuts and a relentless critic of Brown’s economic performance, the journalist can be expected to be a powerful and independent voice for the right of the Tory party should Cameron gain power next year.  

Blogger Guido Fawkes – who this year sensationally broke news of Damian McBride’s proposed smear campaigns against senior Tories - won second place.

INFLUENCER OF THE YEAR: JOANNA LUMLEY


Actress Joanna Lumley wins the Influencer of the Year award for her work in securing rights for former Gurkha soldiers.  

The award is given to a non-politician who is felt to have played an especially significant role in the UK’s political arena.  

In a key moment of the campaign, Lumley confronted a flustered Phil Woolas on live TV to extract fresh concessions from the minister. 

Due to Lumley’s persistence, the government performed a policy U-turn and Gurkhas who have served at least four years now have the right to settle in the UK. 

GAFFE OF THE YEAR: THE SUN


It’s the Sun wot won it - but in this instance the paper may be uncharacteristically coy about the victory.  

The tabloid has scooped the 2009 Gaffe of the Year Award for misjudging the public mood over Gordon Brown’s untidy letter to Jacqui Janes.  

It was perceived as treating the Prime Minister (who suffers from poor eyesight) unfairly for criticising his handwriting and apparent spelling mistakes, then publishing details of a telephone apology.  

This moment proved to be a turning point in the political mood of the country, as polls revealed a widespread sympathy for the Prime Minister.

The newspaper’s embarrassment was compounded when it was found to have misspelled Ms Janes’ name on its own website.  

Alan Duncan, Anthony Steen and Sally Bercow were also believed to have committed major howlers.