Ed Miliband stole the show at this year’s Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards. The Labour leader, who won a new prize called Political Speech of the Year (for the energy freeze pledge, which ‘transformed his fortunes’), took the chance to read out a Sunday Sport story which accused his ‘Belgian communist’ father of ‘killing a cat’ when cycling through the British countryside during the war. Ed charmed the crowd by being funny, good on camera and, you know, normal.
Home Secretary Theresa May, who took the Politician of the Year award, despite her recent burka-related difficulties, was a hoot. Ms May ended her amusing speech by saying that the Spectator archive proved that we had been saying the same thing about the future of country for 185 years, to which Fraser Nelson replied: ‘Yes, we’ve been right all along’.
Tristram Hunt, Labour shadow education spokesman and the Spectator’s Newcomer of the Year, sailed close to the wind by imagining a Spectator free school: Rod Liddle would be in charge of diversity, Charles Moore would be the ‘High Master’, yet there were worries about whether Boris would pass the CRB check. An awkward silence fell…
Meanwhile, Nigel Farage played Nigel Farage: the Insurgent of the Year declared war on everyone in the room ‘who hates Ukip’, and vowed to cause trouble during the Euro elections next year. Charlotte Leslie threatened to use her Backbencher of the award to smash up the NHS bureaucracy. Mike Freer, who was awarded for Parliamentary Speech of the Year for his impassioned call for gay marriage, declared that he was going to thank the crowd from ‘my husband and I, but another Queen beat me to that.’
The Parliamentarian of the Year was shared between the fifteen Tories who rebelled against statuary regulation of the press. They were presented with their own copy of our famous ‘No’ front page, much to the disgust of No.10’s Patrick Rock who uttered the audible aside ‘oh for God’s sake’. Our former editor Boris Johnson was also on the side of the press, pointing out that the rest of the world looks at the UK as bastion of freedom, a place where politicians who do wrong are locked up and our ‘ruling classes are scourged daily by a free press.’ He concluded with the memorable phrase: ‘The privy council can shove their charter in the privy.’
And with that, Mr S put on his burka and slipped into the Savoy’s American Bar. Theresa May will never spot him in this…