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Monday, February 14, 2005

All in good fun....

Having just posted my last blog, I turned on the TV and found myself watching a show so shockingly British that I'm sure hell will freeze over before I view an American equivalent. I'd seen it advertised for the past week, and thought to myself that this must be a satirical "put on." It turns out that they were serious -- sort of.

I'm talking about the "Channel 4 Political Awards" show in which politicians and political writers/commentators are presented awards in specified categories such as Opposition Politician of the Year, Political Book of the Year, Campaigning Politician of the Year, and the top award for the evening, the Politician's Politician Award. During this season when nominees for the Academy Awards seem to be popping up on every rerun of Leno and Conan O'Brien that I see on CNBC Europe, it was a bit of a shock to watch a similar ceremony dealing with real political actors.

Much of it, of course, is in good humor. But it is still quite strange to watch awardees give their acceptance speech for the work they do on some very serious issues.

One of the surprises of the evening was that Northern Ireland's Ian Paisley (he of "Never, Never, Never" fame) was up for the Politicians Politician award, and that he was sitting in the audience chuckling away with other MPs, Peers from the House of Lords, and various media types as the ceremonies went on. While he did not win in his category, another politician who did take home the prize was Clare Short, the Cabinet Minister who resigned over the Blair government's decision to invade Iraq (she won for book of the year). The top award for a House of Lords politician went to a woman who led the fight against banning fox hunting, while a backbencher who led the fight for the ban in the House of Commons lost in her category.

All very British, all very humorous, all very bizarre. As I said, I cannot imagine this kind of event taking place in the US....
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