To great fanfare and with joy unconfined…the Accolades, or
Irrationals, are back!
As was the case in last year’s inaugural grants, these
accolades are bestowed by me to recognise people, events or institutions that I
feel have made a contribution to this column over the past 12 months.
This year I have also decided to include some events that,
while they may not have been directly influential in the column, have helped
feed my Twitter account – which is a lot more sarcastic!
In keeping with the spirit of this column, it will not be
all sunshine and daisies, but the spirit in which they are given is light
hearted and hopefully they will be received in that same spirit. There is, of
course, a serious side to elements of these accolades, hopefully that will be
recognised as well.
I was actually planning on unveiling the honourees from next
Monday’s column onward and using this column to summarise the year, however I
realised there was an opportunity for a one-off Irrational to kick things off.
It’s obviously been a massive year in terms of the
electorates upsetting the political elites and I think I know where it started
– and in recognition of this I want to award this special, one-off, Irrational to
The Subversives of the Year.
It will not go to the “angry white men” who apparently voted
in Donald Trump (this ignores inconvenient evidence that – incredibly – he won
a small majority of the Latino and female vote), nor will it go to the xenophobes
of the UK, especially England and Wales, who voted for the UK to leave the
Tempting fate, it will not go to the Italian electorate for
rejecting/accepting* the constitutional change in that country this coming
No, we were all given a signal that this was going to be a
different year, one in which apple carts were upset; conventions thrown out;
perceptions challenged; the little guys gave it to “The Man”; and pollsters were
made fools of.
A year in which the person in the street was going to make
his or her voice heard, and heard loud – in spite of what “leaders” wanted. A
year which redefined the word “rational”; in which expectations were rarely met;
and in which the “unthinkable” became reality.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we should have seen Brexit and
President Trump coming when, in April of this year, the poll to name the UK’s
newest polar research ship was won – and won easily – by Boaty McBoatface.
As strange as it may seem to those who grew up with the
image of the stiff upper-lipped Brit, the Subversives of the Year were clearly
the great British public who thoroughly embraced the suggested name.
In fact we could go as far as to blame Brexit on the people
who actually selected the name of the boat in question, because they rejected
the landslide winner in favour of the very honourable (but nowhere near as
funny) Sir David Attenborough.
It just goes to show, you don’t mess with the British
public’s sense of humour – it has a way of biting back.
*delete as appropriate when results become apparent next