This is the last edition of the year. SR returns twice a week on Tuesday 8 January 2013! Compliments of the season to all our Friends and readers.


Barney MacFarlane

The day did not begin auspiciously for what were billed as treats. It ended with me giving thanks for surviving the day of the dead.

I'd met my oldest chum at the Wellcome Collection opposite Euston Station, where 'Death: A Self-Portrait' – an exhibition of generally morbid artworks – looked interesting. The hugely impressive show, running until 24 February, contains rare prints by Goya, Rembrandt and Durer as well a series of unsettling world war I etchings by Otto Dix.

There's plenty of balancing black humour, however, including a woodcut from the 'Nuremberg Chronicle' of 1493 in which a group of skeletons give it laldy in the Dance of Death. And lots of images of cadavers. Cadavres … sounds even better in Frrrrench.

Rrrolling our rrrrs, we repaired to see 'Amour', a movie set in Paris, grim but intensely moving, on the subject of what awaits when the great leveller approaches. As the credits rolled, what can only be described as a deathly hush clouded over the audience.

Loosening up in the pub, we laughed off our day of death, though I don't know why my chum was so jocose: he's nine months older and a good bet to peg out before I do.

We arranged to have another day out soon – with a cheerier theme.

If we're spared.

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20 December 2012

The spirit of young Scotland: the Scottish Review's companion project is the Young Scotland Programme, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2012. Here, Sharon Smith of South Lanarkshire Council, one of the stars of this year's programme, meets Scotland's minister for children and young people, Aileen Campbell, in the Scottish Parliament

Photograph by Chris Watt

2You're nicked:
SR presents its
annual awards

Kenneth Roy

Drawings by Bob Smith

Regrets they had a few, but in a year of public apologies Nick Clegg won the keenly contested Apology of the Year award for letting down the many voters, including some impressionable young people, who voted Liberal Democrat at the last election and may never do so again. 

When it was turned into a song with the refrain 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so so sorry', Mr Clegg's apology sounded even funnier than it had in its original version. Less amusing was the realisation that, owing to the constitutional racket of a fixed-term parliament, we were stuck with the apologetic deputy prime minister until 2015.

The accolade of Idiot of the Year – another category in which there was no shortage of candidates – was awarded jointly to Liam Hughes and Jason Parker, who, having nicked a Henry Moore sculpture worth £500,000, sold it for scrap for 46 quid. They are now repenting at leisure – in prison.

Boris Johnson – the only politician who is routinely referred to in the media by his first name, perhaps on the erroneous assumption that he is some sort of cuddly, innocuous figure – was named Boris of the Year.

It was, however, a bad year for the Halls. Halls of Broxburn made their last sausage. Stuart Hall, an aged broadcaster once associated with Saturday night custard pie television on the BBC, was arrested by the police. Sir Peter Hall, who once directed the National Theatre, fell asleep during the first night of 'Uncle Vanya' in the West End and, upon awakening in the final scene, directed disobliging remarks at the cast. In the circumstances, the jury has decided that Hall of the Year should not be awarded this year.

It was a better year for the Boyles. Frankie Boyle, having extracted libel damages from a newspaper which falsely accused him of being a racist, gave the money to a charity concerned with the welfare of prisoners on America's death row, a gesture which suggested that there is more to Mr Boyle than previously thought. Danny Boyle won many admirers for his vision (or fantasy) of a caring socialist Britain in the Olympics opening ceremony and earned the further gratitude of the nation for turning down a knighthood. It was a close-run thing between Frankie and Danny, with Susan Boyle continuing to serenade us in third place, but the Boyle of the Year had to be Danny.

The Short Sentence of the Year award went to the legal profession for 'He/she denies any wrongdoing'. Next year, when the many pending cases start going to trial, the sentences may become progressively longer.

The Worst Sentence of the Year award, an honour in the gift of the editor of the Scottish Review, was bestowed in her absence on Scotland's culture secretary, Fiona Hyslop, for the following extract from her letter to the chairman of Creative Scotland, Shir Shandy Crombie:

It is important that Creative Scotland's planning and risk management processes, anticipate and respond to any emerging issues; and that effective communications and stakeholder engagement is given early consideration to ensure on an on-going basis effective and early response to the concerns of the sector.

The recipient of Ms Hyslop's letter was a multiple winner at the Scottish Review's glittering awards ceremony in Yates's wine bar (to your right as you enter the terminal bulding). 

For the second year in succession Creative Scotland picked up the coveted Misnomer of the Year award. It also won a special award for failing to have a woman on its panel of judges and then compensating for this omission by putting a collecting can for Women's Aid on every table at its annual dinner. The implication was that women are unfit to be judges of the arts or that they are victims. Yet another honour – Brass Neck of the Year – was awarded jointly to Sir Sandy Crombie and his board for not resigning at the same time as the chief executive.

The award for Mystery of the Year was conferred on The Libor Rate. By the end of the year most people had forgotten what it was if they knew in the first place. Someone called Bob Diamond, who lost his job because of something to do with The Libor Rate, had the compensation of winning the annual award for Least Missed Person of the Year

The Senior Citizen of the Year award came down to a choice between Engelbert Humperdinck, a 75-year-old vocalist who represented Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest, and Lord McCluskey, an 83-year-old retired judge, who was appointed to regulate the press in Scotland. After a heated discussion on the relative merits of this outstanding short list, the jury opted for Engelbert Humperdinck and gave McCluskey nul points.

Ann Widdecombe, a former Tory MP, won a special Life after Death award when the jury learned that she is currently appearing in pantomime in High Wycombe. 

There was no doubt about the destination of the keynote Bore of the Year award for 2012. It went to The Referendum Debate for its catatonic influence on the Scottish electorate (all except 327 known geeks). The runner-up Bore of the Year, the village of Dull, which linked up with the American community of Boring, generated more public interest. For ineptness in its handling of an independent Scotland's membership of the EU, and extraordinary inaccuracies over the further education budget, the Scottish Government got the gong for Cock-up of the Year

The Academic of the Year was Professor Pongoo who, dressed as a penguin, polled more votes than the Liberal Democrats in a council election in the Pentland Hills. The much-prized Non-Event of the Year award was shared by the American presidential election and the elections for police and crime commissioners in England. The Social Menace of the Year award went to Twitter. The Murderer of the Year was Sarah Lund. The Jailbirds of the Year were Pussy Riot for annoying the dreadful Putin, who nonetheless walked away with Torso of the Year.

Xi Jimping, the new leader of the Chinese Communist Party, who is married to a famous Chinese folk singer and likes Hollywood films, was unanimously voted International Bureaucrat of the Year. The Citizens of the Year were the people of Bulawayo who agreed to flush their lavatories in unison in a desperate attempt to unblock the city's sewers. The jury wondered if there had been a countdown.

The Animal of the Year award was given posthumously to Raisa, a horse once lent to the then editor of the Sun, Rebekah Brooks, by its owner, the Metropolitan Police, and subsequently ridden by David Cameron, who sent LOL text messages to Mrs Brooks in the misguided belief that the initials stood for Lots of Love. In another posthumous award, Jimmy Savile was named Most Horrible Person of 2012. Lord Leveson stepped forward as Most Over-Rated Public Figure for allowing his inquiry to become a procession of dreary celebs and for producing a 2,000-page report that only Roy Greenslade, the media guru, has been prepared to read in full. Last we heard, he had reached page 1,816 and was still clinically alive.

The Spoilsport of the Year award went to the weather for ruining a river pageant on the Thames, after which one of the attendees, the Duke of Edinburgh, required hospital treatment. The Litigant of the Year was Lord McAlpine, whose innocence cannot be asserted too often or too forcefully. There was only one candidate for Least Curious Person of the Year: George Entwistle, director-general of the BBC, who knew nothing about anything very much until he learned that he was no longer director-general and remembered to pick up the cheque.

The Winners of Most Awards award went to Britain's Olympic athletes who now spend their lives receiving baubles of various kinds. (Arise, Sir Andy). The Most Pointless Awards Ceremony of the Year award again went to the Herald's Scottish Politician of the Year, there being so rarely anyone worthy of the title. The Pariah of the Year was Fred Goodwin, stripped of his knighthood for merely contributing to the ruin of the UK economy, while a predatory sex offender, Savile, kept his.

We come now to the main award, Person of the Year. The runner-up is Alfred Throop, who, at the advanced age of 67, steered a bus to safety when the driver took no' weel. But the winner, by universal acclamation, is Vinnie Jones for his television commercial in which he intructs viewers how to treat someone who has just had a heart attack. The ad has already saved lives and may go on to save many more.  

Finally, our Lifetime Achievement Award for services to the retail industry. As Rod Liddle points out in the current edition of the Spectator, it is a wonder that this deeply sus character is not already being investigated by the police. His name is, of course, Santa Claus.

3Kenneth Roy is editor of the Scottish Review and failed to win any awards. He hopes it stays that way in 2013

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