Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The best of 2014

Time again for this year's most-viewed pieces in our, ahem, glittering Hall of Fame at the Centre Left. A year of interesting resurgence of the anti-politics brigade, whether nationalists, independents or on the far left, as reflected in the top posts:

5. Venezuela on the edge While the trials of the long-suffering citizens of Nicolás Maduro's dystopia have long been a feature of this blog, this year rather took the biscuit. As I write, inflation has risen to a dizzying 63% (although the regime stopped keeping records in August, as they have long stopped producing any statistic that might make them look bad) and the country stands on the verge of debt default as we start 2015.

Well done, all those on the British left (I'm looking at you, Diane Abbott and Owen Jones) who travelled out to Caracas to support the Chavistas in the 2012 elections. I'm sure you'll soon be admitting how wrong you called this one.

4. As the Tower Hamlets disaster enters a new phase, it remains an object lesson to Labour
Mayor Lutfur Rahman was re-elected in May, in probably the most controversial British election in years. While the outcome is still being investigated and the election may yet be re-run, reports of intimidation and sharp practice were rife. But Labour cannot escape the fact that it created this monster, and only a complete change in its approach will prevent recurrences of this kind of politics.

3. Jim Murphy hatchet jobs: a short series to cut out and keep

As Jim Murphy's campaign to be Scottish leader gathered pace, there came a flurry of negative pieces from the usual suspects on how his election would immediately cause an SNP surge, electoral meltdown next May, plagues of locusts, etc. Oddly enough, his subsequent win caused none of the above so far, and this blog's place similarly seems secure at no. 3 in the charts. Although I am hoping for an unexpected late entry from the lizards.

2. Why Lutfur Rahman must go – an alternative argument 

In April, I argued that the deeply flawed Mayor of Tower Hamlets must go. Whilst he might well have done, had the election been free of any hint that it was not executed freely and fairly, this was not the case. However, what flawed democracy was unable to achieve, the auditors PwC were thankfully later able to, in lambasting the mayor over his method of allocating grant funding, something that was undoubtedly something neither free nor fair.

And finally, the most-read piece this year was, fittingly, on arguably the most historic event of this parliament, the Scottish independence referendum:

1. SNP and Gaza: why Salmond is not a statesman 

In the run up to the referendum, this piece about Alex Salmond managed to attract the most bonkers group of trolls - the cyberNats - who I have ever had the misfortune to engage with on Twitter. For days, I was flamed by an indefatigable group who ranged from those who thought I merely had no right to opine on such a matter (being English, of course), to a number who questioned my parentage. Simultaneously both revealing about the nature of nationalism, and bonkers.

So that's it. We'll continue to be here for all your general election coverage in 2015 and a very happy New Year to all.

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