Monday, December 29, 2008

My 2008 top ten

I usually do some sort of awards at the end of a year and so this time I thought I'd keep it short and sweet. In no particular order here is my top ten of the people and events from 2008, international year of the potato;

- In the blog world I think the emergence of Liberal Conspiracy has been extremely inspiring and shows what can be done online if we just put our minds to it. All credit to Sunny and the team.

- Caroline Lucas who, I think we can confidently say, is the best leader the Green Party of England and Wales has ever had, without exception.

- Climate Camp showed with crystal clarity how a reasonably small number of people can make a strong point effectively by making protest their own, creating new rules regardless of the traditional conservatism of the left.

- David Mitchell, whose columns in the Guardian are an absolute joy. I think it's because he's scathing whilst being resolutely polite, curmudgeonly whilst being extremely funny and dares to say things that, for whatever reason, no one else appears to be saying.

- Many people didn't hear about this, but if you followed the news closely enough you will have seen that there's been a Presidential election in the USA - and this time the electorate were not criminally irresponsible! They say a change is as good as a rest after all.

- Raul Castro, the new President of Cuba. Yes, Raul Castro. For taking the opportunity to start a process of change in Cuba, removing some of the barriers creating social inequality and loosening up the reins. About time too!

- There will be blood. What a brilliant film! What a long beginning! The one must see film of the year (oh how I wanted to be able to say that of Quantum of Solace, pfft).

- The release of Íngrid Betancourt who had been held hostage by the Farc for six and a half years. A great day many thought would never come.

- There has been sadness too with the passing of Adrian Mitchell, Harold Pinter, Isaac Hayes, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the indomitable Charlton Heston, on a brighter note Jörg Haider also croaked.

- Finally, superblog a laptop for every donkey. Well, this is probably cheating as it could be seen as giving an award to myself - but seeing as it's given me so much pleasure over the year it would be churlish not to mention it.

Well that's my 2008 - let's see if we can make a much improved list for 2009.


Jack Ray said...

I disagree with almost all of 'em, jeje... What on Earth did you find to like about There Will be Blood? Daniel Day-Lewis overacts his way through a film that was basically about nothing, adapted from a book which is sharp critique of the oil industry and class struggle within it.

With you on David Mitchell

Jim Jay said...

It's intense yes, so intense that his costar quit half way through and they had to recast - but I don't agree it's overacting.

Anyway - check out my review (linked from the post) - it has stripped out quite a bit from the book - but to be honest I think that was wise (for the purposes of turning it into a film, not because those bits were rubbish)

Jim Jay said...

I'd also be interested to see which ones you disagreed with - the release of Betancourt? A laptop for every donkey (say it isn't so!)?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jim, very kind of you!

Jack Ray said...

well, thought Climate Camp was an abject waste of time, and demonstrated what a dead end that type of activism was. From my perspective Raul Castro is just moving from USSR-lite to PRC-lite, I won't mourn Solzhenitsyn or Charlton Heston. Other than that I'm cool :)

(I've moved by the way,

ModernityBlog said...

yeah Raul's a great improvement, but I wonder if the dynasty will be passed on to his daughter?

Jim Jay said...

Well Raul's politics aren't mine by any stretch of the imagination (same with Charlton who stars in some of my very favourite films) but credit where it's due - the reforms are good stuff that's been waiting for a long time and whilst Fidel was in power it just was not happening.

It's always good to see things openning up (which is coincidentally my argument about climate camp)

But I thought the comment about Raul's daughter a *touch* unfair as Raul was a leading political activist long before the revolution and has been in front line politics all this time and one of the original "Granma" revolutionaries.

In fact he could easily have been President from the start were it not for some pragmatic politics putting Fidel to the front as he was not a communist and would not risk annoying the USA (which seems odd now, but was true at the time).

Oh - and my pleasure Sunny - LC is excellent.

ModernityBlog said...


agreed a touch unfair, but we'll have to see who gets power after Raul.

my concern is that political cliques are often self perpetuating, whatever slogans they use about "power to the workers", etc

who controls the levers of power and how they use that power, tells you more about political leaders than any 4-6 hours speech can ever do

I'd recommend the BBC series on Cuba, and the make up the Cuban leadership. see

weggis said...

And your top 10 predictions for 2009?

Jim Jay said...

W: ha! I've already started making the list... that post will be coming up when I've thought of ten I'm happy with.

weggis said...

As usual at Christmas I was bored, and was flicking through the TV channels when I came across Charlton Heston [he of “over my dead body” of the right to bear arms lot] playing Moses, up on the mountain being given God’s instructions, one of which was “thou shall not kill”.

This sort of relates to your previous post.