World

Jacinda Ardern to Alastair Campbell: My 2021 'naughty list'

24 December 2021

6:00 PM

24 December 2021

6:00 PM

Merry Christmas – but not for those who have earned a place on my naughty list. From Jacinda Ardern to Carrie’s critics, here’s a catalogue of all those who must do better in 2022:

Ant and Dec. Nope. Still don’t know which is which. Each needs to follow normal practice and use a Christian name/surname combination that eliminates all confusion, e.g, Brian Cox.

Nigel Farage’s broadcast career. His GB News show is popular but it’s a waste of his unique power, namely the ability to inflict near-fatal damage on an institution from within. Give him a peerage.

Jacinda Ardern. The toothsome fear-monger seems hellbent on turning her country into a control-freak state.

Fake Christmas trees. Enjoy your imported conifer while you can. The annual slaughter of healthy young evergreens to celebrate a Christian festival will be banned within the decade.

29.7 seconds. The longest period of silence ever observed by a vegan without telling someone they’re a vegan.

Christmas pudding. This indigestible mess of flour, rum, sugar, nuts, suet, fruit, breadcrumbs and corn syrup is clearly a form of survival ration intended for rescued mountaineers suffering from exposure. Giving it to a family who’ve just shared a 24-pound turkey is as daft as expecting Katie Price to drive in a straight line.

Round-ups of Joe Biden gaffes on Fox News. It’s not funny any more. This confused and elderly figurehead deserves to be cared for within the family circle. Fox should know better than to turn his physical decline into ratings.

GettyImages-1319146946.jpgLiz Hurley

Males in female sports. The pumped-up bodybuilders break records in cycling and swimming but seem shy of contests where bulk is a drawback like diving and gymnastics.

Alastair Campbell. The snarling former adviser to Tony Blair has developed a worrying addiction to TV meltdowns. Whenever he yells ‘Boris is a liar’, the viewers finish the sentence with, ‘what about Iraq?’.

Cop 26. Despite the carping of cynical columnists, the people of Glasgow proved that it is possible to hold an international air-show in the third world.

US presidency, 2024. Will he run or won’t he? Many are hoping that Boris will declare in January and hit the campaign trail straight away.


The democratic deficit. Parliament has one Green MP whose agenda is being forced through by the other 649. How did this happen?

Carrie’s critics. Hush to the detractors. While channelling her inner Maggie, the estimable Mrs Johnson has shown that a well-organised woman can raise two children while running the country.

GettyImages-1235724757.jpgCarrie Johnson

Toblerone. Oversized pyramid-shaped chocolate lumps that leave glucose splinters clinging to your teeth like limpet-mines for 24 hours.

Mastermind. The BBC’s long-running quiz-show has had to ban contestants from choosing ‘David Lammy’s general knowledge round’ as their special subject.

Liz Hurley. Yes, thank you Liz. We got the message. Nice rack. Do you have any overgarments, by the way?

Have I Got News For You. Even the team captains make jokes about how it used to be funny in the 1990s. It’s become the House of Lords of comedy. A care-home for spent clowns.

GettyImages-1235559427.jpgDavid Lammy

The peril of rising seas. Tuvalu is in danger? Worldwide outrage. Great Yarmouth is also threatened? Nothing. Why?

Communism. It works on paper. It works at a picnic. It works in a shared student house for about two days. Otherwise it doesn’t work.

Daily Mail takedowns of Meghan and Harry. Does no one get it? Ginge and Whinge are a palace plot to make dull William and worthy Kate seem more acceptable.

World Cup, Qatar, 2022. Sensible adults can’t wait for the sight of millionaire footballers ‘taking the knee’ in stadiums built by slaves.

The care-home ‘crisis’. There’s no crisis if you’re kind to your children and they ask you to stay with them when you’re old.

The under-25s. Why does Generation Z complain that their elders and betters treat them condescendingly? We boomers just want to help the dear little poppets – but they call us patronising. What’s their problem?

Affordable housing. Great in theory. In real life it means low-rent flats for bent council officials.

HS2. Do we honestly need a twenty-year plan to make house prices in London rise even faster?

The plot against Sir Keir. A fictional uprising whose purpose is to make Richard Burgon, (who looks like a badly drawn superhero), feel that his life has meaning.

Vaxers versus anti-vaxers. Mysteriously, and without warning, everyone has pledged themselves to a definition of freedom that casts their neighbours as evil.

Jogging. Still they do it, and still they insist that it feels great ‘afterwards’. Aren’t pastimes supposed to feel great ‘during’? That’s why we eat ice-cream, listen to Beethoven, smoke cigars and help toddlers to feed pigeons. But jogging isn’t connected to pleasure or keep-fit. It’s some kind of primitive mating ritual. Why else would you go lolloping around a public park sheathed in high-visibility clingfilm?

Royal racism row. Obviously a pile of tosh. The palace weren’t remotely concerned about Archie’s skin colour. They were worried he might look like James Hewitt.

Parthenon marbles. They can have them back if they also take celebrity jailbird, Vasiliki Kourmouzi, (aka Vicky Pryce or Mrs Chris Huhne) as part of the deal.

1922 Committee. A mythical post-box in which Tory MPs can claim to have deposited a letter in return for a free lunch from a political hack.

The dash for wind. A hill-side turbine is a kinetic energy device that moves money out of the purses of struggling pensioners and into the wallets of plump landowners.

Ostracism. Boris once argued that we should revive the ancient Athenian practice of holding an unpopularity contest every year and sending the winner into exile. He’s gone a bit quiet on this subject lately.

Stanley. What’s happened to the grizzled old charmer? It seems only yesterday that Boris’s dad was everywhere. Newsnight was devoted to him. Sky lionised him. Evan Davis was lost without a quote from the Sage of Pelion. Even the Queen was said to wake up each morning and ask, ‘What’s Stanley thinking?’ Bring him back.

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