As we approach Christmas, when we celebrate the shortcomings of the Judaean hospitality industry, my mind turns to which people made
the greatest impression during 2010. Other columnists fob you off with the great and the good; I prefer the mediocre and the crap - folk whose spectacular underperformance can't fail to fill us with seasonal smugness.
My first loser was formerly known as the world's most powerful man. Was it only a year ago that Barack Obama's undergraduate rhetoric won him the Nobel Peace Prize? Now look at him. Fresh from his failure to prevent Congress falling to a coalition of creationists and flat-earthers, Obama has just given up his attempts to dissuade the Israelis from covering the Middle East in settlements full of ultra-Orthodox militants with Brooklyn accents.
Next we have the Shrek lookalike Wayne Rooney. Wasn't he supposed to win England the World Cup single-handedly? Now I can't even remember if he went to South Africa, or whether he came back. We do know he managed to alienate his delicious wifelet, Coleen, to the extent that there is now at least one thing Wayne has to do single-handedly.
Let's hear it for Prince Charles. For the 58th year running (correct at the time of publication) this melancholy millionaire failed to achieve his sole ambition: to succeed to the throne. He may have found contentment with the woman he loves, but his chance of kingship is diminished daily through passive smoking.
Whatever happened to David Miliband? A mere six months ago, Miliband Major was enjoying Labour's election defeat. The granite bulk of Gordon Brown had been levered out of Downing Street. All agreed that David Miliband was the future of Labour; everyone except his little brother and the people in Labour's devolved democracy - the Co-op, CND, the National Union of Whining Throwbacks and the Society of Socialist Irrelevancies. I don't suppose anyone has been more pissed off with his younger brother since Edward VIII fell for a cross-dressing German spy.
My penultimate anti-hero is Vince Cable. We all used to trust Vince. Everyone thought he couldn't be that dishevelled without being brilliant, too. Now he's revolutionised politics by voting for and against his own bill, and possibly abstaining. But he may rehabilitate himself, if his guest appearance on Strictly Come Dancing materialises.
Which brings me on to . . . Ann Widdecombe. She used to be scary. She used to chain female prisoners to their beds, even when they were giving birth. Grrrr! Well, she's not scary now. Who advised her to dip her head in a bucket of peroxide and be dragged around the Strictly Do Your Back In studio? It was me. Ann, I'll let you in to a secret. I was joking.