These awards sparked fierce debate in the Field Towers but this year, not this one. Honourable mentions are deserved for people like Ruth Davidson who continues to transform the Conservatives’ fortunes in Scotland after four decades in the doldrums, Andy Street who proved that Tories can win in big cities by securing the West Midlands Mayoralty by a narrow margin, and even Theresa May who despite a fundamentally cataclysmic year continues to show resilience and fortitude, and reminds us that sometimes the art of politics is sometimes little more than survival.
But the politician of the year is an easy choice. A year ago, Jeremy Corbyn was widely viewed as drinking in the last chance saloon. Some 80% of Labour MP’s had voted against him in a confidence motion, and the party was 20 points behind the Conservatives in national polls. The only question was when, not if, he would go.
Roll forward to today and Jeremy Corbyn is a man transformed leading a party transformed. Against all expectations and predictions, his brand of home-spun, old-style socialism struck a chord with an electorate worn down by a decade of stagnant wages. Far from being annihilated in the General Election, Labour gained seats, deprived the Conservatives and secured their largest vote share since 2001. And since then, it has been Jeremy Corbyn who so often sets the political agenda with other politicians and parties responding to his position on issues like housing, public ownership of utilities and intergenerational unfairness.
Those with long memories will recall that Corbyn won this award last year too. Then he got it because against all the odds he was surviving. This year, he wins because he is thriving.