Christmas may be on its way but there’s no tucking into the mince pies and sherry just yet.
There’s one essential task to perform before festivities begin - to hand out The Birmingham Post’s annual political awards, which honour the politicians who have made the most impact at Westminster, or at least kept hacks like me in work, over the last year.
The Robbie Williams Award for a successful solo career goes to Digby Jones, the Birmingham lawyer and former CBI chief who became trade minister in Gordon Brown’s government.
He was made a member of the House of Lords specifically so that he could join Team Brown. But having quit the Government, he’s now using his position to speak out as an independent - and making as much of an impact as he did when he was part of the team.
Lord Jones’ mission is to stick up for British business. Unhappily for Gordon, this often seems to mean criticising the Government.
The Van Halen Award for being a diva goes to Liam Byrne.
Rock band Van Halen were known for their excessive backstage demands when they went on tour. Venue managers were sent a detailed memo in advance of the band’s arrival setting out a list of requirements, which included a bowl of M&Ms (sweets similar to Smarties) - without any brown ones.
It meant someone had to go through the sweets by hand and take out the brown ones.
Mr Byrne’s memo to his civil servants didn’t go as far, but he did demand cappuccino when he arrives for work, an espresso at 3pm and soup between 12.30pm and 1pm.
While it wasn’t up there with Van Halen’s demands, Mr Byrne has admitted he may have gone a little over the top.
The Hodge Hill MP also gets a bonus award for his rapid rise in Westminster, earning a senior government post as Cabinet Office minister after just four years in the Commons.
The Terminator Award for helping computers rule the world goes to Tom Watson (Lab, West Bromwich West), who has re-invented himself as Whitehall’s technology guru.
As a Minister, Mr Watson is busy updating the way the Government uses the internet and makes information available to the public. He’s now an expert on APIs, CMSs and, um, other clever stuff which makes no sense to normal people. The intentions are no doubt admirable, but surely this just brings forward the day when the machines take over?
The JK Rowling Award for literary excellence goes to Gisela Stuart (Lab, Edgbaston). Mr Brown’s position was looking increasingly shaky in the run-up to Labour’s annual conference in Manchester, as backbenchers lined up to stab him in the back.
Ms Stuart’s response was to pen an article for a magazine complaining that Labour has “failed to renew ourselves with fresh ideas” and lost the knack of communicating with the public.
It was distributed to every party activist at the conference.