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Yes, it’s that moment you’ve all been waiting for, the Wrong Way Corrigan Loser and Winner of the Year Awards 2020. We’ve had plenty of contenders for the former, the latter has been much more difficult to choose. Basically, we’ve had a dearth of outstanding candidates.
It has, of course, been a year that most people will probably want to erase from memory. Not everybody, though. There’s Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, for example. He’s had a bumper 12 months. Ditto for those holding the purse strings at Facebook, Netflix and Zoom.
Also, a fair few folk in the First World’s comfortable classes — their public mutterings of enduring an annus horribilis aside — have seen their lot actually improve, from a financial perspective in any case.
OK, it’s not all about money. I’ve certainly had to keep on telling myself that this last while in any case. Alas, it doesn’t tend to wash with many Colombian women. ‘Instead of that fancy restaurant, how about a litrazo of Poker in the barrio tienda? No? Really?!’ They’ll come round, they will.
Anyway, let’s get to the awards, starting with our Loser of the Year.
Xi’s the man
The obvious choice for many here is outgoing US President Donald J. Trump. He certainly, um, trumps the lot for sore loser of the year. Indeed, he didn’t actually lose the presidential election so he and many of his supporters tell us. Whatever the case, he won’t be residing at the White House after 20 January, we can be pretty sure of that. Thus, he is a loser, but it’s not enough for him to take our gong.
No, the Wrong Way Corrigan Loser of the Year Award is going east, to China to be precise. As the head of a country that initially buried its head in the sand when news emerged of a novel, easily transmitted and somewhat lethal virus at large, Xi Jinping is our top failure.
Not only that, but once coronavirus was let out of the bag (or is that lab? Or wet market?) and reached the four corners of the globe, Xi did what the Chinese Communist Party does best at home, suppression. Thus, contagion was curtailed in China while it flourished outside, aided and abetted by a dithering World Health Organisation kowtowing to Beijing.
‘Our Loser of the Year and other world leaders did much to ensure Alan scooped the top prize, but credit where credit is due.’
This dithering behaviour proved to be as contagious as coronavirus itself, as governments across the world followed suit. Cue pandemic pandemonium and cures more damaging to society as a whole than covid-19, the infection coronavirus can bring about.
For all that, together with China’s backfiring wolf-warrior diplomacy which is only serving to deepen mistrust abroad about the CCP’s intentions, Xi Jinping is a worthy Loser of the Year.
And now for the big one, our Winner of the Year. Many have waxed lyrical about the darling of world leaders, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern. She’s done well in some areas for sure, but in terms of being a global champion, that’s stretching things.
There can really be only one winner. Some will accuse me of picking this individual simply because he appeared on my podcast. For sure, I was delighted to have him on as a guest, but it’s disingenuous to say this played a part in my decision. I’m far more balanced than that.
For sure, our Loser of the Year and other world leaders did much to ensure Alan scooped this accolade, but credit where credit is due. It may have been an open goal of sorts, but he still had to tuck it away. And that he did with gusto.
He has, quite literally, touched the hearts and minds of millions of people across the planet. At the risk of being facetious, his modus operandi hasn’t been to everyone’s liking and there are many who certainly wouldn’t put him in the winner’s enclosure.
Nonetheless, in terms of world dominance in 2020, be that good, bad or indifferent, no one else comes close.
What’s more, his emergence may have just given humanity a timely heads-up to get our act together before something far more deadly comes along. In a divided world, one doesn’t hold out much hope that we’ll take great heed of this warning.
Listen to Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast podcast here.