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An Obligatory and Pointless Look Back at 2011

Has this year been the annus mirabilis of righteous democrats or a miserable anus full of demo-prats?

It's the moral tussle over the year that everyone's talking about – but was 2011 really the annus mirabilis of courageous democraholics, or are we still trapped, screaming and powerless, beneath the oppressive yoke of crazed dictators and the opiate of the masses (AKA rutting panda bears)? Us? Well, we're too hungover to decide, so we created two fake journalists who don't really exist to argue the toss. Which side will you come down on? Either way, we'll be here to hold your hand, take that #pageviewadmoney and whisper softly in your ear: "It's OK, baby – it's the world that's wrong."


by Melanie Toynbee

What a momentous year it's been. The Arabs have been revolting… and no, I don't mean that they're disgusting, dirty pigs… simply that they have been pretty foul and awful, all things considered. First the Tunisians, then the Egyptians, then the Libyans replaced governments that had pre-standing formal intent to respect the 1967 boundaries of Israel with these Islamist 'freely-willed' governments that look set to align themselves with their people's bloodthirsty hatred for Israel's legitimate right to exist. There was better news in May, when we were told that Osama bin Laden had been shot dead while reaching for his WMD super-button. How we cackled round my house, as we heard that he was dead. In celebration, I took off all my clothes and did what I could remember of Riverdance for Barry, who howled with laughter. I spent much of the rest of the week making meme-based Photoshops of the Situation Room. A lot of people didn't seem to find my 'dead Muslim terrorists in a conga line of sodomy behind Obama' picture very funny, which is exactly the sort of obscene political correctness that you unfortunately find in too many corners of the internet these days. Later that month, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was had up on a rather overblown – pardon! – rape charge. The culturally illiterate NYPD didn't seem to realise that in France, gentle penetration is the same as a hug in Britain. Dom, who was expressing his greasy continental style in the only way he knows how, can hardly be blamed if one chambermaid says 'a no' to his 'a oui-oui'. By July, Rupert Murdoch finally realised the depths to which the liberal conspiracy he's been fighting all these years would sink, when they sent a man with a cream pie to finish him off once and for all. Happily, their plot was foiled by some quick thinking from the original Asian Tiger, his inscrutable companion Wendi Deng. Then, in August, just as the police were about to get some welcome time off after militant trade unionists had made their lives unbearable for over a year, it turned out that – whoopsi daisy – this was just the dress rehearsal: the real anarchist scum had only just been loosed from the woodwork. Presumably these walking symptoms of how socialism poisons society chose August to riot because it was their only holiday from their hard-pressed schedule of being on the dole. Unfortunately, despite my calls for live ammunition on the streets, the government continued to fiff and faff for days before order was restored. Although we spend most of our time in St Albans, Barry and I were taking no chances, and planted land mines in the front yard. When the smoke finally cleared, the government announced they'd be staging a series of 'interventions' to help out the poorest of society's poor. Translation: Xboxes and free passes at Alton Towers for all rioters. Some bleeding hearts blamed the widening income gap. But those of us living in the reality-based community knew it was down to the lack of corporal punishment in the nation's hospitals. But no sooner had we swept up one bunch of oiks than another load of greasy nonsense appeared on the streets. With their demands that money be biodegradable, and that yaks have right of way at stop streets, and that all first aid kits contain muesli and sandals, the Liberal Democrat-types who staked out Occupy London were nothing if not hypocrites: the queue outside Starbucks in the morning was something to behold. Surely even they must realise that because they still use money their entire argument is invalid: do I have to be the one to spell it out for them? Thankfully, the year ended on a high note. Not the happy death of godless liberal Christopher Hitchens, but the arrival of a pair of super-cute pandas at Edinburgh Zoo. Let's hope these cuddly creatures don't get too confused by the snow!

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by Polly Philips

What a momentous year it's been. The night that Mubarak fell, my husband and I put the faces of the 20 Tahrir Square martyrs on individual Chinese lanterns, and released them into the Hampstead night. Incredibly, many of our neighbours had already had the same idea – it was an extraordinary sight, watching hundreds of yellow lanterns wafting across the North London skyline, and knowing that NW1 stood shoulder to shoulder with our Arab comrades.   Unfortunately, after that rousing start, a few months later, and much less pleasantly, we had to watch the spectacle of a bunch of idle rich know-nothings lording their superiority over all of us. I refer not, of course, to the lamentable ConDem cabinet! I speak of the Royal Wedding, a shameful exercise in which a nation obsessed over a particularly ugly hat even while child poverty was still growing at nearly 1.7 percent per annum throughout the ceremony. Across the pond, it was a year in which Obama showed himself time and again to be a president who does the opposite of what he says. Rather than blaze a trail for human rights by having bin Laden served with a subpoena at his Islamabad country home, then given full right to lodge an appeal against his extradition just like any other human being would, he was shot dead in cold blood by the US assassination squads. I bet the President felt pretty darned good that evening, knowing that he had blown away a 54-year-old father of 20 with kidney problems. Then, in August, the final verdict on the ConDems came from the people of this country, who rose up to say: “We are the poor. The ones you forgot about when you froze public sector wages, and cut the budget for youth services by 4.5 percent. We needed that 4.5 percent. And now you've driven us to smash up all your shops. Well, it serves you right.” Sadly, our own Tahrir Square revolution was ultimately unsuccessful, as Field Marshal Cameron proved he would do what Mubarak would not, and brought his goons, AKA the police, out onto the streets to attack anyone who looked like they might have aspirations to live in freedom. The whole year Cameron lurched from disaster to calamity like a drunk paedophilic rollerskating clown at a child beauty pageant with really well-polished floors, capping it all by pressing the nuclear button on our nation's relationship with Europe just as surely as if he'd gassed Boulogne. Thankfully, the year ended on a high note. Obviously not the sad death of one of the last surviving flag-flyers for real socialism, Kim Jong-il, but the beautiful pair of pandas that arrived at Edinburgh Zoo. Let's hope they're not too confused by all that snow!

Previously: An Obligatory and Pointless Debate About Coldplay Playing on X Factor