Summing up 2016 in a nutshell, Nigel Farage has been shortlisted for the honour of TIME Magazine’s person of the year. An accolade that, of course, once went to Adolf Hitler in 1938, so there’s that.
The sort of acknowledgment you just know Farage will be raising a grin and pint of Cornish ale to somewhere right now, the former UKIP leader will be vying to have his face splashed across the annual magazine special alongside other polarising figures which include one Vladimir Putin, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his new best mate Donald Trump.
Speaking of the decision to include the former UKIP leader on the shortlist - set to be whittled down by TIME editors and the winner announced next Wednesday - the magazine said:
"As head of the UK Independence Party, Farage was a face of the successful campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, positioning the referendum as the start of a global populist wave against the political establishment.”
Let’s examine the other controversial picks:
We say: Billionaire blowhard’s move from reality TV and real estate to politics struck a chord with a disillusioned US voters thanks to no-nonsense talking, which was mostly nonsense, catapulting him all the way to the White House.
TIME say: “After campaigning as an anti-establishment, populist candidate, Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States—a stunning end to a presidential bid that repeatedly broke with political precedent.”
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
We say: Remember when that coup happened? You know, back in July when the Turkish military tried to overthrow the government and there was nationwide anarchy? Well this is the man who clung on to power and went on to carry out purges of other rebels, political opposition, the media and anyone else he deemed standing in his way. As a result, diplomatic relations with other leading nations have suffered badly.
TIME say: “After an attempted military coup failed in July, the Turkish president has tightened control over the country, arresting political opponents, firing thousands of state employees and shutting down news organizations.”
We say: Putin, who won in 2007, isn’t exactly flavour of the month right now following continued trouble in the Crimea, a bombing campaign in Syria and a questionable influence on the US presidential race. If anyone is threatening to put the planet on the brink of WW3, it’s this man.
TIME say: “The Russian president made headlines this year with his country’s intervention in Syria and evidence showing that Russian operatives were responsible for the hack of Democratic National Committee servers.”
Not that it’s all bad.
TIME readers, at least, seem keen on a positive face gracing the cover after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (above) won the online readers poll earlier today. Described by the magazine as “the head of a powerful government who has guided his country’s economy into position as the emerging-market world’s most positive story”, he’s a charismatic head of state and one of the only world leaders to emerge from 2016 with major credit.
Meanwhile, scientists working in the field of CRISPER (Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats), who have developed a groundbreaking new technology that can edit DNA are also up for the title: “These scientists have developed a groundbreaking new technology that can edit DNA, a technique that has the potential to transform science and the human experience, as it could be used to find and remove mutations responsible for incurable diseases,” says TIME.
Also nominated are the residents of Flint, Michigan who blew the whistle on lead-poisoned water. “Local residents, along with civil-engineering professor Marc Edwards and local pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, blew the whistle on the lead-poisoned water in Flint, Mich., drawing national attention to an environmental crisis that still has yet to be fully resolved”, say TIME.
Not a ‘person’ as such, more a people, but what a bloody lovely gesture it would be with the fractured year the US has endured, and 2014’s win for Ebola Fighters suggests they’re in with a shot.
The rest of the 11 strong shortlist includes presidential runner-up Hilary Clinton, Olympic gymnast champ Simone Biles and Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg.
But let’s just hope Trump wins. Otherwise he’ll probably say it’s rigged and go on another gigantic hissy fit.