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Heroes, Villains and Stuff That Happened

Here is the place to make your nominations for the three remaining Spill Awards categories – the Heroes, Villains and Events of 2018 – prefaced by a song about an actual event involving a villain who tried to be a hero for his girl and a villain who pretends to be a social hero.

Villains are not difficult to find: Trump, Putin, bin Salman, Erdogan, Duterte, Orban, Bolsonaro, Rees-Mogg, Johnson…… Unfortunately, we have been spoilt for choice and they are are still being villainous as 2019 approaches. Personally, I’d go with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for being the most blatant (Jamal Khashoggi), most murderous (Yemen) and most hypocritical (let women drive but jail those who fought for it).

Individual heroes may not seem plentiful but there are increasing numbers of ordinary people who survive against the odds; those whose governments have decided they should be poor or have a different sexual orientation or faith. Or those who dare speak truth to power, like the increasing number of journalists in far too many countries that have been murdered, or the kids of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, epitomised by Emma González, who said ‘stop killing us’. I’m struggling to think of someone who succeeded in making a positive difference, however.

Things definitely happened in 2018, although one of the most important things – resetting the UK/EU relationship – took a lot of time, effort and money to not happen at all. We had great summer weather (in which to take in the dire warnings of the IPCC climate report) and a very enjoyable World Cup (in which we were able to dream of football returning home) but maybe the most memorable event was the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal (and the death of Dawn Sturgess) and the blatant lies told by two Russian architecture students and the Russian state. More positively, there was the episode of Blue Planet II that kicked off the fight against single-use plastics; obviously the way to combat climate change is to show puppies and kittens dying from heatstroke or flooding.

Sorry I can’t be more positive but I’m sure you understand.


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