Annus Horribilis: the six biggest scandals of 2021

It was a wretched year for wrongdoing, rascals and regrets — as Harry Shukman discovers...

When the ancient Babylonians saw in the new year, they promised the gods they would pay their debts, return anything they had borrowed, and reaffirm their loyalty to the reigning king. Historians say this is one of the earliest forms of new year’s resolution – the first known instance when humans looked back and pondered how to be more considerate in the months to come. Were the Babylonians knocking around today they would no doubt beg the passholders of the Houses of Commons to get back to their pagan roots and make amends for this terrible year. 2021 has been so ridden by scandal and disgrace that the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah would have baulked. And so in honour of those Babylonian traditions, and in the vain hope that 2022 might deliver a smidge more virtue, let’s recap the biggest scandals of this woe-begotten year.

Wherefore art thou, health secretary?

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