A busy year….
Christmas was Celebrity University Challenge. Emphasis on 'challenge'. My team from Christ Church was filled with artists and political hacks, so inevitably our opening questions were about 18th century German physicists. Ho-hum. We scored a record low for the series. My contribution was to smile.
January – the EU Referendum Bill in the House of Lords. My Bill. A great parliamentary occasion. We fought for weeks to give the people a vote on whether Britain stays in or gets out of the EU. The Bill never stood a chance of passing through the Lords but it has set out the political battleground with stunning clarity. More – much more – to come at the next election. If you're sufferinng from sleeplessness you can read and watch the debates here.
Also in January I succeeded in fillling my diesel car with petrol. My wife says I should get out more.
Michael receiving the lifetime achievement
at the political book awards.
February – the second stunning Netflix series of House of Cards. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright produce two dynamite performances. It's become a global viewing sensation and won Robin a Golden Globe on top of its three Emmys. President Obama tweeted about it; the show is a huge hit in China, and I am weighed down with fan mail from Kyrgyzstan.
March - the annual Palace of Varieties where we parliamentarians humiliate ourselves on stage on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support. My version of Mad Dogs and Englishmen might have had Noël Coward wincing and wasnt very kind about President Hollande but we raised a huge amount of money – £100,000. Worth every flush of embarrassment. Watch extracts here. Later we raised another six-figure sum for Macmillan with the Lords versus Commons tug of war. The Lords team came a close second.
Then a surprising evening at the Political Book of the Year awards in central London where to my astonishment I found myself being summoned to the stage to collect the Lifetime Achievement award. I suspect it's a subtle way of telling me I should now retire.
April – in Rome to launch House of Cards. The Italian Prime Minister Signor Renzi was photographed walking into a bookshop and buying a copy. I hope he realizes it's a work of entertainment, not a book of instruction.
Also to Boston to pick up another Lifetime Award from my alma mater at Tufts University, then in June to New York to receive the P T Barnum Award for Excellence in Entertainment.
In the last couple of months new editions of House of Cards have been published in the US, Denmark, China, Italy, Poland, Germany, South Korea, France, Norway and many other countries, along with an exciting new e-book edition.
The paperback version of the new Harry Jones novel 'A Ghost at the Door' is out. It was short-listed for the Political Fiction of the Year award. The Daily Express said 'the excitement never lets up but underneath is a love story that is just as compelling' and the BBC suggested it was 'the best Harry Jones yet'. Visit Amazon Store
And now we have started shooting House of Cards Season 3. It may be a love story, too – but not in the way the local vicar might accept.
It's been a bit of a year. More fun to come.