Yes, yes, end of year awards, they’re as ubiquitous as leftover turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day, squeezing the last drop out of the suncream tube and using laboured yuletide/summer imagery to introduce half-arsed stories this time of year, every year … But you really seem to like them, and who are we to deny you that pleasure?

Today we kick off the 2011 Crikeys with our Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane’s wrap of the best and worst from our politicians in 2011.

His pick for best politician may infuriate some of you but, well, bugger ya. This year, it’s hard to argue with the fact that Tony Abbott “has offered a masterclass in political tactics”.

And here’s a fun fact — 2011 was the first year since 2004 that we finished with the same prime minister and opposition leader that we commenced it with, despite the fact that the wider public seem to deeply despise both of them.

But these awards aren’t a popularity contest, just like our politicians we’re focused on the job, not the polls. And for that reason, all sorts of surprising names have floated to the top to make up today’s winners.

It’s well established, and quite frankly utterly predictable by now that many of you pretty much loathe both our leaders so we’ve taken them (and all politicians, in fact) out of the equation for Friday’s best and worst person in the People’s Choice Awards, and left them to our time-honoured s-xy category … because just because you hate this particular crop of politicians, doesn’t meant you don’t have the occasional hot dream about them. Trust us, we’ll be discreet, so don’t be shy, share your feelings, and get voting.