New Years Honours, Lib Dems and what a good honours system should look like

I’ve spotted two Liberal Democrats in the New Years Honours list. The first is Zuffar Haq – who, in addition to his Lib Dem activity has an impressive record of other good works, such as running a medical charity. Congratulations on your MBE, Zuffar.

I can say that quite genuinely not only because he’s a lovely chap I’ve had the good fortune to meet a few times but also because of the breadth of his good works outside politics.

Likewise, congratulations to town councillor Molly Rennie from Dorchester, recognised for her work raising awareness of domestic abuse. As she told her local paper:

It’s not about me, it’s about all the people that we have been able to help through the support we give and raising awareness for domestic abuse.

When I first got involved there was nothing but now there are so many people and places willing to help.

The whole community wrapped themselves around this service from the beginning, we have got so many people out there wanting to make a difference.

What I do, though, find increasingly hard is to congratulate those in other years – or in other parties this year – who get an honour simply for having been a politician (or civil servant, one of those other favoured professions) for many years and getting to a fairly senior level, at least briefly.

For me, honours should be about acknowledging and thanking the truly remarkable or the otherwise largely unrecognised. Doing a relatively safe job pretty well for a few decades shouldn’t be enough. Brilliance, bravery or selfless dedication is what I’d like to see recognised far more.

5 responses to “New Years Honours, Lib Dems and what a good honours system should look like”

  1. We often give, or used to give, honours for people who did necessary but non-glamorous, voluntary or under-remunerated jobs for long periods. Such as chairing local authorities. The professionalisation of these jobs has rather put the kybosh on this.

  2. I rather admire the British honours system and the ultimate pragmatism applied by the successive governments in administering it. That may be because I come from the part of the world where corruption is indigenous and attempts to eradicate it regularly fail (I grew up seeing my father try to fight it). Offering honours to politicians and civil servants at the end of their careers for resisting dishonorable behaviour while in power is an easy and cheap way of maintaining probity among public servants. There may be a whiff of tawdriness about it, but the sweet scent emanating from the honours bestowed on those that merit them assuages our senses.

  3. I would give awards to all people who did unpleasant jobs for a lifetime, wrecked their health, crippled sometimes and on a meagre pension like dustmen and cleaners. It’s easy to do voluntary work if you have 9-5 type jobs e.g shift workers often dont have the time or energy to do anything but earn a crust!

  4. I like the Honours system. Something quite “british” about it and always look for local people who have worked hard in the community. I accept there are always going to be politically motivated award (thats just the way it is) and sportspeople is always a grey area for me unless like Bill Beumont their work after leaving “the field of play” deserves a gong. Each year there is always a WTF person and this year is no different.
    Sir John Redwood !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Sorry but do I need to open the can of worms that is a list of politicians that are far more deserving. Perhaps the honours system needs the politics taken out of it and become independant from now on . Flood gates now open and expecting lots of abuse now lol

  5. But can we really complain about politicians from other parties being given knighthoods when some of our own (including our current leader) have also had them?

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