Long-time readers will have noticed my increasing caution about congratulating politicians over the receipt of honours given how often the honours are for ‘turning up and doing an ok job for a decent number of years (and you can keep it even if you turn bad)’.
Those politicians who are most deserving of honours are frequently those who get it for activity outside politics, and there have often been truly impressive achievements rightly honoured that way. But just sometimes what someone has done inside politics is more than simply do a job in a profession that is lucky enough to be especially favoured at honours time.
Step forward, therefore, Norman Lamb, newly knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. His work to put treating mental health on a par with physical health has been a major part in a big and welcome shift in attitudes, policies and budgets. There is a long way to go still, but already there are many people around the country who are better treated thanks in part to the work of Norman.
His comments on being knighted also showed a welcome recognition of the contributions of others:
“It’s obviously a huge honour and exciting.
“I’m actually aware there are an awful lot of people who do amazing work and don’t get any recognition or honour.
“I continue to admire them immensely, but when it happens to you, obviously it’s special.”
Sir Norman added that the citation he was sent “particularly mentioned mental health work”; a cause he said he was “passionate” about, and one had affected his own family.
“These are the things that really motivate me, and I continue, after 18 years of being elected, to fight for these causes,” he said. [North Norfolk News]
Congratulations, Norman – and as Layla Moran added: