The New Year Honours list contains the usual mixture of time-servers, government stooges, tax dodgers, donors to the Tory Party (typically the same thing), over-paid entertainers, sportsmen and women and those unctuous recipients who accept ‘to recognize the contributions of others’. It’s time again to remind ourselves that recipients can decline the ‘honour’. We salute those who have, over the years, had sufficient principle and self-confidence to do this. This honourable band includes, amongst many others:
The New Year honours list has, however, plumbed new depths this year with the award of a knighthood to Iain Duncan-Smith. It’s this government’s way of poking two fingers in the face of claimants of Universal Benefit and everyone who has campaigned against its introduction.
You can sign a petition objecting to this award here:
No notice will be taken of your objection, but at least you will be able to say not in my name!
On learning that Lynton Crosby, the slimy spin doctor who ran the Tory’s 2015 election campaign, had be awarded a knighthood under the New Year’s Honours List, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said that it would make the public think that the awards system had become “an old boys’ club”. He did not go far enough. The entire awards system is rotten to the core. It should be abolished and the titles that go with it. While it limps on we can only marvel at the lack of self- respect of those who accepted these tarnished baubles.
Lynton Crosby aside, it’s true that, for example, Imelda Staunton is a fine actress and Tony McCoy is an excellent jockey. The time has, however, long past when actresses were a despised group in need of public recognition and sportsmen performed for the fun of it and to scratch a subsistence living. We have Oscars, Emmys etc to recognise the former and the Sports Personality of the Year (such a tautology!) to recognise the latter. As for the other 1,193 recipients, some are, no doubt, worthy individuals, some (but not all) pay their UK tax and not all of them will disingenuously claim that the award is a form of recognition for their colleagues and employees. Let them have their day at Buckingham Palace, but those we salute today are those who see honours for what they are and decline them. Well done you lot!
Happy New Year.
If, like me, you are deeply disappointed by all those who have accepted honours in the New Year Honours List, especially those who unctuously say that they only accepted on behalf of their profession, community, hard working employees etc, here is a list of some of those who declined knighthoods in the past.
Alan Bennett playwright
Albert Finney actor
E M Forster author
Michael Frayn playwright and author
Stephen Hawking physicist
Muhammed Ali Jinnah Founder of Pakistan
L S Lowrey artist
Humphrey Lyttelton musician
Aldous Huxley author
Keith Hill Labour MP
George Bernard Shaw playwright
Alastair Sim actor
H G Wells author
Let’s salute them and all the other men and women who have declined honours of every kind. May their numbers grow and their refusal to be ‘honoured’ come to be seen as more honourable than accepting a title or gong.