I’m a fortnight behind the game here I know, but I’ve only really just looked at the names of ‘honoured’ individuals from this year’s list. Is anyone else tired of seeing overpaid footballers, popstars and TV personalities being awarded gongs simply for being on TV. I’ve long believed that the New Year’s honours list should contain just that; honours for deserving individuals.
Rewarding people for doing something they do anyway (and often for which they get handsomely paid) seems to somehow devalue the honours system. Worse, in my humble opinion, is the number of MPs, civil servants and existing members of the establishment who receive even more letters after their names; and for what exactly?
That said, I was hugely pleased to see so many genuinely worthy individuals included in this year’s list. In fact, nearly 40 per cent of all New Years’ honours were given out to individuals for service to voluntary and community services. That’s nearly 1,000 people! Ranging from Knighthoods for long-serving charity leaders to individuals committed to creating a better world for all of us to live in, I found the list genuinely warming.
Of particular interest this year was the number of ‘philanthropists’ nominated. Now I’m sure the knighthoods, CBEs and MBEs certainly won’t harm these millionaires’ chances of creating even more wealth but I want to suspend scepticism for a moment. I had no idea the likes of John Madejski (Chairman of Reading FC and renowned entrepreneur) and David Johns (the head of retailer Next) actually devoted as much of their relative fortunes and their time as they do to supporting a range of worthy causes. Howard Lake does make a valid point in his blog of a couple of weeks ago – where are the fundraisers specifically?
In conclusion, I think I’ve experienced a small epiphany. I no longer care who receives a gong for services to the community, charity or philanthropy. I’m just pleased that enough people want to serve and the causes they support are able to help others as a result. Just don’t mention the hatful of honours awarded for ‘services to football’ and ‘services to acting’!