This time of year always prompts discussion about the Honours system and whether this politician, sportsman, actor, musician etc deserves recognition for doing their well-paid and often already well-recognised job. There is added intrigue this year with the confirmation that Ken Livingstone- and speculation that Danny Boyle- refused an Honour for their part in the success of London 2012.
I am not a fan of the current system. The lack of transparency and objectivity in the system makes me uneasy as does the continuation of politician’s influence over the nominations process. Like most people, I am delighted when an unsung community hero gets an Honour; the local lollipop lady, charity workers, youth or sports club volunteers, etc. But I lose faith in the system when they go to high profile figures who have already been recognised.
The system should be about recognising genuine public service, people going beyond the call of duty and doing something extraordinary in the service of others. As much as I loved the Olympics and the wonderful joy provided by our incredible Olympic and Paralympic athletes- this doesn’t meet that criteria. I am sure there are other ways to recognise these achievements.
It always feels slightly uncomfortable when I am agreeing with Ken Livingstone but then I guess he may say the same of me (if he had any idea who I was!). It is
time to modernise the system properly. End the culture of giving Honours to high profile figures for a day or two of good headlines, stop the automatic Honours for some jobs (whatever is said, that still feels like it is happening) and please change their names. History is hugely important but we really do need to move away from the use of “Empire” in their titles!