No honours, thank you Ma’am
2020, what a year, one we will never forget, for all the wrong reasons, and one which we long to leave behind. With a fresh start in the new year what better way to begin than by leaving the outdated honours where they also belong, in the past. Honours or medals that still relate to the “British Empire” are well beyond their sell-by date. It is time for that particular tradition to end and no longer have lingering memories of a bygone era, in much of which we can’t claim any pride. Who did we think we were wandering round the world creating an empire? What’s that you say? The honours today don’t have anything to do with an empire? Of course they don’t, all the more reason to ditch them.
You could rename them, but why would you? Honours no longer have a place in modern society. I am not arguing that many people have not contributed greatly to society, they have, in the main, but 2020 has thrown us all into a whirlwind of possible honourees…
Frontline doctors and nurses and paramedics throughout the NHS and hospices, selfless in their care; Carers and Care Home staff looking after the elderly; builders of temporary hospitals; supermarket workers, shelf stackers, necessary shop owners; lorry drivers carrying goods and equipment to hospitals and shops; volunteers keeping Foodbanks going, getting messages for the vulnerable; people raising and donating money for hospices and other charities; public transport workers keeping services going; Funeral Directors assisting bereaved families in desperately sad circumstances; reporters who have kept us informed; teachers, prison officers, Police officers, and posties…to name but a few, and apologies to those missing from this list.
What should we do, pick a few random folk from the list and make them the recipients of honours on behalf of all their colleagues? No, let’s simply thank people for their invaluable contributions because for every one honoured we leave thousands unhonoured.
Hats off to Captain Tom Moore who raised millions for charity by walking his way to his 100th birthday, but he doesn’t need the title “Sir”, nor do we need the host of Sirs and Dames in the various fields from athletics to entertainment. Footballer Marcus Rashford deserves applause for his battle to make sure children are fed, but he is rewarded enough without an MBE splashed after his name. And Ian Botham may have been a great cricketer but a knighthood and a life peerage in the House of Lords, another institution that should be abolished, is mindboggling! What is that all about?
It has often been said in 2020 that life will change and never be the same. Probably true in many respects. Throw in a Brexit and we have the “make Britain great again” slogan doing the rounds. What we need to make our nation great is to wear the badge of friendship, to fight the cause of climate change, to walk with humble hearts, to stand for truth and justice, and embrace the opportunity to build on the good and valuable contributions that millions make, often selflessly and very often unnoticed. I suspect strongly that they do it because they want to see a better world not because they want an Empire Medal. There simply aren’t enough medals to go round, so no honours, thank you Ma’am, just a simple thanks is all that’s required.