honours II

Nah it’s not the degree level I achieved (I wish) but a follow up to a very early posting I did back on 8 May ’07. In that I argued that they should be honouring Dario Gradi for his outstanding contribution to developing young football talent in this country. I also argued for posthumous knighthoods for people like Paisley, Clough and Ball, to which I would add Bobby Moore unhesitatingly, because of their inestimable contribution to the sport of football in England. I’ve gone all reflective because I’ve just been reading about the Queen’s birthday honours in the UK. And I ask myself how many of these awards are truly deserved?

I mean CBEs for Des O’Connor and Victoria Wood? What has Des really done to justify that – even he admitted yesterday, rather modestly, that he’d never done a proper day’s work in his life. He’s an entertainer granted but all he seems to do these days is present Countdown and flirt (not very well) with Carol Vorderman. For which he gets paid a very handsome wedge. Bloody hell, I’d walk to Yorkshire to do that. And Victoria Wood is another woman who stirs something in me but she’s already got a gong, so exactly what has she done recently to justify the higher honour? Paul O’Grady’s also been honoured – I find him to be a sour-mouthed acid queen to be perfectly honest. Apart from, again, being paid a fortune to read from prompt cards, what exactly has this guy done to justify his award?

If they’re going to recognise someone for appearing a lot on the box (and thank you your maj for resisting the temptation to award a knighthood to that rug-rat Bruce Forsyth) then I would prefer to see it go to someone like Michael Palin who was, of course, one of the main forces behind the Pythons and who has delivered some brilliant travelog TV in recent years. Apart from being a thoroughly decent guy (he helped us several times with our activity at Tate Online – and never charged a fee) he is genuinely funny and engaging, produces his own material rather than relying on a team of script writers and he writes quite beautifully. Paul O’Grady – pah!

At the risk of sounding like an old socialist, I reckon that if we’re going to have these honours, I would far rather see them being awarded only to people for doing sterling work in the community, with kids, older folk and handicapped people, in the NHS, in the forces and so on. To see high-ranking civil servants, military heads and even political and royal flunkies receive them as a matter of course makes my blood boil. And to award them to people who are already hugely-rewarded because of their celebrity status makes me want to storm the Palace and install a Republic.

So Gordon if you are looking for nominees here are two recommendations from me:

– my great friend Lawrie who set up his own charity called Heats nearly 10 years ago (check out the side-bar on the home page of this blog) to help disadvantaged youngsters in the Middlesbrough area and who’s been doing inspirational work, quite unselfishly and without adequate funding ever since, and

– our old friend Carol Schaffer who worked tirelessly for more than 20 years supporting parents and their handicapped kids in a self-help group called Kith and Kids which we used to belong to and which was a real help to us when R was very young.

To me these are the kind of people who deserve some recognition but I’m sure we’ll continue to see bloody soap stars being feted instead. Come the Revolution……


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