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Friday, December 28, 2012


it is that time of year when the gongs are being handed out.
there was a time when i thought it might be fun to get a gong of one sort or another (and i would still be chuffed to bits if i were ever to get one) but i have realised that the chances of me getting one are very slim.
it's okay i won't be losing any sleep over it.

most of us realise that they are pretty worthless - they don't make the person any better than they already are and it is not like they only go to worthy people.
over the last several years the honours system has been tied up with a certain amount of cronyism and, for want of a better term, bribery: give the party enough cash and get an honour.this has served to debase the honours system (this isn't to ignore those who believe that there shouldn't be an honours system to begin with, but that is an argument for another time).

there are two things that annoy me about the gongs.
firstly there is the attention that is always paid to celebrities who get gongs - as if they need any more attention or publicity. according to the press release that accompanied the honours list just over 70% of recipients are not personalities, yet most of the coverage that will appear in the media will be all about those celebrities who have received a gong of some such.
here is one of the problems of modern culture: the adoration of celebrity.
david cameron still, very occasionally, mentions 'the big society' and if you ever wanted to promote such an idea then the gongs would be a perfect way of doing it. all those people who have been given an honour for the work they have done in their local communities or for charities, getting rewarded for their hard work. yet the media are just not interested in those people, so much easier to do a puff piece on a celebrity and their award.
it is an opportunity lost.

the second thing i really hate is the humblebrag of some people who are quick to tell you that they have not accepted their award. this time around one of those people is ken livingstone. he was offered a cbe (commander of the british empire), he refused it. no problem with that at all. it is a matter of principle for him, and good on him for sticking to his principles.
i just wish that he would have kept quiet about it rather than go on a bit of a media blitz to make sure that everyone knew that he had been offered one. he did say he had no problems with athletes getting them, as they have given up so much (and some, well me, would say that quite a lot of them hadn't done to bad out of their participation in sport), while those who had done good work in the community also deserved to be awarded.
perhaps it would have been better if ken had ceded centrestage and let some of those unsung heroes their moment in the spotlight. though that would have meant ken not being in the spotlight.

who knows maybe next time no celebrities will get one - that is sure to get people talking.

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