Congratulations, Caroline Pidgeon

Caroline PidgeonIt’s great to see Lib Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours.

She has been, is, and I’m sure will continue to be, one of the most effective London Assembly members of any party. Her MBE rightly recognises her skill and tenacity in holding to account the Mayor and providers of key public services in London.

Congratulations Caroline.

(Personally, I’d prefer it if we had an honours system which normally didn’t give awards to politicians at all, but as we do it’s lovely to see such a good one as Caroline honoured for her work.)

* Mark Pack has written 101 Ways To Win An Election and produces a monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats.

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13 Comments

  • Tony Dawson 29th Dec '12 - 9:39am

    Personally, I wish we didn’t have an honours system at all. Totally arbitrary from the nomination process to the choice process.

  • Frank Furter 29th Dec '12 - 9:49am

    Politicians are as much part of our public life as are scientists, teachers, industrialists, sportspeople, lollipop ladies, or commentators. Why should they be denied an honour? To me, a less discriminatory way of looking at the honours system is to ask what service merits an honour (whether we have honours or not is a separate question). Secondly, a little more transparency about why a particular honour has been awarded to a particular person will not come amiss and will disinfect what at present is a murky process. Nevertheless, congratulations to Ms Pidgeon.

  • Frank – that is the way it should be looked at, and some politicians to merit it. Too many get awards for basically turning up and doing their job. Whilst in other fields you have to produce expectional performance to merit an award.

    Eg:

    However, Mo Farah had to win two gold medals to get a CBE, Roger Williams has been a backbench MP for 10+ years. Bradley Wiggins won the TDF and Olympic gold (something never done before) – meanwhile Angela Watkinson gets the equivalent for:

    “Angela Watkinson MP served as a local councillor before her election in 2001 as MP for Upminster. A year later she was promoted to the front bench, where she has
    remained ever since, most notably as an Opposition and then Government Whip. She has served on several Select Committees and makes a strong voluntary contribution, including as an Ambassador for Guiding.”

    Yes I am a curmedgeon about this – but I am a consistent one :-)

  • Scanning down the list we do seem to be drifting back to the “bad old days” of awards for political service judging by the very brief citations.

  • Frank Furter 29th Dec '12 - 1:01pm

    A further comment on our present system. Some years ago I had a senior position in a large public organisation. A question arose of putting forward an employee for an honour – which was done with pleasure but without ultimate success. That same year, another employee in the same department got a honour, we had not known he was under consideration even though the reason for the honour was related to his work for the organisation (we would not have supported it had we known!). In the first case the support was local, in the second case the support was from a national body. It is sometimes said the system gives innocent pleasure to the recipients. But I think that sentiment overlooks the upset and resentment to those who expect but do not receive.

  • @Rebecca Hanson
    “He promised me he wouldn’t vote for the second gulf war without a second UN resolution and then did”

    By that token no Lib Dem who broke their pledge on tuition fees should be honoured then? My view is that honours should be for exceptional service in any field, including politics. Lying to constituents should absolutely disqualify politicians of any party. But the MP who goes above and beyond for their constituents should be in line for recognition just as the nurse who does so for their patients….

  • Between 1985 and 2010 I think that 6 sitting Lib Dem MPs received Knighthoods whilst in Parliament (Ashdown, Beith, Campbell, Kirkwood, Johnston, Smith) That doesn’t include David Steel who received his in 2004 and I’m leaving Bob Smith out of calculations!

    There have been 3 knighted in 2 1/2years since we went into coalition. (Harvey, Russell, Bruce).

    Of course we didn’t have many MPs to knight up to 1997 but it’s still curious :-)

  • lynne featherstone 29th Dec '12 - 3:52pm

    Well – it’s the system we’ve got. Well done Caroline – brilliant campaigner and excellent at holding that old reprobate Boris to account! You go girl!

  • Lynne – That is a very depressing thing to hear a Lib Dem MP and minister say.

    Paddy used to say that we wanted to change the system, Labour (who were then in opposition) just wanted to inheirit it. So what happened?

  • Tony Dawson 29th Dec '12 - 6:42pm

    @Hywel :

    “Paddy used to say that we wanted to change the system, Labour (who were then in opposition) just wanted to inheirit it. So what happened?”

    Someone re-wrote the Will? :-(

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