While we have been preparing our own Liberal Democrat Stars of 2013 (you can still submit your nominations), the Government has published its own list of recipients of New Year Honours list. For the first time ever, surprisingly since women make up more than half the population, they make up a slight majority of this list. It really might be time, though, for them to change the outdated way they list women. Married women are listed as their first names, then Mrs surname. Others have the designation Ms. This is not the case for men, who are simply listed by name. Time to get with the 21st century, I think. Given that the Cabinet Office release the list, and our Nick is in charge there, this is a very quick change he could make.
Here are the Liberal Democrat names we have spotted so far:
Candy Piercy, a name synonymous to most Liberal Democrats with fantastic, relevant training. Candy receives the MBE for “voluntary political service.” That covers a whole host of campaigning and training both in this country and abroad. If you think of the seeds she has planted in people, the skills she has developed, the campaigners she has shaped in fledgling democracies, in countries from Eastern Europe to the Seychelles, as well as at home, you just start to understand the difference she has made.
Cllr Robert Brown from Rutherglen. Robert served in the Scottish Parliament as MSP for Glasgow from 1999-2011, having spent the previous 15 years as a Councillor. He was a Minister for Education during the second term of the Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition government. As justice spokesman, he fought valiantly against an increasingly illiberal SNP administration. He returned to local government in 2012, being elected as Councillor for Rutherglen on South Lanarkshire Council. A by-election took place there earlier this year and when I did some telephone canvassing, so many people said that they were voting for us because either Robert had helped them or someone they knew. He gets a CBE.
Paisley is not the most likely place to have a solid Liberal Democrat base but for 25 years now, Eileen McCartin has been a remarkable, hard working councillor. I went to a dinner earlier this year where we celebrated her service to her community over quarter of a century. She’s also Willie Rennie’s political mum. He studied in Paisley and stood in a council by-election in a ward that on paper we had no chance of winning in 1989. He ended up coming really close. She gets an MBE.
Willie Rennie said of her:
I have known Eileen since I joined the party in the 1980s in Paisley. Over the years I have seen first-hand how she has been a powerful advocate for the Liberal Democrats through good times and bad. From councillor to parliamentary candidate, she had held the torch high.
In 1961, Ruth Shaw was elected as the first Liberal on Sutton Council. She was still there in 1986 when the party took over the administration of the Council, which they’ve held ever since. She is rewarded for her service with an OBE. In the Sutton Guardian, she says:
I didn’t see this coming at all. I was absolutely astonished and obviously very pleased. To get this recognition is wonderful although I don’t even feel like I’ve done all that munch – although I must have been doing something right.
Basildon Councillor Geoff Williams, who has served continuously since 1986, receives an MBE for services to local government.
Congratulations to all of these. The list is 125 pages long. There must be people we have missed, so please let us know and we’ll update this post throughout the day.
Update 1: on the women’s title issue, you might find this post from Cllr Karen Chilvers interesting. She explains why she’s asked her council to stop referring to her as Cllr Ms Chilvers.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings