Tag Archives: new year honours 2022

Being a REAL “Community Champion” and the Order of the British Empire

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  • To award or not to award?
  • Is the Queen’s New Year’s honours list “fit for purpose”?
  • Is it too archaic?
  • Does it reflect well on the real achievements of our “Community Champions”?

I must admit that I don’t usually pay too much attention to the Queen’s New Year’s honours list. This year was a bit different mainly because a former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was chosen by the Queen for the knighthood. Not surprisingly, in a couple of days, more than 500,000 people have signed the petition to revoke his knighthood. Some of these calls were driven by families, whose members lost their loved ones during the war in Iraq.

In political terms, Mr Blair has been a very successful politician. He was a Prime Minister, undoubtedly one of the hardest jobs in the land, for 10 years (1997-2007). In a way, I should be grateful to Tony Blair as it was he who allowed Poles and other Eastern European nationals to come to Britain since the largest enlargement of the EU in 2004.

However, in my view he lost political integrity and credibility when he decided to support the invasion of Iraq. Since leaving the office, he has travelled globally to give talks on a wide range of issues. I found it staggering that he was supposed to be giving a speech on how to feed the poor in Sweden in 2015. This was dropped for a simple reason; Mr Blair’s fees were too high (£330,000!).

In my opinion, I am not sure whether people who are paid to do a particular job, even if they do it very well, should be receiving a knighthood. For me an example of someone who deserves recognition is Marcus Rashford, who didn’t get an MBE for his fantastic football skills but for  additional (and exceptional!) work that he has been doing to support vulnerable children.

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

New Year Honours – the Lib Dem edit

Chris Whitty and Emma Raducanu were dead certs for the New Year Honours list published today. But what about all those people working for their local communities, most of whom were nominated by the people they serve, and some of whom are certainly Lib Dems (because that’s what Lib Dems do)?

Here is the chance to tell us about any members who have been given an honour this time round. Use the comments below to explain why they have been honoured and we will add them to the main post.

Isabelle Parasram

Congratulations to former Vice President of the Lib Dems, Isabelle Parasram, on being awarded an OBE for public and political service. Isabelle is a barrister, currently working as the CEO of Social Value UK, a national network for those interested in social value and social impact.

Ed Davey said:

We are absolutely delighted to hear that Isabelle has received this award, which is richly deserved for her distinguished and tireless service within politics and indeed beyond.

Her enduring legacy within the Liberal Democrats is reflected in her work on democratic engagement, diversity and social justice, which is greatly respected by the party and something we continue to aspire towards.

Matthew Clark

And many congratulations also go to Matthew Clark, former Chief of Staff to the Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament, and former councillor, who has been awarded an MBE for services to politics.

Caron Lindsay wrote a post here on Lib Dem Voice last June: “End of an era as Matthew Clark leaves Holyrood”, in which she quotes Scottish Party Convener Sheila Ritchie:

Matthew is my friend. He has a brain the size of a planet and has been the repository of the party’s institutional knowledge for decades.

He is kind, and firm, and he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Being a fool, and certainly not in his intellectual league, there have been occasions when he has not suffered me.

But he has always been there for me, as Convenor, as candidate, as MEP, and for anyone in the Party who needed him.

We owe him a huge debt, which we probably can never repay.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 3 Comments
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