Following my post on Honours and Sport a couple of weeks ago, and my speculation on who would get what in the New Year’s Honours List as a result of peformances at the Olympics, the UK Government has come up with an interesting solution. A whole new Honours List! As you will notice in the linked article, nothing has as yet been confirmed by Whitehall, but if it’s been reported on the BBC, chances are it’s entirely kosher.
That still doesn’t take away the Main Honours Advisory Committee’s difficulty of who gets what in terms of honours. Gold medallists only? Medallists only? It also sets an interesting precedent in providing an Honours list after a major sporting event. Will this occur in 4 years time if Britain have similar (but most likely lesser given the lack of the “London effect”) success? If England win the World Cup in 2014 or 2018, will a similar separate Honours list be provided for the 23 men in the squad plus coaches? I wonder if these consequences have been thought through.
What one might also argue is that this new proposal somewhat devalues the Honours system. There is no doubt that many of those winning medals this summer, both in the Olympics and the Paralympics, deserve the extra recognition provided in joining the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. If so many are to be handed out, however, that a large percentage of the next British Olympic squad have something ending in “BE” after their name, to my mind it removes something special not only in their receiving an Honour, but in the lollipop lady who’s worked for 60 years receiving an MBE. If the Olympians can have an extra Honours List, why not lollipop ladies?
As an aside, one man who probably won’t appear on the Olympics Honours List is Sir Chris Hoy (unless there’s a peerage coming his way). He will, however, receive the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh on Sunday 16 September at the newly refurbished Assembly Rooms in George Street.