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We are neither impressed nor shall we be honoured, your majesty

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We are neither impressed nor shall we be honoured, your majesty On my way back home after relaxing Christmas holidays, I was greeted with a special edition of a daily national newspaper. The main headline was separated by a huge picture of athlete Tessa Sanderson. In this context, she was a black woman at the centre of an investigation into the enigma that is the Queen's honours. Shrouded in secrecy and privacy, for as long as I can remember, I have never really understood how the whole system works. From an early age, all that I could comprehend from the ceremony was that all the people involved became sirs and ladies. Years later, I sat eagerly, reading the articles and embarking on a journey deeper into understanding the saga surrounding the queen's honours. I must admit, the article was quite cynical of the whole system, but after doing further research, I am not surprised. Every year, around three thousand honours are awarded by her majesty the queen to individuals who have made exceptional achievements in fields such as the Arts, Sports and Science. Given out twice a year - Queen's birthday honours and New Year's honours, acknowledge civilians and celebrities alike for 'services' to industry and media as well. ...read more.


For example, for each list, there are a maximum number of sports nominees that can be included. Also, the award committee have a target percentage of females and ethnic minorities to be included. Thirty-five percent is the committee's target quota for females on the list (Hence, the questionable innocence of Tessa Sanderson's third nomination). Again, this is not in keeping with the supposed fair, system of merit on which the honours system should be based. Another problem is that there are no real criteria for honours list nominations. None at all. All that is needed is a nominator and a nominee. Some reason must be given, but there are no guidelines as to what the Queen (namely her award committee) are after. It is a real shame to have an award that only carries prestige and not substance. This is clear in the nominations. For example, Jamie Oliver, the TV chef was awarded an MBE, to my horror in the Queen's birthday honours. A chef? Called a Member of the Order of the British Empire and given an honour by the Queen? A chef? One other detail that puzzles me is the fact that someone can be nominated more than once. ...read more.


Also, the Queen is able to enjoy more time with her public, proving that she still bears some relevance to British life. She obviously enjoys proving her critics wrong by making public appearances and doing something. The honours are also a way of keeping a tradition. Since William the Conqueror, every English monarch has handed these honours out. Times seem not to have changed though. In the day of William the Conqueror, people were not recognised by the monarch with honours. In fact, they were probably 'recognised' with death by beheading or execution. Of course, I speak of those early pioneers in the scientific fields. The inventor of the Web, Englishman Tim Berners-Lee, has only just recently been given an honour. More than ten years after its development, the web now plays a part in the majority of lives here on Earth. I was angry and upset at how long it has taken for the Queen (and her award committee) to finally recognise such a great man. And so, I conclude this article, in contempt of the Queen's honours system. I am ashamed of the shambles it has made of such a good idea and I wish whoever's task it is to make the system more transparent, the best of luck, in the hope that one day, I too may want to get an honour from the Queen. Paul B 10P ...read more.

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