Friday, 3 July 2015

Going Going Gong!

'The class system, for want of better words, is alive and kicking. It’s a world where traditional “British” values of snobbery and deference continue to create a clan of fools. The fact that the awards still exist in defiance of modern principles of enlightenment, equality and social justice is questionable. and do the awards given to the wrong people for the wrong reasons devalue the work of the real heroes and heroines.

Reading that you might think that I was against such 'awards' but I do actually support the issuing of 'Gongs' in principle.  We should recognise people who against all the odds persevere to bring justice into what is increasingly an unjust world.  But the British honours system is so entwined with colonial history and steeped in privilege that it can’t be reconciled with egalitarian principles.

Who could ever oppose the awards to the two Hillsborough disaster campaigners who fought a series of protracted battles for decades. To first of all clear the names of their children. Then to bring justice to what has been revealed to be a monumental implosion for the British justice system and the newspaper industry. Margaret Aspinall and Trevor Hicks, have been awarded CBEs. The pair who campaigned for justice for 25 years, have been recognised by the Queen for their “significant work”. The leading figures of the Hillsborough Family Support Group helped secure an independent inquiry into the 1989 stadium tragedy and fresh inquests for the 96 people who died. Both spoke of mixed feelings after what Mrs Aspinall called the “long, long struggle” for justice.

Speaking of her CBE, Mrs Margaret Aspinall said: “I feel so humble about it, I really do. Obviously I thought it was an absolutely lovely thing to be linked with, but at the same time it was a dichotomy. We are at the inquests at the moment and to me that’s the most important thing, so I was in a dilemma – do you accept or not? Because so many people were involved in this. Then I thought there could not be a nicer way to end the year, to accept it on behalf of all those people involved. The people who stood by the families and stayed with them all these years, so it’s for them as well.”

Whenever, an award is given to someone for just doing their everyday job - it trivialises the whole awards system. Awards should only be given to the truly deserving people. However, for some people it is much more than a job its a life long, dedicated vocation. If someone is a serial under achiever or is sanctioned for the lack of ability in monitoring staff. This must call into question their suitability for employment - not their suitability for an award. Now contrast and compare the MBE awarded to Sally Elizabeth Ash. Head of Boating, Canal and River Trust. For services to British Inland Waterways. An award for just doing her everyday job. Which has been summed up on the KANDA website. Click Here

Maybe Sally Ash  will tell us why she 'deserved' this award. Maybe she could list all the triumphs she had. Maybe she could contrast and compare what she did in her everyday job, for which she was handsomely paid. Against the lifetime of dedication done for free by Margaret Aspinall.

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