The never­end­ing farce of Hon­ours Lists

Costa Levante News - - THE BRIT SCENE BY TOM DRAPER -

Big re­spect goes to Amer­i­can singer and ac­tress Ariana Grande who has po­litely turned down a dame­hood of­fered to her in the New Year's Hon­ours List. The gong would've been in recog­ni­tion of her re­sponse to the bomb­ing at her Manch­ester Arena con­cert. She or­gan­ised a char­ity gig and vis­ited vic­tims in hos­pi­tal. While both of these were no­ble, gen­er­ous and help­ful ges­tures, they hardly war­rant such a pres­ti­gious award. Some peo­ple give a life­time of ser­vice to good causes be­fore they are con­sid­ered for recog­ni­tion.

I have no beef against Grande, it's the sys­tem that is a farce. True, a broader range of peo­ple from all walks of life are now hon­oured for their fan­tas­tic achieve­ments but there are still far too many celebri­ties who are re­warded for sim­ply do­ing some­thing they en­joy and be­ing paid hand­somely for it. Harry Kane re­ceived an MBE for kick­ing a ball sev­eral times a week while Twiggy picked up a dame­hood, pre­sum­ably for hav­ing had a big mod­el­ling ca­reer 50 years ago. Mean­while, Michael Palin has been knighted for en­joy­ing lots of free hol­i­days in ex­otic lo­ca­tions around the world.

This cus­tom­ary hon­our­ing of fa­mous folk is ut­terly point­less a sen­ti­ment that was beau­ti­fully ex­pressed by Nigella Law­son al­most 20 years ago when she turned down the of­fer of an OBE. She said: “I'm not sav­ing lives, and I'm not do­ing any­thing other than some­thing I ab­so­lutely love.” Quite. works dis­play to send a mes­sage that Lon­don re­mains open to Euro­peans. The Lon­don Eye was lit up in the colours of the EU flag and as the fire­works soared into the night sky the words 'Lon­don is open' was blasted from loud­speak­ers in sev­eral Eu­ro­pean lan­guages.

While the ma­jor­ity of Lon­don­ers wisely voted to re­main, it was a mis­take to use the an­nual bash to send a po­lit­i­cal mes­sage. The coun­try is di­vided on Brexit and will be for years what­ever hap­pens, and it does no good to stoke up re­sent­ment on a night that should be full of noth­ing but fun. It’s a slip­pery slope if our politi­cians start get­ting ideas that they can hi­jack po­lit­i­cally neu­tral events to get their mes­sages across.

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