Isn’t a gold medal the only gong they need
22:04 GMT, 30 December 2012
'Discrepancy': Paralympic dressage rider Lee Pearson, who won his tenth gold medal and received a CBE, was disappointed not to get a knighthood
Olympic cycling hero Sir Bradley Wiggins says that he probably won’t use his new knighthood.
‘Except in a comedy way,’ he adds. Of course. How otherwise would he use ‘Sir’
Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone is even grander. He turned down a CBE, declaring: ‘I don’t believe politicians should get honours.’ Quite right, too.
London 2012 opening ceremony mastermind Danny Boyle turned down a knighthood — as we might expect from a too-cool-for-school movie director.
And Cherie Blair modestly accepted a CBE for her charity work when, for a woman of her well-known compassion, she was surely due to become a Dame. As a Republican, will she curtsey when she accepts her honour from the Queen
But the big story isn’t about Cherie or those turning down baubles. It’s the carping from Paralympians about Olympic medal-winners receiving more (or better) honours than disabled athletes.
While Wiggins and sailor Ben Ainslie, both multiple gold medallists, are knighted, Paralympians who’ve also won several gold medals are overlooked. Is that fair
The Honours List was drawn up by the Sport Honours Committee. It includes former Paralympian Baroness (Tanni) Grey-Thompson, whose sporting prowess elevated her to the peerage. Lady T G-T says: ‘I don’t think you can compare the Olympics and Paralympics.
‘The honours system is the fairest it’s ever been in terms of the numbers of Paralympians winning awards . . . every gold-medal-winning Paralympian has been honoured, which wasn’t the case in previous years.’
But Paralympic dressage rider Lee Pearson, who won his tenth gold medal and received a CBE, was disappointed not to get a knighthood. ‘It’s the discrepancy that p***** me off,’ he said.
David Weir celebrates winning his third Gold Medal during London 2012
Paralympics, he was awarded a CBE in this years honours list
Wheelchair racer David Weir, whose six gold medals resulted in a CBE, said: ‘Kelly Holmes was made a Dame when she won two gold medals, but it seems as if we [Paralympians] have to get into double figures.’
The Honours criteria applied include sporting excellence; longevity of career; what athletes have given back to their sport, community or charity; and what honours they have already received.
Do Paralympians fall short in any of these categories And even if they did, who’d dare say they do
Why — to quote Tanni Grey- Thompson — shouldn’t we compare the Olympics and Paralympics
Not comparable: Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Paralympic athlete, says that 'the honours system is the fairest it's ever been in terms of the numbers of Paralympians winning awards' but that they cannot be compared to Olympians
The London Paralympics were the biggest and most enthusiastically supported ever. Some say the spurt in ticket sales began with those who couldn’t get tickets for the Olympics applying for the Paralympics so they could see the arenas built for them.
Be that as it may, they were a huge international success and those organising the Rio Paralympics in 2016 will be hard pushed to equal, far less exceed, London Paralympics 2012.
Para means alongside, not equal, even though disabled athletes are often the equal of able-bodied ones. More equal, perhaps, in that they have additional challenges to overcome.
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But the Olympics are — and will likely remain — the main event. So it’s natural that more attention is paid to them by the Honours bureaucracy.
That said, it isn’t clear to me why those who are honoured by their own communities — whether it be with Olympic medals or Oscars, for example — seek honours from the state. Hardly a month goes by without some showbiz award extravaganza. Yet actors, directors and producers vie to be honoured by the ‘British Empire’.
The BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award is more anticipated than the New Year’s Honours List. But sports folk yearn to be on the latter.
Of course, if we remove all who are feted in their own spheres from consideration, we’d be left with a very worthy, but deadly dull Honours List. So what is the answer
Accept that the concept of ‘fair’ is for children. Any such list is designed and directed by fallible human whim. Sometimes, reasons can never be given for not offering a bauble. Logic has nothing to do with it. Just get on with it.
A friend told me that, through no distinction of his own, he was invited to one of the Queen’s garden parties at Buckingham Palace, joining several thousand other, anonymous, dressed-to-the-nines folk hoping for a glimpse of HM and her corgis. The nearest he got was about 50 yards, but he was well pleased as he returned to his parked motor on the Mall.
‘Been to the Palace’ inquired a passing gent in friendly fashion.
‘Yes, indeed, the garden party,’ replied my friend.
‘Well done!’ commended the stranger.
Hayley Atwell played Russian-born agent Eva Delectorskaya in Restless, William Boyd's BBC1 blockbuster
Those showered with praise and prizes in their fields of endeavour should not crave honours from the state. They should remember the advice of Mark Twain: ‘It is better to deserve honours and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.’
Having watched Restless, William Boyd’s BBC1 blockbuster about wartime spies starring Hayley Atwell, I imagined crushing reviews. To my surprise — and the chatelaine of Chateau McKay’s delight — they fell just short of idolatry. Where I considered the two-parter clunky and unbelievable, the critics (and the chatelaine) saw it as pacy and absorbing.
They also marvelled at the performances of the cast, while I felt the only character not visibly ‘acting’ was a three-legged dog glimpsed briefly in the New Mexico scenes. At one point, Hayley — playing Russian-born agent Eva Delectorskaya — remarks after hearing the details of a tense interview she has to face: ‘No pressure then . . .’
‘No pressure’ in the 1940s No way!
Mind how they go at moonlight
We’re told that 23,000 police officers are ‘moonlighting’ in other jobs, an increase of 20 per cent in a single year.
Yet the police, generally, have never had better salaries and conditions than they now enjoy.
So why do they choose to moonlight as vicars, personal assistants, pallbearers, ski instructors and ice cream salesman — to name just some of the extra-curricular activities cited
Surely, it’s the money. The more we have, the more we want. It was an article of faith in my Scottish childhood that the more people were paid the less hard they worked: they sought other sources of income.
Thousands of Police moonlight at secondary jobs in addition to their policing duties, it has been revealed
I suppose we should get indignant about moonlighting bobbies, but my heart’s not in it.
My main fear about the police is that they’re too remote from ordinary lives: riding around in fancy cars, retiring at 50 on full pensions, being unsackable and difficult to punish for misdemeanors.
Having other jobs might help the more bone-headed of them empathise with those who don’t live in this enviable Nirvana.
Sir Alex is a big cheese
Sir Alex Ferguson did not harass the referee during Man United’s Boxing Day 4-3 win over Newcastle, according to a friend who knows the great man: ‘He merely had a civil discussion with the referee.’
It looked like a breach of the peace to me, but what do I know
Sir Alex is a law unto himself. I don’t think any other manager would have got away with shouting at ref Mike Dean. Nor do I think Dean would have failed to mention it in his report if it had been a manager other than Sir Alex.
Cleared: Sir Alex Ferguson will face no action after remonstrating to referee Mike Dean on Saturday
The Glaswegian bruiser reminds me of the frisky, four-times-wed 2nd Duke of Westminster (1879-1953), a one-time lover of Coco Chanel.
The Duke is said to have thrown a Stilton cheese onto a posh restaurant table in Chelsea occupied by a party of distinguished Americans.
When their outraged host complained, the rank- conscious maitre d’ informed him: ‘His Grace is allowed to throw cheese, Sir.’
It’s only Rocknroll but she likes it — for now
As a busy actress, Kate Winslet has had to promote herself by speaking about her personal life. Now some of the sentiments she expressed are coming back to haunt her.
When married to film director Jim Threapleton, she said: ‘My husband is one in a million.’ But he lasted less than three years.
She said of husband No 2, the stage and movie director Sam Mendes: ‘I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children who let me do what I love, and love me just the way I am.’ The couple parted a year later.
British actress Kate Winslet (L) and her then boyfriend, now husband Ned Rocknroll
Now she has married Sir Richard Branson’s nephew (and employee) Ned Abel-Smith, who changed his name to Ned Rocknroll, and she is said to be ‘very much in love’.
We know little of Ms Winslet, other than what we see on screen, but she comes across as a likeable, down-to-earth woman.
How long can she tolerate being known in private life by the whimsical appellation Mrs Rocknroll
David Cameron has said we can't succeed with a millstone of debt
After he came to power in 2010, David Cameron said 2011 would be ‘the year that Britain gets back on its feet’. In his message for 2013, the Prime Minister says: ‘We are on the right track’ — but ‘we can’t win in this world with a great millstone of debt round our necks.’
The great millstone around his neck isn’t debt, it’s fear. There is only one way of removing the ‘great millstone of debt’ around our necks.
It’s cutting public spending.
But Cameron fears the reaction of those with a vested interest in high public spending. The council leaders of Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield exploit this fear with a letter to The Observer warning that cuts will cause ‘crime and community tensions’. Which, of course, is a way of encouraging these things to happen.
Cameron needs to have a fight about public spending. He can’t defeat his opponents by tinkering rather than slashing. They’ll scream blue murder either way.