Reward and reward

July 16, 2004 ,

AS an MP you get the privilege of seeing the work of many remarkable people who contribute to the life of the community.

It could be the bloke who runs the local under 11s football team for decades, or the lady who has taken generations of Brownies.
They are the army of volunteers who put themselves out on our behalf for no material reward.

In that army there are some who are extra special in their dedication.
These are the people for whom the country’s Honours system should mainly exist.

From time to time their work is noticed.
Their neighbours, friends, councillor or MP write in to recommend them for an Honour, and a lucky few get an invitation to Buckingham Palace to get their MBE.

On the House of Commons Public Administration Committee, we want to retain this part of the Honours system, and honours for outstanding work in a chosen field.
We also want to update the titles of the honours so that it is an award for excellence, rather than for service to a defunct Empire.

The days when David Lloyd George sold honours for cash are long gone, but our report found that the system is still class ridden, with titles that can cause offence.

Surely the time has come to scrap the knighthoods and damehoods. Many recipients of these titles are fine people, but some are not.

The former Tory Westminster Council Leader Shirley Porter, who has finally agreed to pay some of the millions she owes for the ‘Homes for Votes’ scandal is, as the song says “nothing like a dame.”

Honours that confer aristocratic titles, often for simply time-serving in a job, should go.
But the community heroes who serve for no reward should continue to be honoured.

Goodness knows we need more of them.