Should I accept a new year honour ? | AccountingWEB

Should I accept a new year honour ?

Before you jump to congratulate me , I would like to make it clear for the avoidance of doubt that this question is (to the best of my knowledge) hypothetical.

I have been mulling over the question on new year honours distribution for many years and as the 1st January looms I decided to share my concerns.

Sports stars : Usually paid eye watering sums and get honoured for it. For those who do not get paid they receive honour and fame anyway. Not on

Civil servants : Stay in place for donkey's years and get a good pension. Hmmm . Although I suppose if they have foregone the more lucrative private sector then perhaps. Can't make my mind up on this one.

Captains of industry : Trousered shedloads of pay and perks and oodles of respect and fame . Not on


So you can see where I am heading. To me the system is devalued and they are given out like confetti  when the above receive them. We need to radically pare them back and create a new type of honour for ordinary folk or those who volunteer, help etc in their communities for nothign mroe than the sense of moral or social duty , without reward.

Perhaps to be called "The Citizens Honour" ,  "Citizenship Recognition Medal" or something similar. That would set them aside from the above categories and give them a real sense of worth that others can instantly see and perhaps inspire more people to do the same.

Back to waiting by the letterbox....

ShirleyM's picture


ShirleyM | | Permalink

I have that same view about entertainers.

Awards and medals should be reserved for selfless acts by ordinary people, given freely without thought of reward other than the pleasure of giving and/or helping.

Medals for being a public figure or famous, or being a yes-man or sponsor to some politician is a joke and just part of the 'Elite Boys/Girls Club'.

Flying Scotsman's picture

Elite Club

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

A very good description indeed .

The shame about it is that the people who really deserve it lose faith in the system and the few ordinary folk who are fairly recognised are subject to a loss of "honour" because their gong is devalued

Debased currency ...    1 thanks

JC | | Permalink

Used to bribe people by politicians

Anyway peerages seem to be an income for life with £300 attendance allowance for turning up at the House of Lords - bit like Monopoly, pass GO collect £300 !

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Depends ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... Scotland may be a independant republic soon and as a Scot you won't qualify!


Rudolf | | Permalink

I can understand why someone might be honoured for developing a cure for cancer.  I can understand why those who demonstrate extreme bravery, or those who work in their local community or for charities might be honoured as recognition of their achievements.

I cannot understand why honours are given to overpaid prima-donnas who kick a bag of wind around a football pitch, or civil servants who simply do what they are paid to do (often badly).

If we are to “honour” people simply for doing what they are paid to do then I must be in line for at least a knighthood, and so must millions of others who simply do their jobs.  


Old Greying Accountant's picture

Some of the ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... civil service honours come with the job and are given to the retiring head of department as representative of all members of the department, police force, fire service, etc. rather than specifically for their own work

But in the past a gong was ...

JC | | Permalink

@Old Greying Acc...

to compensate for reduced salary etc.

Forego the honour ....

JC | | Permalink

and climb aboard the EU gravy train

£200K salaries with net pay being greater than gross pay because of staggering perks and in some cases 93 days holiday a year

Has to be the way to go

Jim had it sorted

Rudolf | | Permalink
Flying Scotsman's picture

Scots honours

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

I have little doubt that we will see "Order of the Thistle" introduced.....

Flying Scotsman's picture

Gong for the job

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

Exactly - so they get something as a matter of course that others receive for a life of selfless devotion gratis. That is what makes peopel cynical. Give them an honour but not the same ones as joe public 

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Personally ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... I would decline, call me a cynic, but I see it as guilt assuagement - giving an award to the selfless givers makes us feel better for the fact we do nothing ourselves and I don't buy in to it.

If everyone gave a couple of hours a week, or a few pounds a week or month, then we wouldn't need a few to devote all their time and money always!

I would decline too

chatman | | Permalink

I am with OGA on this; if I had ever done any good and I were offered an special antiquated title for it, I would not want to give the undeserving party donors and automatic recipients the prestige of my company.

In addition to dignifying a corrupt system, the titles given are ridiculous: "knight", "commander" etc. What has a fat, privately educated deskbound sponger have to in common with the heroic warrior we are taught to associate with knighthood?

On the other hand, to have a horse, armour and weapons you would probably have to be born extremely wealthy, so maybe it is quite fitting after all.

Nearly but not necessarily ...    1 thanks

JC | | Permalink


'.. On the other hand, to have a horse, armour and weapons you would probably have to be born extremely wealthy ..'

OR - Have been politician etc.

At least with those born wealthy one can work out where the money came from!

On the other hand, never ceases to amaze that a great many people become politicians etc. with few assets and 20 years later they have wealth far in excess of the means available via a 'normal' salary

Witness Tony Blair (why not impeached/held to account over Kelly) or Kinnock (whose entire family seem to be on the EU gravy train)

Flying Scotsman's picture

Gravy train

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

People like to mix with those in power - reflected glory . This means that those "powerful"people find the money comes towards them either because of perceived power in the eyes of their "sponsor" or because the "sponsor" is somebody whose low self esteem craves the right connections and greases the wheels.

For some reason when it comes to EU gravy train and largesse to its own this is one of the greatest frauds of all time yet we are not clamouring to leave . I still cannot understand why we have not reverted to a trade relationship and nothing more. If I was David Cameron I would make this a central plank of my election manifesto and romp home with a comfortable majority. A calculated risk , definitely, but surely the winner is the one who reads the mood best.

As to the likes of  the slimy smiling TB , something in  me says that if you can command squillions for a dinner speech so be it but somethign else says that the fees should be capped and any excess that guests wish to pay has to go to charity.


People certainly shouldn't seek or accept gongs ....

Trevor Scott | | Permalink

.... for collaborating with, or working for, wretched government agencies like HMRC. There is no way to work with such agencies and there won't be until they become accountable to uncorrupted politicians, therein allowing accountability. 


Politicians and Corruption    1 thanks

chatman | | Permalink

JC wrote:
OR - Have been politician etc.

At least with those born wealthy one can work out where the money came from!

On the other hand, never ceases to amaze that a great many people become politicians etc. with few assets and 20 years later they have wealth far in excess of the means available via a 'normal' salary

Witness Tony Blair (why not impeached/held to account over Kelly) or Kinnock (whose entire family seem to be on the EU gravy train)

I agree. Mark Thomas has suggested that , in the same way that students get loans to fund a period of time which will enhance their future earnings potential, MPs should get loans instead of salaries, as their time is Parliament these days seems to massively enhance their future earnings potential.

To your list, we could also add those rewarded with lucrative jobs at public expense for running their masters' election campaigns despite being sacked by the electorate (Chris Patten) or forced to resign several times in shame (Peter Mandelson).

Gongs etc

Opporchancity | | Permalink

As far as I can see, they are generally given by the ungrateful to the undeserving.

Should be for the real heroes only.

As an aside, the mere fact that someone wants to be a politician should automatically ban them from becoming one.  

carnmores's picture


carnmores | | Permalink

i thought the order of the Thistle was in tickling order anyway , what about the order of st patrick , bet you didnt know it existed , it doesnt reallty is that Irish enough

Flying Scotsman's picture

New honour    1 thanks

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

I think that many policitians and business bigwigs should be getting "Order of the Boot"


Olive-Gardiner | | Permalink

Please don't dismiss this system - it is very easy to be cynical. I  got an MBE in 2009 and am soooooo proud of it! Just one of those "ordinary people" who go the extra mile for reasons far away from money, fame or honours.

Flying Scotsman's picture

Your MBE

Flying Scotsman | | Permalink

You have every reason to be proud because you know you have earned it as an ordinary citizen.Best of luck and congratulations.

but as you can see there is so much cynicism you have had to stepin to make your post -

isn't that sad for the system and people like you ?

Honours are a good thing but the point of this blog has been vindicated by you having to contribute





Old Greying Accountant's picture

At least you ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... got an MBE (My Bleedin' Efforts) as opposed to the ones that come with a job (Other Buggers Efforts)!

I still say it is sad those who do the right and good thing are in such a minority it has to be marked in this way.

I would say, shooting Gordon Brown may have made you a Dame though - struggling to see what other services you could do for the accountancy profession!

Don't want to belittle what you do/did, but I don't really do the pride thing - to misquote Douglas Adams "I'm just this guy!" or more aptly as my alter ego might say "someone's gotta be that guy" (76 days and counting, just hope the wife appreciates it!)

I worked with a policeman a    1 thanks

grinandbearit | | Permalink

I worked with a policeman a couple of years to save two girls who were trapped in rubble following a gas explosion. It was misreported on TV and in the papers, (never believe what you read or see on TV after because he who shouts loudest gets reported). The gas fire was fierce and unstoppable. . We got them out, the last with less than a minute to spare before death. When the police told me they were putting me up for  a national award I was horrified. It was a traumatic experience which I will never be able to forget, the screams or the sight,  I never want to see a person with 70% burns screaming again. But most of all I just wanted to be left alone. I did what I had to do.   I knew they would die if I didn't help. It wasn't bravery , I didn't do it to help the police so why would I want to be told what a very brave boy I was in front of people I didn't know by people who weren't there who think they are better than me? I certainly didn't want my picture on TV or in the newspapers. what mattered was that everybody got off alive- if some people want awards to help them get over it thats fine by me- but basically  you are being used to encourage others to do the same when their turn comes. The only thing in it for you is a piece of paper or a bit of tin -  vanity and flattery - unless you intend to bore people for the rest of your life with stories of how brave you are- I still do irony!!


Good post ....

JC | | Permalink

@grinandbearit - Agree

Many of those who committed immense acts of bravery in the First/Second World Wars continued the rest of their lives without ever mentioning the incident(s) again even to their children

Always remember an excellent program produced by Jeremy Clarkson about his father in law

'.. When he died in 1974 his family were astounded to find a Victoria Cross among his belongings – apparently he hadn’t thought to mention it ..'

Glad you liked it. My own    1 thanks

grinandbearit | | Permalink

Glad you liked it. My own experience may enlighten: When I ran onto the rubble I knew it would explode or flame soon. If it blew all victims we could see and not see would die. Anyone we didnt find in  the rubble before the fire would die.  The last girl we got out was so badly trapped there was no certainty we could get her no matter what we did. It was difficult and dangerous( I got hit on the head and cut on all arms and legs) but I believe I was meant to be there and she was allowed to live. It was impossible to speak, mind racing through possibilities, Afterwards  the shock cuts in and you just want to crawl away despite being told to go to hospital. The following day euphoria,every body got off alive, but you had to leave one bloke who had been  crippled for life, and the first girl after getting her out because the second girl would have died.  Next day euphoria, everyone got off alive. Then you carry  on doing tax returns, because every time you don't fill your brain with something the memories flood in and you start crying. The depression never leaves (I dont drink but I was tempted). You want to talk about it but you cant because you start crying. So you dont say anything - you  do anything to try to forget it ever happened. So next time you meet a bloke, particularly a soldier, drinking too much- give him a break. I hope you never fully empathise with this post, by having to go through something like this. It changes your perception of everything.

Sorry original question : should you accept a new years honour - sure why not?   Jimmy Saville did and if it was good enough for him why not? Put another way, you want our approval to accept bit of tin or paper you can go round boasting to lesser mortals about. Sorry , you need to ask someone who cares. 

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Marketing consultant at a leading company formation agency ,accountancy practice sales broker, practice growth consultant and SME business consultant , specialising in debt management , marketing , business development and troubleshooting.

As well as being in practice I am also an online retailer ( , )  and have several charity trusteeships , giving me an all round view of the world's problems

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