I'm not usually fussed either way about New Year's honours lists. I can agree it has become more meritorious in recent years, but it still drips with a certain sense of hierarchy and class that I don't find appealing. It is not important to this piece, but I was much amused that the main local media managed to disagree with each other in early reports on the number of locals recognised this year, citing either 2, 3, or (correctly) 4.
Personally I was delighted to see Ed Le Quesne receive an MBE. I have known him 40 years, and worked with him on a number of projects relating to Oxfam and the One World Group. His award had little to do with his working life as a teacher, but much more his genuine conscience led community activity both locally and in Kenya. Just the sort of thing that brings some merit to the whole system.
The other awards that I noted were those to Helene Donnolly and Julie Bailey who led a campaign to expose serious care failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS. Helene as a nurse at the affected trust was key as a whistleblower. Like many whisleblowers she was threatened by colleagues and felt intimidated. See http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/clinical-zones/accident-and-emergency/whistleblowing-mid-staffs-nurse-too-scared-to-walk-to-car-after-shift/5036466.article In former times she would far more likely have ended up facing the sort of treatment Simon Bellwood and Stuart Syvret received locally in making serious failings of the care system public, even though their claims were substantiated in investigations and subsequent court actions. Perhaps Helenes's award will bring it home to local notables that the times and attitudes are a changing.
Happy New Year