The New Year's Honours List is no fun anymore. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly approve of the inclusion of normal people in the list, but I do feel it is being devalued by the celebrities who are nowadays awarded gongs. I don't need to name names because it is obvious to everyone. If honours are awarded for excellence in their fields, why are politicians more or less excluded nowadays?
Can it really be that England World Cup losing manager Brian Ashton is more deserving of an MBE than, say, Frank Field for his work in the area of welfare reform? Isn't IDS's work on social justice just as important as sitting in a TV studio asking questions as Sir Michael Parkinson does - or, more accurately, did?
Honours should be awarded for excellence, above and beyond the call of duty. They should never be awarded for purely 'doing your job'. That happens far too often in the case of civil servants. As Dizzy points out today, it is simply ludicrous to award Tom Kelly (Blair's official spokesman) the Order of the Bath or to give anyone from the Home Office an award. It devalues the honours awarded to really deserving people.