We have, in Great Britain, a well-established ‘Honours’ system. The awards, honours and titles are varied, and according to those who regulate the system, are granted for ‘services to charities’ or ‘the community’, or to the various instutions for which they have either worked or volunteered. It is a system which has largely been devalued in the eyes of many becasue of the large proportion of so-called ‘Civil Servants’ who seem to be given honours, knighthoods or whatever simply because they were serving civil servants, and they ‘deserved’ the honour. The ranks of politicians who have been awarded ‘honours’ must by now be longer than the Criminal code. Her Majesty must be heartily fed-up with greeting non-entities who have survived through ‘Buggins turn’ and having to give a medal and a membership of one of her chivalrous orders to a time-serving nincompoop!
But, every so often, a person appears, blinking a little in the limelight which he never ever sought, who has done something which is above bravery, far above his job-description, far above any expectations of civilised behaviour. When this happens, when such a person is known; when his deeds and actions, or even more rarely his lack of action are revealed, surely this man or woman should be honoured above many? Can we stand by and just say, ‘Good show’ or ‘well done’, or any of the other platitudes which pass for praise when such bravery is brought forth.
I am therefore preparing to ask all the authorities who are usually engaged in the compilation of the ‘New Year honours’ and the ‘Birthday Honours’ lists to add a singular new name to the list of MBEs and OBEs, of Dames and Knights, of even Life Peerages, although the last has been debased from the original idea, by the institution of a new order of chivalry, only awarded as the personal gift of the Monarch, upon acclamation by that Nation, for services to the Sovereign within the Nations of the United Kingdom. It shall be named the Meritorious Service Medal, and the first recipient should be a journalist. His name is Joe Casey, he was the under-cover reporter who penetrated the web of deceit and torture hidden under the veneer of a ‘Care Home’ named Winterbourne View, and he deserves a nation’s thanks for not doing anything to interrupt his investigation, for staying silent despite every nerve telling him to leap up and defend the defenceless; for allowing we, the viewers of that harrowing hour-long film to see the true meaning of the phrase, ‘Man’s inhumanity to man’ .