Wednesday, 11 September 2013
Gwobrau Dewi Sant - St David Awards
Few things are guaranteed to get some of us more worked up than the ludicrous British honours system with its arcane and ridiculous titles and hierarchy of gongs and baubles. Every year hundreds of these things are handed out to political cronies, financiers, civil servants, sports personalities, soap actors and the rest. Buried in this deluge of Establishment froth are the names of people who really do deserve recognition, but as a rule the primary school teachers, village postmistresses and others who have spent a lifetime of service to the community will pick up only the most junior honours.
Then there are those who deserve recognition, but will never get it because they have been a thorn in the side of the powers-that-be or are just not welcome in the club. Quite a few of those would in any case join the growing list of refuseniks who have told Downing Street and the palace flunkies to get lost.
It is pleasing to know, for example, that the actor Alastair Sim turned down a knighthood, and that more recently Jim Broadbent, one of the best of the current crop of British character actors, turned down an OBE.
In Wales the best-loved poet of recent times, Dic Jones, was never honoured, and the response of Gerallt Lloyd Owen, for Cneifiwr's money the greatest living poet, to any letter from the Cabinet Office is easy to imagine.
For those who do accept and find themselves rubbing shoulders with the likes of "Sir" Fred Goodwin, Lord Jeffrey Archer and swarms of party hacks and donors, career civil servants and other Establishment insiders who pick up a gong for just being there, these are dubious honours indeed.
For these reasons we should all welcome the launch yesterday by First Minister Carwyn Jones of the St David Awards, or Gwobrau Dewi Sant. Nominations for the different categories, which include bravery, citizenship, culture and sport, are open to the public, and the new awards could develop into a genuine and much more democratic honours system than the discredited British version.
Rather pointedly, the Welsh Government's official website for the awards notes right at the beginning of its explanation that,
The awards will be given to people who are not simply doing their jobs, but rather those who do make a real difference to the quality of life in Wales.
For those settling down to watch today's webcast of the September meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council where the top brass regularly nominate each other for MBEs, OBEs and CBEs, this is welcome news indeed.
Posted by Cneifiwr at 08:57