The Queen’s Honour List

Topping the Queen’s honour list today was Bruce Forsyth who will receive a knighthood from her majesty. I can only assume it was for his resilience in refusing to retire from our television screens in a career spanning roughly 70 years. I wonder if his jokes were ever funny? His most recent activity is his job hosting the hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, if that had anything to do with Queenie’s decision then co-host Tess Daly should also receive some recognition too, for the ability to laugh at the old man, albeit through gritted teeth. “It’s nice to see you… to see you nice”; he calls it a catchphrase, I call it a lack of originality, and an inability to produce new material. It’s one dimensional to say the least; imagine if hit comedian Michael McIntyre danced around the stage camply at every gig. Oh wait…

Andrew Strauss and Allistair Cook were also awarded with an MBE and a OBE respectively, for their part in the victorious Ashes campaign down under. But let’s be honest who needs such awards when you have a small urn filled with old, burnt wood. Thanks… but no thanks your majesty. Ricky Ponting should get one for captaining the Australia side so terribly, and picking Ben Hilfenhaus and Xavier Doherty when he was under pressure to win.

Among the non-famous receivers are,‘Beverley De-Gale, who set up a charity to attract bone marrow donors from ethnic minorities after her son developed leukaemia. She is appointed an OBE…[and]Ex-soldier David Stuttard, 65, set up an organisation that has improved water sanitation in parts of Ghana and given 50,000 people access to clean water. He becomes an MBE.’ And a dinner lady, who has been recognized for her services  to lunch-time supervision after a 30 year career at the same school. Wow. I can’t quite comprehend how that is MBE worthy; a 5 days a week, 1 hour a day job. In a 40 week school year she has worked a grand total of 200 hours, and in her 30 year career, 6000 hours. If you compare it to a 5 days a week, 7 hours a day job with say, 5 weeks holiday a year, which takes up 1645 hours a year, and over a 30 year period,  49,350 hours. She has had a sweet deal. ‘I’ve worked more times than you’ve had hot dinners’… actually, probably not.

Robert Mugabe received a knighthood in 1994, but don’t worry, Gaddafi’s name is not featured on 2011’s list. Although the current list doesn’t show any signs of decorating any future maniacal dictators (or present for that matter) you simply don’t know. There’s still life in Sir Bruce yet.

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Bahrain, Too Soon…

This seasons Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain was postponed earlier this year due to the uprisings against King  Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Bahrain’s uprising was particularly violent with troops firing quite relentlessly on the demonstrators, who are rising up against the autocratic and monarchical system within the country. With a wave of rebellion spreading across the Middle East, Bahrain too sought out some form of democratization through political and constitutional concession. In February, demonstrators gathered at the Pearl Roundabout, calling for the end of the monarchy. The response from King Hamad however, was to use the royal army to massacre the protesters.

King Hamad has yet to concede power and the issues are unresolved. Problems are still quite apparent in Bahrain and rioting still prevalent, yet Bernie Ecclestone, President of Formula One Management, has today declared that the Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead in October. Bernie must be hoping his crystal ball is on top form as belligerence between the army and the demonstrators shows little sign of relenting. With the Middle East and parts of North Africa seeming rather volatile at present, it seems a strange decision to take the risk in holding a Grand Prix in a state that has openly slaughtered innocents. However the FIA and the Formula One teams, especially Ferrari, face losing revenue to the sum of millions if they were to cancel. Ecclestone has strongly rejected claims that this rescheduling is about money.

With the riotous situation in Bahrain it seems rather a risky venture for Formula One. Touring sport has faced problems before within troubled nations. Most notably, England’s cricket team have refused to play in Zimbabwe due to a fear for the teams safety in the failed state under the Mugabe regime. Unless the trouble in Bahrain is resolved before October, then the Grand Prix could potentially put the drivers, mechanics,  journalists, and fans at risk. It will be interesting to see how the teams respond to this news and whether they go ahead with the race.

Potentially, the Grand Prix could create a unifying event to soothe tensions in the nation. But the merciless approach of King Hamad provide ample enough reason to not go ahead with the race. However, this move by the FIA could also potentially be viewed as one that endorses the actions of Bahrain’s monarchy. Bahrain in it’s current state, is not suitable to host a Grand Prix. It must be hoped that the FIA consider the severity of the situation, re-assess closer to October and are not just pressured into the decision to reschedule out of a fear of losing money.

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