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« The Greenpeace ‘archaeologist’ | Main | A salvo of silliness »


It's New Year's Honours list time once again here in the UK and as always I peruse the official list with interest looking out for familiar names from the climate debate. As with last year's list there is little that will get readers excited, with only an OBE for Tim Palmer of Oxford in the list and Palmer is is at least a member of the sensible brigade.

One other name that caused me to raise an eyebrow was someone called Stephen Stamp, whose citation explains the reason for his OBE as follows:

Operations Team Leader, Environment Agency. For services to the Environment and Flood Risk Management. (Highbridge, Somerset)

Given the shambles that led up to the flooding of the Somerset Levels last year, I'm not entirely sure that I'm comfortable with someone involved in flood risk management in that part of the world getting a gong, but it's hard to say for certain.


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Reader Comments (21)

One wonders what one has to do to be awarded a stint in the Tower....

Dec 31, 2014 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

Baroness Worthington says it all.

If morons like that can be elevated to the House of Lords God help us.

Dec 31, 2014 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

They should rename it "The Annual Quango Awards" or the "Keeping Your Mouth Shut and Head Down Awards".

Dec 31, 2014 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterivor ward

Cant quite put my finger on it but I am no great fan of the gongmanship. Need to phone a friend. Now then, now then, Sir Jimmy, you there?

Dec 31, 2014 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

You could try Sir Cyril.

Dec 31, 2014 at 10:11 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

99% of the time gongs are extra gifts to people who are already over rewarded. They should be rewards for people who should get more recognition for what they do or for a lifetime of work. It certainly shouldn't be in return for donating to a political party or pursuing your chosen career (eg actors or civil servants).

Dec 31, 2014 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Also OBE for William MacKenzie CATTANACH
Head, PILOT Secretariat, Department of
Energy and Climate Change. For
services to Oil and Gas Infrastructure.

Matthew Shackleton CHINN
Managing Director, Energy, Siemens
plc. For services to the UK Renewable
Energy Industry.

Professor Paul EKINS
Director and Professor of Resources
and Environment Policy, Institute for
Sustainable Resources, UCL. For
services to Environmental Policy.

probably loads more...

Dec 31, 2014 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterQ

Perhaps Mr Stamp is soon retiring. We know that most senior civil servants receive a gong at some time, late in their career. Same with the military.

Dec 31, 2014 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Prof Stephen Hawking has a CBE. It's amazing what he has achieved considering his disastrous personal circumstances and it would be brilliant for the man to receive a knighthood. When you think of carpet and car salesmen that have knighthoods, but not Hawking, you begin to wonder if we have our priorities in the right place.

Dec 31, 2014 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Water down...demean. Must be more inclusive though...not merit then?

Noticed it with ranks in the military....a Sergeant was it largely. By the time I got there (10 yrs) I was none too polite to a Squadron Leader or three.

As with Lord/Lady/Sir....ignore.

There are some exceptions of course...largely not heard of.

Dec 31, 2014 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

Where I worked, in my professional life, the successful project managers were rarely rewarded for their successes; it was often the case that when a project failed the PM who rescued it - having been responsible for the original failure - was rewarded for the 'extra effort' put in... Such is life. [sigh]

Dec 31, 2014 at 10:57 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

@ Q - at 10:40 AM

"Also OBE for William MacKenzie CATTANACH, Head, PILOT Secretariat, Department of Energy and Climate Change. For
services to Oil and Gas Infrastructure."

Was it his decision that in the UK, gas is to be redundant by 2050?

Dec 31, 2014 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Harry Passfield - the project life-cycle:

Search for the guilty
Punish the innocent
Reward the uninvolved

Dec 31, 2014 at 12:04 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

"There's all that bowing and scraping and mummery at the palace. It's the whole climate of deference to the monarch and everything else it represents. They just seem to perpetuate the image of Britain as too much pomp and not enough circumstance. It's a huge pantomime where tinsel takes the place of substance.
It goes with the whole system of hereditary privilege and rank, which should be swept away. It uses snobbery and social self-consciousness to guarantee the loyalty of large numbers of citizens who should feel their loyalty is to fellow citizens and the nation as a whole. We are a deeply class-divided society."

J G Ballard

The writer JG Ballard turned down a CBE for services to literature in this year's birthday honours

My favourite writer ever since I read Vermillion Sands when it first came out.

Dec 31, 2014 at 12:21 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

You'll all be aware, I'm sure, that OBE stands for 'Other Buggers' Efforts'....

Dec 31, 2014 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Late news: Knighthood for

Obsekweus Seiko-Fant
For services to the Establishment
Hydin-under-Stone, Shrops

Dec 31, 2014 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

...I'm not entirely sure that I'm comfortable with someone involved in flood risk management in that part of the world getting a gong...

If you have read your 'Yes, Minister' thoroughly, you will know that gongs are often awarded to SHUT PEOPLE UP.

Which suggests that it would be interesting to know what Mr Stamp knows. And that it is unlikely that Mr Stamp will tell anyone...

Dec 31, 2014 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

Just wanted to say happy new year, Bishop! You've been a brick, a star, a prop I've often leant on when I've felt I was teetering on screeming my head off!! Rationality a hard fought for requirement of civilization and, as we see, so easily lost. (I remember your site even when it was 'purely' political! - we're sympatica!)

The other 'gongs' go to Judith Curry, for carrying on her honest sanity in a world quite insane, Ben
Pile, for thinking, if nothing else, A Watts for being what he is and, politically speaking, to Graham Stringer, for opposing cant by being a real Labour man and, of course, Owen Patterson, for being one of the few decent politicians that, in our recent history, have held office.

Congrats to them all and, repeat, to you!

Dec 31, 2014 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

And, of course, Steve Mc, our unacknowledged 'king', in boxing terms, always a 'prize fighter', always back in the ring....

Dec 31, 2014 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterLewis Deane

1st rule of project management. Punish the innocent promote the guilty
For younger viewrs I refer you to the biggest disaster of the 20th century Louis Mountbatten - after Stalin and Hitler prbably resonsible for the most deaths. Ask any Indian or Pakistani.

Dec 31, 2014 at 8:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterspen

1st rule of project management. Punish the innocent promote the guilty
Oh, yeah. I spent two years pulling an IT project out of the thousand foot deep doo-do that it was in, and got nothing (I wasn't punished, though, except in the sense of having to do this very difficult and stressful job).

The architect of this multi-million dollar screwup got promoted, not least because people up the line thought that he was "an innovator" and "a visionary."

Jan 2, 2015 at 1:36 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

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