For any reader who is unaware, here in good old Blighty we still have a system for awarding people with honours twice a year: at the New Year and on the Queen's birthday. Her official birthday, that is.
[Side note: Her Majesty has two birthdays each year: her true birthday (21st April) and her official birthday, which is somewhen in June. I have no idea how this double-birthday wheeze started - or when - but I can tell you that the official birthday is marked by a parade known as Trooping the Colour.]
According to the Government's web site,
The honours system recognises people who have:
- made achievements in public life
- committed themselves to serving and helping Britain
Most honours involve membership in one of the five classes of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. OK, so there is no British Empire any longer, but the Order still exists! The majority of awards are in the lowest class - the MBE - or Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Then comes the OBE - Officer of the Order, followed by CBE - Commander, and then the top two classes - Knight Commander (KBE) and Knight Grand Cross (GBE). Holders of the top two awards are called Sir Thingummy, or Dame Thingummy if the holder is a lady.
And this is where I climb onto my soapbox.
Why is it that entertainers and sportsmen and women receive the higher awards - most often the OBE but sometimes a higher class - usually (but not always or exclusively) for being good at what they do while people who have given many, many hours of voluntary service to charities and the like receive only the MBE?
But hey ho, that's life. It isn't going to affect me anyway!