Stars of the arts honoured – but no awards for politicians

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Patrick Stewart, Status Quo and Jenson Button in New Year Honours list

Patrick Stewart, the actor who has played parts as varied as Macbeth, Star Trek's Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men movies, is joined today by Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi, who have been rocking all over the world for more than 40 years, and the Formula One champion, Jenson Button, in the New Year Honours List.

There are also knighthoods for Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, the rugby legend Ian McGeechan, and Erich Reich, who was rescued from Nazi Germany 70 years ago when he was a child and is now chairman of Kindertransport.

But Gordon Brown has trodden carefully in drawing up what could be the last honours list of his premiership. Of 979 names on today's list, there are no national politicians, and only one banker – from a bank that did not go running to the Treasury to be bailed out.

Downing Street took one notable risk in agreeing that Cressida Dick, assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard, should be among those awarded the Queen's Police Medal.

Ms Dick is the most senior serving policewoman in the country, but is better known as the officer who supervised the botched operation that led to the shooting dead of Jean Charles de Menezes. An Old Bailey jury rejected the police's account of the shooting, but cleared Ms Dick of personal culpability. A spokesman for the Menezes family said: "Rewarding Ms Dick after her role in the biggest policing scandal of the decade displays woeful disregard for both the Menezes family and broader public opinion."

Until two years ago, it was common to see a clutch of bankers and professional investors in every honours list – such as Fred Goodwin, former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, who was knighted in 2004 for "services to banking". This time, the only banker honoured is Dyfrig John, chief executive of HSBC, who was made a CBE for "services to the financial services industry".

No national politician has been honoured since the Tory MP Peter Viggers was knighted in the 2008 birthday honours for services to Parliament. A year later, he announced his retirement when it emerged he had claimed £1,645 on expenses for a "duck island".

Mr Brown's list contained few high-profile celebrities. Though Patrick Stewart is now Sir Patrick, and Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi, founders of the Status Quo rock band, can put the initials OBE after their names, forecasts that Simon Cowell or Bruce Forsyth would be included turned out to be false.

Jenson Button and Beth Tweddle, the gymnast, have been made MBEs. Ross Brawn, the Brawn GP team owner who made Button's success possible, has received an OBE.

Lauren Child, the best-selling author of the Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean children's books, is made an MBE for her services to literature, as both writer and illustrator. She is joined by Dr Claire Bertschinger, who has played a central role in healthcare in the Third World, and another 439 women on the list, making up 45 per cent of the total – the highest proportion yet. Six per cent of those honoured this year are from ethnic minorities. They include Mota Singh QC, Britain's first Asian judge, who has been knighted, and Parmajit Bassi, chairman of the private investment company Bond Wolfe, who has been made a CBE for services to business and to the community in the West Midlands.

Almost three-quarters of the awards were given to "local heroes" nominated by members of the public. They include Norman Barrett, ringmaster with Zippos Circus, made an MBE in recognition of his 60-year career in the circus. He is still touring. Alan Cassidy, a stunt pilot from Maidenhead, and Ian Millar, a sheep farmer from Perthshire, were also made MBEs.

Third World heroine: Dr Claire Bertschinger

Swiss-born Dr Claire Bertschinger first came to prominence in Britain during the Ethiopian famine of 1984, when she appeared in the BBC news report compiled by Michael Buerk that inspired Bob Geldof to launch the Band Aid appeal.

At the time she was working as a nurse for the International Red Cross, deciding among other things which handful of the thousands of children who came to the charity's two food stations each day would be fed. Before that she had worked in countries from Lebanon to Panama and Papua New Guinea, and afterwards she went on to treat the sick in Uganda, Sudan and Sierra Leone.

She now lectures at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and has written about her experiences in war zones, donating much of the money from her book to charity.

She won the Florence Nightingale medal in 1991, and in 2007 received the Human Rights in Nursing Award from the International Centre for Human Rights and Nursing Ethics.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
people
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Comms / Digital Marketing Specialist

Not Specified: Recruitment Genius: An exciting and rewarding role exists for a...

Search Engine Optimisation/ SEO Executive

£25000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Excellent opportun...

Programme Planner

£30000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

SCO Supervisor Electrical

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client based in the Midlands is looki...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor