The time has come, but who will be the inaugural winner of the Contrarian Prize?

In a world where those who never dare to question the status quo seem to prosper most, the Contrarian Prize recognises this nation's heroes of conscience

Share
Related Topics

There is a “trust deficit” in our country. As if financial mismanagement, the parliamentary expenses scandal, the Jimmy Savile affair, the hacking of phones on an industrial scale and lack of confidence in the police following the Hillsborough cover-up were not enough, we have now witnessed the scandalous neglect of NHS patients in Mid-Staffordshire. To add insult to injury, the fact that we cannot even have confidence over what is contained in our frozen lasagne really takes the “beef”. The British public are fed-up. 

It is those that never dare to question the status quo who seem to prosper. Where are our whistleblowers, our leaders of principle, our campaigners for freedom of information and human rights? Where do we find our heroes of conscience who demonstrate independence, courage and sacrifice? These people go against the grain and put their head above the parapet. They cannot be silenced or bought-off. They refuse to have an integrity by-pass. It is such individuals that the Contrarian Prize seeks to recognise

The Prize, which was launched in September 2012, invited nominations from the public. The response has been very positive. Having received scores of submissions, the judging panel has shortlisted five candidates: Giles Fraser, Heather Brooke, Peter Tatchell, Michael Woodford and Nigel Farage. None went to Oxbridge, none is a member of the Westminster parliament, and two were born outside the UK.

Giles Fraser

This former Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral resigned in protest over the potential forcible removal of the “Occupy London” protestors outside St Paul’s Cathedral in 2011.  He stated that he could not face the prospect of, "Dale Farm on the steps of St Paul's".  As a result of his stance he felt he had no choice but to resign and is now a parish priest at St Mary's, Newington in Elephant and Castle.  Had he not made a sacrifice on principle he might be well be on the path to becoming a bishop.

Heather Brooke

This freedom of information campaigner, academic and journalist spent five years fighting for MPs to come clean about their expenses under the Freedom of Information Act.  She took her case to the information tribunal to appeal for disclosure in the face of opposition from the Commons authorities.  She was then forced to go to the High Court to defend her case and won.  The judge stated that the Commons expenses system had, “a shortfall both in terms of transparency and accountability”.  Was it not for her persistence, the British public might still be in the dark about expenses abuse that had become endemic

Peter Tatchell

Tatchell is a human-rights campaigner who has spearheaded the fight for equal rights, particularly for gay people, for decades. He showed physical courage when he sought to perform a citizen’s arrest on President Mugabe in 1999 and then again in 2001 for alleged human rights abuses against gay people and was beaten by his bodyguards.  He still suffers from head-injuries as a result.  He opposed the Iraq war and resigned from the Labour Party in 2000, having previously stood as a parliamentary candidate, over its treatment of Ken Livingstone. 

Michael Woodford

This CEO turned whistleblower exposed a $1.7 billion fraud at the heart of Olympus, the world-renowned electronics giant. He acted from the top of an organisation for which he had worked for 30 years, despite intimidation and coercion from the very people that promoted him.  He was fired, gave up a seven-figure salary. and spent almost £1 million of his own money defending himself.  He put his own life and that of his family in danger because he spoke out.  Woodford has said that he was driven by principle and the desire to expose what happened in an effort to “make us all safer”. 

Nigel Farage

As Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) he has been at the forefront of making the debate of Britain’s relationship with Europe, a mainstream political issue. Having left the Conservative Party in 1992 to found UKIP, he has tirelessly explained how much it would benefit the British people if the UK left the European Union and governed itself fully.  Indefatigable and  never afraid to advocate his own ideas, he has been central to the increasing popularity of his party which is now polling more than the Liberal Democrats. 

Whether one agrees with the views of these individuals or not, there is no doubt that they have taken a stand for what they believe. The winner of the Contrarian Prize 2013 will be announced at the inaugural prize-giving ceremony in London on Monday 18 March.

The writer is a Chartered Accountant and former Conservative parliamentary candidate. 

www.contrarianprize.com

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mary Christmas: the Bethlehem story is Mary's moment, when a poor peasant girl gives birth to the Son of God in a stable  

The appeal of the Virgin Mary: A supernatural hope at a time of scepticism

Peter Stanford
 

Letters: Why Cameron is wrong about EU child benefits

Independent Voices
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there