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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Move from Audit to Advisory

£45000 per annum + benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Move from Audit to Advisor...

Management Consultancy - Operational Research Analysts

£35000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: You must ...

Secondary Teaching Assistant

£60 - £70 per day: AER Teachers: THE SCHOOL: This outstanding Secondary School...

Application Support Analyst (MS SQL, java based webserver, batch scripting)

£36000 - £40000 Per Annum On call allowance.: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor’s Letter: Britain's sexism

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
 

Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back

Nigel Farage
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?