What message does honours for the famous send out to our young people?

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Saturday 31 December 2016 18:21
Sir Andy Murray, who received a knighthood in the 2017 New Year Honours list
Sir Andy Murray, who received a knighthood in the 2017 New Year Honours list

Without detracting from the achievements of those attracting honours in the New Year’s List, I have become increasingly sceptical about the message given to the nation, particularly its young members, by the media coverage. As usual, the selection making the headlines included those from entertainment and, in the year of the Olympics, from sport. Admittedly a few with worthy, down-to-earth achievements and lesser awards came in for mention, but the emphasis was as usual on those who are regularly on the TV or in the news. I looked and listened in vain for mention of achievers from science, medicine, industry and commerce – people who make real differences to the way we live and to our wealth and health. There were none.

It turned my thinking to what message this might give about what passes for success and what this might mean for the nation’s future trajectory. Indeed, it made me ask if this is a factor that leads many young people to reply, when asked about their life ambitions, that they simply “want to be famous”.

Ian Reid, Kilnwick

Top and tailing 2016, David Cameron awarded a knighthood to Tory election campaign manager, Lynton Crosby and Theresa May awarded honours to Tory donors. Cynicism? Surely not.

Mike Bor, London

This is post-Brexit Britain

This disregard for Northern Ireland is symptomatic of the dreadful mindset we all, but mostly the Government, have allowed ourselves to drift into. We seemingly care not for cross-community relationships within the UK or externally, assuming arrogantly that we can go our south-east England-centric way in the world and all will fare thee well. We fritter away our long-established international leadership role and hard fought for “street cred” at our peril.

Meirion Rees, Wiltshire

Having read your editorial which considers whether Theresa May is right wing, I have little doubt that her true values are right wing. As you noted, she realised after so long in opposition that the British people do not like their politicians to be extreme, whether to the left or right, and the political parties are viewed the same. May has therefore tried to convince the public that she is a moderate, I do not believe that; the analogy of a wolf in sheep’s clothing fits May like an expensive tailor-made suit.

Nick Smith, Sussex

Truth and lies

An article by Robert Fisk this week described the blatant half-truths and downright lies that are peddled without shame or conscience by all politicians and commentators, but rarely questioned and, if repeated often enough, become accepted “truth”. My favourite lie of 2016 was a Conservative politician referring to the banking crash of 2008 as “The Gordon Brown Financial Disaster”. Look out for it next year as every Tory weaves it seamlessly into every interview.

Gary Kirk, Burnley

Theresa May refuses to rule out making payments to the EU after Brexit

Only one solution for the Middle East

We need to free our minds of any prejudice in order to clearly understand the mistreatment of the Palestinians. History made us understand that the land of Israel was occupied by the Arabs, who had acquired this land through the tactic of “conquer and possess”; that was the order of that time. After World War Two, the British and Americans deceived the Arabs into letting Israelis back into the land. Now Israelis claim the land belongs to them, citing Biblical verses. Most nations today got the land they live on by “conquer and possess”, so why would Palestinians case be different?

The most humane deal in this protracted conflict that has threatened world peace is to grant the Palestinians their own state and divide Jerusalem into two so that both states can base their capital there.

Christian Jide, Address withheld

Isn't the Middle East confusing! If Israel hadn't “liberated” the lands intended to be a Palestinian state from occupation by the Arab countries, would we now be talking about a sovereign Palestinian state?

Martin Oakes, Tewkesbury

Doubling down on style

John Rentoul says in his Mea Culpa column that the expression “double down” is acceptable because it is in common use. It is certainly not in common use in my household, and we agreed that we had no idea what it meant. Even after Googling the meaning of the expression we're no closer to understanding the meaning of the referenced headline about Donald Trump “doubling down”. Is The Donald taking bets on the probability of an arms race? Surely he’s prompting or promoting an arms race not betting on one? Clearly we need a bit more translation of such Americanisms. Surely we're not alone.

Nick Haward, Havant

A poem for 2016

It has ended well. My financial advisor 
Sent me warm wishes, a scratch card and a pen.
A two pound win! Yes that's all that was needed 
To bow my grin from its anus face-ache-us flat line.

A fittingly farcical lottery spin
What a shit of a year this has been.
So goodbye and farewell... 
And take your mates with you,
Mostly not so sweet twenty sixteen.

Neil Armstrong, Newcastle

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