Honours should be for the people who deserve them

Janice Hill and Toni Sinden
Janice Hill and Toni Sinden
Lesley's delighted that pole dancing may soon be an Olympic sport                       Credit: PA

LESLEY KEATING: Pole dancing’s not seedy – it’s vertical gymnastics

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I’ve just finished reading two books the excellent Hilary Mantel has written about the life and work of Thomas Cromwell.

If you haven’t read them, you might have watched the Wolf Hall adaptation on the telly box.

These days you can get an honour for driving people about, doing their hair, or just for organising a party.

For someone who has a dual passion for both books and old stuff, they were an utterly compelling read.

Henry VIII has been back in our local news recently because of the grand re-opening of the Mary Rose Museum and the revelation that we can now, hundreds of years after Henry’s flagship sank in the Solent, see her without needing to peer through a fog of resin or spray.

The Wolf Hall books hark back to a time when young gents at court donned their armour and battled for supremacy – sometimes against the regent himself – on the tilting ground, jousting for their reputations.

It was they who ran the country really, they who influenced parliament, they who decided who to treatise with and who to wage war against.

Rightly or wrongly, qualified or otherwise, it was the knights that ran the world.

These days things are a little bit different.

These days you can get an honour for driving people about, doing their hair, or just for organising a party. In one case – I’m talking about you, Will Straw – you can even get one for losing a massive campaign.

That’s what it seems like, reading through David Cameron’s resignation honours list.

The choices have all got to be approved by the palace, but I wonder if that’s more of an exercise in making sure the people on the list aren’t shysters and charlatans, rather than enquiring too closely about whether they actually deserve an honour.

It’s a shame, really. I know a chap with an MBE. He was given it for his tireless service to his community, a dedication spanning decades.

If I was in charge, these would be the type of people I’d want around me. The type of people who use their lives to serve others.

I tell you what though, David Cameron and Henry VIII have one thing in common: cronyism.

THEY ARE RIGHT TO WANT MORE OF US TO BE ABLE TO DO CPR

I was absolutely blown away by the story of the Portsmouth couple who saved a Greek chap’s life because they’d happened to know CPR.

It’s been a long time since I took my turn on the Resusci-Annie, trying not to break her plastic ribs while hoping to goodness I never had to try and put into practice what I was learning.

Luckily for me, I never have and, while I think I can pretty much remember what to do, it’s probably time I had a refresher.

It wasn’t something I’d thought about until I read The News’s front page story, and I’m guessing I’m not alone.

Luckily Sakis Mouzaki had Janice Hill and Toni Sinden on hand to help him.

They are right to want more of us to be able to do the same.

ALL OF US HAVE A DUTY TO LOOK AFTER THE PLACE WHERE WE LIVE

I didn’t realise there could be such a row about litter.

But reading the comments on The News’ website and in the paper, I can see the story about the litter left after last weekend’s free bandstand events has proved me wrong.

Weren’t we all taught that if there aren’t any bins, or the ones that do exist are full, to take our rubbish home?

Those with barbecues should be cooling them down anyway, so where’s the problem? If there are people who are shameless enough to drop litter then they should be prosecuted.

We all have a duty to look after the place in which we live. Crack down a few times and people will soon get the message and make such excellent free events things that don’t leave a sour taste in the mouth.