As The Times announces George Gideon Osborne as ‘Briton of the Year’ – surely confirming that we live in different political universes – we offer this antidote to the gongs and the patronage of broken Empire. Set aside the British baubles and brown-nosing and join us in creating suitable OBE’s (Order of Bella’s Entourage).
Unlike the Lizzie’s List we welcome suggestions from around the world.
Here’s our heroes from 2013:
1. Billy Bragg – let’s start with an Englishman – the Bard of Barking: “For some he’s the Tony Benn of rock music, for others he’s the UK’s answer to Bruce Springsteen, and there are those who will forever associate Billy Bragg with 1980s pop protest songs about events such as the miners’ strike during the high-water mark of Thatcherism. Now the singer-songwriter thinks the prospect of an independent Scotland throws up the chance of a New England – to borrow the title of one of one of his most famous songs from the early 1980s”. More here.
He’s proof that a new Scotland can inspire others and be the source of progressive energy north AND south of the border. The compilation album, Fight Songs, is available here.
2. Iain Banks – the genius of Banks was recognised as he left us with typical wit and bravery. A posthumous award for one of our greatest writers who wrote of independence:
“We’d need to make sure our banks were small enough to fail, and there are problems of poverty, ill health and religious tribalism that will take decades to overcome. But with the advantages and attractions that Scotland already has, and, more importantly, taking into account the morale boost, the sheer energisation of a whole people that would come about because we would finally have our destiny at least largely back in our own hands again – I think we could do it. And that we should.”
3. Derek Bateman – the breakthrough Scottish blog of the year, Bateman’s angry prose is a welcome addition to the scene with further signs that the straightjacket of Scottish media is unfolding.
4. Saffron Dickson – for her barn-storming speech on BBC Radio 5 Live – and her coining of great phrases (‘We will not be silenced by your ideology!’) – Saffy proved that the young people deserve the vote and deserve their voice to be heard.
One to watch in 2014.
5. Edward Snowden – taking over the (tainted?) title of Whistlebower-in-Chief from Julian Assange, Snowden continued the unleashing of truth to power we’ve seen in the last few years that’s shaken the political elites everywhere. “My name’s Ed Snowden, I’m 29 years old. I work for Booz Allen Hamilton as an infrastructure analyst for NSA in Hawaii.” With those words, Snowden revealed he was the source of the biggest intelligence leak in the history of America’s National Security Agency, and became the man behind the story that has re-set the news agenda around the world.
6. Nelson Mandela – despite the tortuous retrospectives talking of the ‘Santification of Mandela’ the man remains an icon and an inspiration for a generation for his wisdom, bravery and honour.
There’s a lesson here too – that impossible dreams can become reality and political movements can win victories against the odds.
7. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova – Russian cultural activist, musician and thinker Tolokonnikova faced hunger strike and terrible conditions for standing up to Putin’s regime but emerged only stronger. She remained defiant and is an outstanding role model and source for international solidarity. On release from two years in jail she said: “”It was not an act of humanism. The authorities have simply backed off under pressure coming from inside Russia and from the west. It is not Putin and his parliament we are grateful to, but people who supported us. It was like a miracle,” Tolokonnikova said. “My prison guards were freaking out when letters started pouring in from everywhere – America, Turkey, Bulgaria, even China. I was carrying three huge sacks of letters when they transferred me to another prison.”
8. Lesley Riddoch – for her groundbreaking book Blossom which combines an ‘experience-based’ look at the issues we face with a generalist approach to understanding them. She lucidly combines perspectives on gender, community, ecology and health to create both a devastating critique of the ‘state we’re in’ with a hopeful vision of how to mend it. All whilst battling her own health challenges.
A thorn in the side of Scottish complacency, and an inspiration to all.
9. Andy Murray – an obvious one but it seems he’s been missed off the Lizzie’s list.
For sheer tenacity and for facing years of ridicule and hatred from the English press alone he deserves a medal.
What a guy to achieve what he has despite being faced with three of the most amazing tennis players of all time.
10. Ikechi Anya – it was the year of the Return of the Wee Man for Scotland (with Maloney, Forrest and Strachan leading the way) and Ikechi Anya’s breakthrough – scoring in his debut against Macedonia and blazing a trail down our left wing was the best of the bunch.
What a boost after years of over-caution and lack of flair! Now we’ve got to prove it in real competition, but Ikechi cheered us all up with his outstanding performances. Okay so Naismith’s form the return of Fletcher and Fletcher, Stevie May, the revival of the Arabs and The Scottish Messi, Danny Handling and Abdellah Zoubir are all good news too, but Anya’s helped fix the national team more than most.
Who did we miss out? What have we got wrong? Your suggestions please.
Here’s your recommendations…
11. Seamus Heaney and John Bellany – Eòghann MacColla @eoghannmaccolla suggested: “Nice work, agree with all, however Seumas Heaney & John Bellany (‘Scottish painter whose work was characterised by brutality, torment and compassion‘) ….
12. Robin McAlpine suggested for his efforts in leading the Jimmy Reid Foundation and creating the Commonweal project – an inspirational glimpse of what a fairer Scotland could look like (and one that looks good too)
13. Public Workers – Frankie T @frankiet67 suggests: “Give the recognition to the unsung heroes who save lives every day, doctors, nurses, firefighters and community workers”
14. Elaine C Smith – suggested by Annie @demipip : “Elaine C Smith for being the soul and the moral compass of Scotland, putting into words what we all think”.
15. The Arctic 30 Greenpeace Protestors get’s a shout from Daniel Mittler from Germany for protecting the world and being criminalised for it. Here they are: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/climate-change/arctic-impacts/Peace-Dove/Arctic-30/
16. Moira Salmond – as suggested by @GaryDalziel1 “Moira Salmond for best flag smuggling”.
17. Peter Capaldi – Leo Mikłasz has suggestd the new Doctor: “I’d probably vote for Peter Capaldi, as he intends on keeping his accent while he saves the universe…”
18. Danny MacAskill –
@0604Arb1320 “How about Danny MacAskill the guy who does amazing incredible moves on a bike! :-)”
19. Michael Marra – a very popular suggestion. Sheena Devlin wrote: “wld u include a posthumous honour to Michael Marra? His humanity lives on thru his words, music & art.”