Alternative Scottish Honours

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:

index1. 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.

saffrondickson1-460x2524. 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.

Nadezhda-Tolokonnikova7. 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.

2241670710. 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 BellanyEòghann 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:

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.”

Yes we would.
20. Anne MacColl – as suggested by Carol Douglas: “Epitomising grace, civility& ambition; achievement in leading Scottish business; being an excellent example 2 all”.
Thanks Carol.
BiffyClyro-100429-LH0421. Biffy Clyro – mega band.
“The way the world’s going, we may as well give Scottish Independence a shot. The time is now. The fucking world is falling apart. Scotland has got renewable energy, we have ways of moving forward and we’re in a strong position to make it happen.”
22. Frankie Boyle as suggested by Tony Collins – Frankie Boyle for his hunger strike and support for Shaker Aamer (His witty/aggressive support for indy helps as well)
23. Jack Foster for the documentaries he has been making. This is The Fear Factor (Part 1):
24. Margo Macdonald – suggested by many people and by someone ‘for being herself’.
25. Malala Yousafzai should be honoured for her brave campaigning for girls’ rights to education
26. Chelsea Manning should be honoured as a prisoner of conscience, given her sentence of 35 years for her brave disclosure of mainly the US government’s human rights violations in Middle Eastern wars.

Comments (31)

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  1. Iain says:

    A poet? An opera singer? A violinist?

    1. JBS says:

      A poet, then. W.N. Herbert. He’s been writing with intelligence and wit, in Scots and English, for many years.

    2. JBS says:

      Another writer: Frank Kuppner. His book of poems, ‘A Bad Day for the Sung Dynasty’ (sadly out of print) is a joy forever.

  2. Abulhaq says:

    A young Chaldean Catholic priest Father Raghib Ganni one of a thousand Christians murdered in a pogrom AFTER the coalition invasion of Iraq. Murdered leaving church after Mass with two deacons. Some politicians need to be reminded that interference in countries far away ruin lives.

  3. Don Coutts says:

    Robin McAlpine for articulating our hopefulness Eddi Reader for being Eddi Reader, all those people who struggle with poverty on a daily basis, they can then pawn their medals!

  4. W David Rodger says:

    How about a group award for the millions of people in Brazil who left their sofas to protest on the streets against government corruption? Expect more such events against the backdrop of the 2014 football world cup.

  5. James Coleman says:

    Ian Gray

  6. BampotsUtd says:

    great read that main stream is on its knees people love alternative being scots irish and a tennis lover am opting for mister hibs a great celt and scotsman our andy 2 in a row at wembledon will be a massive 2014 then indy heres hoping

  7. Stevie says:

    You can’t have a perfect list – only a longer one. Good list though.

  8. Emma says:

    What about the inhabitants of the Menie Estate who have to put up with bunds (with no planning permission) built to block natural light to their houses and the prospect of flooding as a result? They, along with the people who walk on the beach, endure the menace and intimidation of Trump’s “security” guards and the fact that TIGL has planted gorse bushes on the rights of way to the beach to prevent people getting there in the first place?

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Good shout, they’re in

  9. I think a Scottish Knighthood for Mr.Andrew Murray,the first Scot to win the prestigious “Men’s Single Title” at Wimbledon.(OK he was the Second Briton to win but….)

    1. Chic McGregor says:

      He wasn’t the first Scot to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon.

      1. bellacaledonia says:

        Who was Chic?

      2. Chic McGregor says:

        Harold Segerson from Edinburgh. 1896.

      3. Chic McGregor says:

        Harold Segerson Mahony from Edinburgh. 1896.

  10. John Souter says:

    How about all the Scottish Government and SNP – MP’s After all, against all the odds stacked against them its A Salmond and Co that has made independence possible.

    A small sign of appreciation now could go a long way for their morale.

  11. Traylee Mandela says:

    Katie Hopkins – only person to render my mum speechless

  12. Michael Nolan says:

    I would nominate the Lancashire-born Scottish composer Ronald Stevenson, for his unique way of bringing together so many strands of Scotland’s culture within an internationalist outlook.

  13. Jack Foster for the documentaries he has been making.

    Patrick Harvie in the Indy debate for not always trying to occupy the middle ground.

  14. Alistair says:

    What? No entry for Dick Gaughan… shameful 🙂

    Where’s Evelyn Glennie?? 🙂

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Hey – good ideas – I say they’re in

  15. Douglas says:

    Gutted that Iain Banks and Michael Marra arnae here for 2014, really gutted.

    It´s just no fair!!!

    Onwards and upwards 2014:

  16. The Gezi Park protestors who stood up to Tayyip Erdogan and his thuggish riot police.

  17. gerry parker says:

    The organisers of last years rally on The Calton Hill.

    1. gerry parker says:

      Correction. Calton Hill.

  18. willie says:

    Edward Snowden, like the similarly hunted Julian Assange are heroes for exposing the out of control surveilance that the Third Reich could only dream of.

    An offer of asylum and the enshrinement to the right to democratically accountable security would be a great thing for an Independent Scotland.

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