It was great to see three hard-working “ordinary” Fifers receive British Empire Medal (BEM) awards in recognition of their community work in the Queen’s New Year Honours.
Marvyn Stewart has been at the forefront of efforts which raised more than £50,000 for her beloved Dunfermline Athletic Football Club after it fell into administration.
Amelia Mathewson was recognised for services to the Levenmouth community and in particular her work with the Memorial Park Neighbourhood Centre.
Another stalwart Hamish McKay was given the gong for services to the Levenmouth community and young people.
All three are well-known in their areas for putting others first and we should all tip our hats to them.
But when you look at some of the other names included on the list, it’s no wonder some people are of a mind that the idea needs to be binned once and for all.
The whole system adds up to an odd mix of personal patronage, political expediency and bureaucratic convenience, in addition to those who deserve public recognition.
In an age when the disconnect between “normal” people and the higher echelons has seldom felt wider, it almost feels like a smack in the face to see a knighthood given to the likes of Iain Duncan Smith.
The fact he was the architect of Tory reforms such as Universal Credit and the bedroom tax, which have been blamed for leaving thousands upon thousands of people struggling to cope, prompted plenty of raised eyebrows when folk read the news on Saturday morning.
Giving him a knighthood bolsters the “them and us’” argument, and fuels fears that cronyism at the highest level is thriving.
Likewise Ross McEwan, the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, can now stick the letters CBE after his name.
I’m sure he did some amazing things, but when many SMEs were forced to the wall on his watch and thousands of customers have seen High Street branches disappear, surely a reward from The Queen for services to the financial sector isn’t the greatest look?
Hindsight also suggests that many of these gongs can end up looking a little tarnished – take Jimmy Savile or Fred Goodwin for starters.
So with a new decade just days away, maybe the time is right to put the whole honours system back under the microscope and a find a way to praise achievement, service and distinction that everyone can get behind.