Tuesday, July 09, 2013

If Sir Andy Murray, why not Dame Virginia Wade?

When a knight won his spurs, in the stories of old,
He was gentle and brave, he was gallant and bold
With a shield on his arm and a lance in his hand,
For God and for valour he rode through the land.
Following Andy Murray's spectacular victory at Wimbledon, David Cameron alluded to a possible knighthood: "Frankly, I can't think of anyone who deserves one more."

His Grace can.

Setting aside the many hundreds of people who selflessly dedicate their lives to public service without expectation of reward or remuneration, we live (so we are told) in an age of gender equality.

The UK's media has talked endlessly about Andy Murray being the first Brit to win Wimbledon since 1936 - ending the 77 drought. But that isn't quite true: Virginia Wade won the women's title in 1977.

She had to wait a further 12 years for an honour, and when it came it was a meagre OBE.

Andy Murray already has an OBE (for his Olympic Gold). The Prime Minister seems intent on recommending him now for a knighthood, but this has far more to do with next year's referendum on Scottish independence than it has to do with Murray's sporting greatness. This is the picture that Cameron wants to force down Alex Salmond's throat:

To be able to proclaim that Sir Andy Murray is a Knight of the Realm of the United Kingdom and a devout Unionist might just ensure defeat of the separatist cause. With a racquet on his arm and a ball in his hand, he might just be the timely A-list gallant and bold knight to defeat the Scottish dark knight, Sir Sean Connery, who opposes the Treaty of Union

Murray should not permit himself to be used in such a cynical political fashion. At 26, he would become the youngest person in modern times to receive a knighthood (Ellen MacArthur was appointed MBE in 2001 and DBE in 2005 at the age of 28).

But if he is awarded a knighthood, then surely Virginia Wade is equally worthy of a Damehood. The national feel-good she injected into the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 certainly matches Murray's Olympic Gold in the year of Diamond Jubilee, and again in this 60th anniversary year of the Coronation.

Or is a woman's Wimbledon victory somehow worth less than a man's?


Blogger Peter D said...

Maybe because in 1977 there was no referendum due on 'English Independence' from the United Kingdom. Or am I being a cynic?

9 July 2013 at 09:49  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Another knee-jerk reaction form the PM. Perhaps Mr Cameron is only concerned with elitist sports. If a knighthood for Murray does Leigh Halfpenny deserve anything less?

9 July 2013 at 09:57  
Blogger Martin said...

Aside from that dreadful quote from an Anglican 'hymn', I'll agree & go further.

There is no doubt that the 'Honours' system is corrupt and is no more than a means to make friends and influence people.

9 July 2013 at 10:00  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! More equality...well, I would just like to point out that a knighthood (knight bachelor) ranks lower than a DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire)...so inequality is inbuilt...don't you think?

9 July 2013 at 10:33  
Blogger David Hussell said...

I suspect that the honours system has always been manipulated for political purposes. However should that detract from the fact that many of the recipients of such "political" honours, are in themselves worthy people. In some cases maybe yes, but not in the majority of cases of recipients, I would say.

Of course there are also many who may argue that a public gesture that helps preserve the political unity of the Union, is itself a noble cause, doubly justifying the grant of knighthoods to the deserving.

Mind it helps if the PM was watching you when you win the game. For a 21st century PM he has a surprising amount of "free" time.

9 July 2013 at 10:44  
Blogger Unknown said...

Can we end the speculation about the media reports being some sort of gender-bias, and we're forgetting Virginia Wade, because it's nonsense. In fact, if you're going down that route, the last Brit to "win Wimbledon" was Laura Robson in 2008, winning the juniors title, or is that "ageist"? And before that, Jamie Murray "won Wimbledon" in 2007.

There is no "conspiracy". The men's singles title is the flagship event at Wimbledon.

9 July 2013 at 10:51  
Blogger Martin said...


Worthy people in the honours system I have no problem with, political honours I have every problem with. Indeed I would suggest that political and honour rarely go together.

Indeed, those who are worthy appear far less in the media than those who are otherwise well known

9 July 2013 at 10:59  
Blogger World Innovation Foundation Blog said...

When it comes to athletic accomplishments, Murray stands out. But the problem with the 'establishment' is that they are so low when it comes to dishing out the gongs. Celebrities and political dog’s bodies are always top of their list and where wealth is a handy attribute as well. The problem is that those who really change the world such as revolutionary engineers who are not celebrities or political pawns never get a look in for the so-called top awards. Indeed it is these people who create ‘new’ wealth for the benefit of all others, not just themselves and the establishment. The honours system is so low when you look into who gets what and where it is to a great extent an extension predominantly of the old boy’s network that has gone totally mad. Not so long ago a certain British world renowned engineer who had created the most advanced engineering design tool in the world that has since its inception saved literally millions of lives (through safer buildings, dams, airplanes, cars and trains, etc, etc, etc, was not even thought worthy of a knighthood.

It has to be asked, how many lives has Andy saved and all those political cronies that have been given the nation's highest awards? Most probably none if truth be told. This even though his revolutionary work had made the world a far safer place to live, including Britain.

Added to this fact when he came to the UK in the war years after British intelligence had rescued him from the Nazis, he determined before D-Day that there were up to 80% structural faults in our military planes at the Royal aeronautical Society (then the government’s primary adviser on aircraft designs). God only knows how many of our soldiers lost their lives not through a Nazi bullet, but through unsafe allied aircrafts
prior to this engineers intervention, but they must have gone into the tens of thousands at least. Therefore when D-Day came this insignificant engineer in the eyes of the ‘establishment’ must have saved the lives of many allied troops (paratroopers especially) prior to D-Day and thereafter.

He even determined through his world-leading work that the space shuttle could re-enter the earth’s atmosphere safely without the risk of human death (no-one else could determine this) and where he solved the hydraulic landing mechanism (again the only person who could do so at the time) that allowed the 1969 moon landing to take place – without it the moon landing just would not have happened as Armstrong and Aldrin would not have been able to get off the moon’s surface and would certainly have died there. But throughout this great engineer’s life and where the ‘establishment’ considered him not worthy for a knighthood, he solved countless problems that have made the world a far better place to live in on the humanitarian side. Was he an engineering genius? Possibly as a further pointer to this was that Einstein’s mentor was this engineer’s uncle on his mother’s side and where recent discovered letters from Constantin Carathéodory to Einstein indicates that Einstein’s thinking came from Carathéodory’s thinking. Unfortunately the ‘establishment’ is so low that these people do not register on their radar (Blair and Cameron included) and because they simply are not what the establishment like to promote. The great disaster in all this is that these people actually do change the world for the better unlike generally the people the ‘establishment’ like to give their ‘gongs’ too. You see great engineers are not 'vote' catches and that is as far as it goes for them.
Therefore give Murray a knighthood but where these national awards aren’t worth a great deal in reality anymore. But of course, the ‘establishment’ thinks very differently here about these establishment awards.

Dr David Hill
Chief Executive
World Innovation Foundation

9 July 2013 at 11:09  
Blogger Irene's Daughter said...

What we have is David Cameron basking in the glow of Andy's wonderful success and making political capital - trying to convince us that he is a good guy when he is busily turning Britain upside down with the same - sex marriage issue and meddling in the crown/church/state dynamic. Not to mention his opinion of democracy which was made evident when he said (as has been reported)that even if we have an in/out EU referendum he will ignore the result.
And why, oh why, did the BBC have to keep showing us his face during the match?

9 July 2013 at 11:19  
Blogger Peter D said...

One might suggest that the standards for our secular honour system are slipping and perhaps even being manipulated for political purposes.

9 July 2013 at 11:32  
Blogger Richard Watterson said...

You're surely not siding with the Guardian and feminists everywhere and making a sexist mountain out of a non - sexist molehill, are you? Everyone knows that the 77-year wait was for a men's champion, don't they? When Virginia Wade won, the wait for a British Women's champion had only been eight years!

9 July 2013 at 11:35  
Blogger bluedog said...

Happy Ramadan, Your Grace, and may it be a rewarding and prayerful experience for you.

Your communicant is dismayed by the course of events in the CofE, where lady bishops appear to be a done deal, and that only leaves SSM on the to-do list.

Which prompts a thought. Just imagine, if Virginia Wade came out as a lesbian and announced plans to marry her partner, Cameron would be all over her, so to speak. A Damehood? Why not and make that a Privy Councillor too, the possibilities are endless. You have a sound point there, Your Grace.

But reverting to your communicant's earlier meanderings, he feels it may be time to put his salvation out to tender in case the CofE doesn't live up to its Confirmation contract. Accordingly he is looking around to see what's on 'special' at present and clearly Islam is doing some aggressive marketing. However a recent article by Taki in the Spectator pointed out that the offer of 72 virgins isn't what it is cracked up to be as virgins are hopeless in bed. Cross Islam off the list.

For the time being, the search continues.

9 July 2013 at 11:59  
Blogger IanCad said...

He has been referred to as an "Englishman" by several news sources.

That should be honour enough for any Scotsman.

Other than Sir Roger Bannister are there any sportsdude/gals who deserved ennobling?

9 July 2013 at 12:42  
Blogger David Hussell said...


Agreed ! It's all very shallow really.

Dr David Hill, World Innovation Foundation Blog.
I very much support the thrust of your argument, that world changing technologists of all kinds are ignored, even the ones whose ideas save many lives. My father, a far humbler engineer, has said this all his life.
It is noticeable how the media, including the BBC, give prominence to a certain fairly narrow range of matters, and hardly ever focus on anything concerning engineering, despite our rich national heritage and current contributions. As a nation we seem to be blind to technology, unless it is of the type that is sold in high street shops. It is ultimately a cultural bias I would venture. Strange indeed for a nation that was the cradle of the industrial revolution.

9 July 2013 at 12:49  
Blogger Nick said...

Your Grace, I actually had a "premonition" that this would be the subject of your next post.

I confess I didn't watch the finals, but I think it is excellent that Andy Murray "broke the mould" and secured the championship.

As to Cameron, what would you expect from a "speak now think later (maybe)" Prime Minister. The man suffers from premature evocation, particularly when aroused by the possibility of a little political manipulation.

Also, the term "knighthood" should be replaced by some less gender-discriminating, militarily-associated term like "SignificantPersonHood" for example. This might even be more appealing to the gender-destroying SNP.

BTW, I believe Mr Connery is so fervently pro-Scotland he occasionally leaves his California home to visit it.

9 July 2013 at 13:08  
Blogger Peter D said...


Virgins do have to start somewhere and, think on, they would have all eternity to improve.

On your other point, will the terms Dame, Lord and Sir actually be permitted in the brave new world feminised and homosexual world that lies ahead?


"Significant Person Hood" - is a possibility. Any ideas for King and Queen? And then there's the words of the Lord's Prayer to consider.

9 July 2013 at 14:32  
Blogger The Explorer said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9 July 2013 at 14:58  
Blogger richardhj said...

Cameron is trying to jump on a bandwagon as usual.

With the rugby not being on terrestrial tv it didn't have anything like the fuss and so a Knighthood for Gatland, Halfpenny etc wouldn't really work for a bandwagon.

And anyway, even Cameron couldn't find a Scot to give a knighthood to in the Lions team and how would that help his "keep the union" campaign.

9 July 2013 at 15:14  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I am totally against giving out Honours for doing a fat-wallet job of choice. The entire system is obsolete and riddled with corruption.

9 July 2013 at 16:33  
Blogger rachael Wiltshire said...

To be honest its not about the Knighhood or Damehood in my eyes! Its that a true legend was forgotten,Not only this but two other women have also been forgotten:

"Partially deaf player Angela Mortimer won the championship in 1961, and underdog Ann Haydon-Jones beat legend of the sport Billie Jean King to win again in 1969." quoted from http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/shortcuts/2013/jul/08/virginia-wade-wimbledon-champion-tennis

9 July 2013 at 16:50  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Cameron couldn’t even get that right. Imagine the impact of a surprise knighthood close to the referendum. What a punch that would have been. The man really is clueless…

As for whether male sport is more valued than female sport, let’s compare, for example, the gate numbers for Arsenal Ladies to Arsenal ‘A’ Team.

Well, the answer, if anyone is interested, and supplied by the football enthusiastic loon this man works with is: Ladies, a couple of thousand. Men – towards 60 K. An outrageous difference as the Ministry of Equality and Social Engineering will tell you. Something must be done about it, what ! In all seriousness, the worrying part is that one day, something will…

9 July 2013 at 17:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

IanCad . He has been referred to as an "Englishman" by several news sources. That should be honour enough for any Scotsman.

Outrageously funny Sir ! This man laughed aloud…

9 July 2013 at 17:26  
Blogger Nick said...

"An outrageous difference as the Ministry of Equality and Social Engineering will tell you. Something must be done about it"

Indeed Inspector. Of course the simplest solution is the abolition of gender altogether. That way, your average Arsenal supporter would become both a man and a lady at the same time, and lo and behold, the discrimination has disappeared as if by magic! This equality stuff is really so simple!

9 July 2013 at 17:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Cameron exploits Murray's victory for political purposes maybe this Wimbledon photo will come back to haunt him:-


9 July 2013 at 18:23  
Blogger David Hussell said...


"the abolition of gender.. "

Not so impossible. The madness has no limits once unleashed. Sweden has already started coining new, gender neutral pronouns, ( He + She = Hen).

Eventually the world will tire of this attack on the natural order of things, but at present the momentum builds.

9 July 2013 at 21:59  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 July 2013 at 02:05  
Blogger non mouse said...

Congratulations and appreciation to Andy Murray, Your Grace. In our pathetic, degraded, fifth-world culture, it's good to know that hard work, perseverance, and talent can still accomplish something that attracts admiration. Murray thus sets up a wonderful and much needed role model.

Of course, the Prime-whatever-it-is and his opponent do exactly the opposite. I don't suppose anybody had the temerity to boo their appearances?

Nevertheless and not-without-sitting-down, these lads have managed to invite derision from all quarters I turn to. What a pity they think they can change that by attaching themselves to Murray's coat tails, and by ensconcing themselves in the "Royal" box -- All things considered, I'd quite respect 'our hero' if he turned down a knighthood - in light of the corruption it presently represents.

In any case, none of our earlier champions (male or female) were knighted/damed immediately after their accomplishments: so isn't it disproportionate to apply such honour now? Of course the useful idiots could apply lots of retroactive glory as well, to say Fred Perry, or even some of the Aussies :)

But that's not the marxist way. Modernns prefer to denigrate dead people who can't defend themselves.....

Oh - and not to forget that indigenes are all British, as we've often noted: Celts of various tribes (+ Scandinavian-Germanic). And isn't Cameron a Scottish name?

10 July 2013 at 02:33  
Blogger non mouse said...

sorry - that should be "moderns"

10 July 2013 at 02:42  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thanks, OIG.

10 July 2013 at 07:53  
Blogger bradypus said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 July 2013 at 09:41  
Blogger bradypus said...

of course as he won he is british, If he had lost it would be " scotland fails again!" :-)

10 July 2013 at 09:42  
Blogger bradypus said...

if he goes on to have a "long" and ditinguished careeer ( a la Federer) then reward him with a knighthood if you want but not for one tournament!! Same with the Olympians from last year the best award they got were their olympic medals. At the end of their sporting careeers then again consider other awards (like with Sir Steve Redgrave) but not just for one championship. It is time people got real about this

10 July 2013 at 09:47  
Blogger Nick said...

Good point bradypus. The less we give out knighthoods, the more significant is their meaning. Contrast this with the banking world where many receive fat bonuses regardless of their performance, or the tendency in schools to reward the whole class when one pupil does well. It's another form of "equality". "If one gets a knighthood, then everyone should get one so they don't feel discriminated against".

10 July 2013 at 10:23  
Blogger floyjoy77 said...

US Open winner - Virginia Wade and
Andy Murray
Wimbledon Champion - Virginia Wade and Andy Murray
Spot the difference.
One is female and doesn't appear to matter.
Sir Andy would be great - Dame Virginia sounds good too.
But that won't happen - women don't count.

10 July 2013 at 13:37  
Blogger floyjoy77 said...

July 10 - Happy Birthday Virginia.

10 July 2013 at 13:38  
Blogger The PrangWizard of England said...

I thought Cameroon's intervention in calling for a knighthood for Murray was cheap, and cynical.
And anyway didn't he once say he has a lot of Scottish blood flowing through his veins?
Don't trust him.

11 July 2013 at 11:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I may say so, I deplore sexism and indeed the gals should get the knighthoods (we wouldn't have won the war without them!).

PS- Virginia Wade looks cracking in that photo, a true daughter of Albion!

Cherry Pip!

11 July 2013 at 16:42  
Blogger Che Yeoh said...

While we fight over ownership of Andy Murray and the Union, here is yet another of our countrymen who had to leave in order to prosper. Spain should claim the credit, and a family who had the foresight to realise he would not get the training he needed here. Not Scotland and not England or the United Kingdom. That is the sad truth behind the tasteless fight over his nationality.

11 July 2013 at 20:24  

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