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Honoured on The Queen's Birthday - gongs fail to please everyone

The Queen's Birthday Honours List includes author Salman Rushdie, former cricketer Ian Botham, and former Soviet spy, defector and double agent Oleg Gordievsky who was appointed a CMG (Companion of the Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George), the same honour held by James Bond, for "services to the security of the United Kingdom".

Sir Salman was "thrilled and humbled". Sir Ian, who was "honoured for his sporting achievements as well as for the millions he has raised through fund-raising walks for Leukaemia Research - including one across the Alps with elephants", was "delighted". The former Russian spy made no comment.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of the human rights group Liberty, was also honoured.

It is, of course, the government rather than The Queen who selects the recipients of the honours, and the Telegraph's comments section contained some strong grousing.

"An unreadable writer" who "turned his back on the UK".

"Shami Chakrabarti. . .could more profitably spend her time fighting the Iranian government's assault on Liberty than the UK's."

"Personally I can think of nobody more annoying than Barry Humphries."

"The elevation of Sir Rock Star, Lord Hairdresser, Dame Luvvie."

"There are lots of awards for people who have only done their everyday job and got well paid for it. What about the numerous volunteers who give their free time for the benefit of others? Awards for cadet force volunteers can almost be counted on one hand!"

"As usual, I'm disgusted that the UK's many internationally distinguished scientists and engineers are mostly ignored by the so-called Honours system. These British men and women mostly create the world-leading society in which we are so very fortunate to live, and generate huge international impact and respect for the UK, but apart from the occasional one or two token 'gongs', the UK makes it so very clear how little they are valued."

Gadzooks. Fortunately we can end this slightly jaundiced account with a plug for the Science Timeline where we do value them.

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