Queen’s 100th Birthday Honours

Occasionally people have been accused of showing off on this web site by mentioning their university education. I am afraid I went to university; there I worked far too hard and my only real leisure activity was being a QUB unionist and annoying the Student’s Union Executive (ah those were the days, sitting with the likes of Peter Weir in Cloisters dreaming up questions for the SU executive). To paraphrase Bob Dylan: The times they have a changed.

During my time at that moderately august institution they got rid of the National Anthem and the RUC band from graduation. As such the latest honorary graduates will receive their honorary doctorates without the National Anthem or the band. The list includes Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern (for distinction in public service); Harold Good and Alec Reid (for services to the community) as well as lots of other worthy people (not that the above four are necessarily unworthy). So who would we all like to nominate for an honorary doctorate?

  • fair_deal

    “I worked far too hard and my only real leisure activity was being a QUB unionist and annoying the Student’s Union Executive”

    ROFLMAO. Our paths may have crossed except – I worked far too little and among my numerous leisure and extra-curricular activities was being a QUB unionist and annoying the Student’s Union Executive.

    Has anyone got one for services to blogging? How about Mick?

  • Turgon


    I was going to suggest Mick but in the initial blog I feared it would be too sycophantic. I am keen to second that though. He would be as good a candidate for services to the community and indeed for political research as anyone.

    P.S. Cloisters was fun wasn’t it.

  • wild turkey

    As is usual with these things, the list could use a steer in the direction of Checkpoint Reality

    1. Gerry Storey, Holy Family Boxing Club. Services to the community at the front line

    2. Mrs George Mitchell. She made damn sure George was back in the states for Easter 1998.

  • Garibaldy

    Hugh Brady is getting one? He’s destroying the educational ethos of UCD. Not a good sign for the future of QUB.

  • k

    The difference between QUB Unionists and QUB republicans?
    The unionists plotted in cloisters during the day over cups of tea. The republicans plotted in the Bunatee over pints of stout after 10pm!

  • Shamed by declining educational standards!

    That should be 100th anniversary but you do not expect much from a Queen’s graduate and they deliver.

  • Eddie

    These honorary degrees should be strictly limited. There seems to be competition between universities in giving them out. It’s more about raising the profile of the university than anything else. And preserve me please from people who run around flashing them, even including them in the phone book sometimes.

  • Turgon

    Shamed by declining educational standards,
    Yes except it is a deliberate play on the HM Queen Elizabeth’s birthday honours. I guess you cannot expect an understanding of subtly and irony from UU graduates.

    Man not ball I know.

  • joeCanuck

    If Good and Reid, why not the General?

  • Dec

    ah those were the days, sitting with the likes of Peter Weir in Cloisters dreaming up questions for the SU executive

    Hey, at least you didn’t waste the best days of your life. It makes my own experience of getting regularly walloped, blasting out the VU and hanging out with girls look positively moribund.

  • slug

    My alma mater is Oxford University and it got into trouble for giving out Honourary Degrees to politicians it took a liking to and then not giving one to…Margaret Thatcher. Ultimately I think Oxford probably came out worse from that particular snub. It looks like the University is just honouring those it agrees with politically rather than those who have made an important contribution.

    All of which illustrates the problem with such degrees. And I don’t approve of giving honourary degrees to celebrities like Eamonn Holmes either (didn’t QUB honour him, recently?).

    I would far rather that Universities stuck to giving honourary degrees for things that Universities are all about. That is, to distinguished scholars and scientists.

  • I’m from a much earlier era, the early sixties.

    Ray Davey, who inspired my transcommunity actities in 70s, 80s and 90s, was the Presbyterian chaplain who put ecumenics into action.

    The Glee Club was great crack. Tables were cleared from the dining room in the McMordie Hall in the Old Students Union down at the bottom of University Square; song sheets were printed, sung from and later floated aerodynamically through the rafters; regulars like Phil Coulter and Sean “The Ballad of William Bloat” Armstrong led the fray; new faces got their turn in the fresher’s spot and the evening was usually timed to coincide with the visit of a pop-star to downtown Belfast (eg Helen Shapiro) who’d end the evening off in style.

    Eamonn McCann was a contemporary who didn’t quite make the course. ‘McCann’s gone’ was on many people’s lips the day he departed, no explanations proffered just rumours …

  • joeCanuck

    Why the gratuitous slug at the scientists? Because they’re not “real” scholars? pshaw!

  • BonarLaw

    Peter Weir… what ever happened to him?

  • joeCanuck

    No explanation, Nevin? That’s a bare-arsed lie!

  • fair_deal

    “Cloisters was fun wasn’t it”

    The human body can really live on nothing but sausage rolls and red sauce

  • joeCanuck

    You forget the cold baked beans out of the can, Fair Deal.

  • lámh dearg

    Bernadette McAlliskey for services to the immigrant community of mid Ulster

  • “The unionists plotted in cloisters during the day over cups of tea. The republicans plotted in the Bunatee over pints of stout after 10pm!”

    LOL, how very true!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The quareone from China must be a possiblilty.

    Presumably they have to share them out equally between the 2 tribes or someone will take them to
    some court or other.

    And talking of parity of esteem – the name simply has to go – you cant have a university named after some old crone who liked nothing better than organising the culling of many an indigenous people – especially the Irish. How should any of the Non Iron’s African students, or indeed fine young Republicans, be expected to concentrate on their studies in a college with such a name and a big hairy arse statue of the evil woman just outside the front door.

    But if the name has to stay then we will at least have to add a prefix (like in the case of Londonderry ) and I suppose Colaiste Queens might just be tolerable.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Spent most of my mornings in Cloisters, wasting a fiver on a round of tea and danish, solving the world’s problems- as well as our own parochial conflict.

    Turgon/ FD
    A case of ships passing in the night, clearly, as I remember Weir, with the one we called ‘Milky Bar Kid’ and others regularly gathered nearby doing something similar.

  • If only I could remember any of my four years at that august institution clearly. Mr Weir used to darken the doors of the history common room, but strangely refused to partake in any of the beverages we offered…having said that he should get an honourary degree for services to hair loss and north Down accents…now I’m away to reminisce about working in the record shop with Jan, the lunchtime movies in the Bunatee, Friday discos in the Speakeasy! Oh, and Ozzy Osbourne for an honourary for services to drug dealers and MTV producers…

  • I don’t recall any official explanations being given on the day of his departure, Joe. Perhaps they were drowned out by the event.

  • joeCanuck

    I was being tongue in cheek , Nevin.
    Probably the younger ones here aren’t aware that he did bare his arse on live TV during a Student union debate.

  • fair_deal


    “You forget the cold baked beans out of the can, Fair Deal.”

    Always managed to heat them. The lowest point on the food scale was the 40 burgers for £2 from Westside stores still remember the fluorescent yellow packaging. There were as bad as you would imagine a 5p ‘burger’. When I moved out of my digs two years later there were still almost thirty of them in the freezer. No lack of sobriety or cash was enough to get housemates or I to eat them.

  • Mark McGregor

    While the thread title doesn’t really suit my thought, did QUB ever award Sheena Campbell a posthumous degree?

  • Katinka

    Sammy McNally can’t have paid much attention if he was ever at Queen’s or he would know that the statue outside the front door is the war memorial – nothing to do with the Lady Vic.
    Things don’t change over the years, in my day it was John Taylor and his best friend wee Bob Cooper who were plotting, Bob McCartney was making his mind up to study law and not arts, the major ran the billiard room with a rod of iron, and the Saturday night dances (hops) were better than anything since…the talent was wonderful!
    Honorary degrees do seem to be a publicity stunt, I deplore this, there are plenty of people deserving of them who are not media/sporting stars.

  • joeCanuck

    ..a posthumous degree..

    Don’t believe any University does that.

  • Mark McGregor


    The University of Ulster awarded one just last year and I’ve heard of them being awarded elsewhere.

  • The__Raven

    Not quite related, but in this case, equally fun is John Moores University’s choice of Chancellor.


    I think before anyone takes the piss *too* much of what is pretty much a ceremonial title, this particular Chancellor earned his doctorate the hard way…even with a 30 year break. Nice to see a doctorate actually being given to someone that earned it.

  • joeCanuck

    Stand corrected Mark. I meant posthumous honorary degree. Does that make a difference?

  • Bemused

    Queens eh? What a complete and utter fucking kip. I have the misfortune to occasionally attend this hole and meet with some of it’s undergraduates and graduates – “I seen….I done….I had went…”-merchants almost to a man/woman. The place seems to consist of a large student majority of utterly parochial bog-trash from west of the Bann who seem to relish going home for the weekend to ‘meet up with the biys’ and get their washing done, mixed with a student minority of appalling, whey-faced religious funda’mentalists’. An utter, utter dump.

  • Ex-Queen’s Student

    Love to know what DUP MLA Peter Weir’s views on homosexuality are. Turgon, as you seem to have known him at uni,do you think they would tie in with the DUP or “Free P” view? Can you see him saying “No to Sodomy!” ??.

  • pauljames

    No, No, bemused, I was really entralled by the whimsical reminicences of our educated friends, such jolly japes in the cloisters, please do go on chaps.

  • Simons

    Its a pity that unionists now have let the Union go to the dogs. Controlled by republicans and nationalists, just when unionism was making inroads.

    The Dup and UUP are not what they were. The place is now dominated bY the greens and alliance and…


  • darth rumsfeld

    Poor Peter Weir must often reflect on the cruelty of politics. He goes and stands up for his principles of no terrorists in government, is deselected as Westminster candidate, bucked out of the UUP, joins the DUP, is the only failure in the general elections in a head to head with the UUP,and thus will never get another crack at Westminster, and is now in a party happy to have terrorists in government, where he and Donaldson lie beached on the backbenches of irrelevance watching as Arlene reaps the benefit of their heavy lifting in wrecking their old party.

    If only he hadn’t stood up for his principles- he wouldn’t have been deselected, or chucked out of the UUP, he’d almost certainly be MP for North Down, and-amazingly- would then have been in the position La Sylv was two years ago- i.e. in pole position to be leader….ahem

    perhaps on reflection he’s happy enough then

  • How about an award for the residents of the Holy Lands who have to put up with the biggest shower of animals the country has even seen? If the Queen’s Students living there are an indication of what University Life is I’m damn glad I had to go out and work after I turned 17.

  • Rory

    While like others above I deplore the award of honorary degrees to dreadful celebs merely to act as a public relations stunt for the university, I am not totally opposed to the idea of awarding honorary degrees per se.

    I think that such an award is appropriate where the individual so honoured has added something to the development of human understanding of any subject in any field. In this regard the legendary American chronicler of the thoughts and experiences of ordinary people, Studs Terkel, most readily springs to mind but I am sure that by now Studs has little room left to display the many awards that I suspect he has (and deservedly) received.

    As to QUB it could do no better than to make up for its shameful expulsion of Eamonn McCann all those decades ago. It was clear to all of us at the time that the silly incident which provoked his expulsion was merely an excuse and that the real reason was his devestating critique of the NI state and the way he wiped the floor with his opponent, the Home Affairs minister, Brian Faulkner during a Literific Society debate which was, astonishingly at the time, broadcast live on television.

    I think that more than any other single incident it was that broadcast and McCann’s performance that inspired a whole generation to the possibility of civil rights.

    His continuing career has shown that he never lost the spark.

  • Which cheek/cheeks do you mean, Joe? 😉

    I don’t recall the debating episode but that may well have led to his being ‘sent down’.

    Those were the days when not all students had easy access to TV. The two most popular programmes watched by students in the old Union were Top of the Pops and the Flintstones. On one occasion two men in brown coats walked, switched the TV off and carried it. There was much howling from the great unwashed; the following day there was a ransom note from IIRC the Magee College students rag committee!!

  • republicanstoned

    I would like to start a campaign to rid Belfast University of it´s colonial past.

    It sickens me whenever I hear the name “Queens”, why can´t it have an impartial name like the “Bobby Sands University”, after all he died for all of us on this island.

  • RepublicanStones

    imitation is the highest form of wha…….?

    i think the above is not a troll, more an Oompha Loompha, he probably likes the tinge of their skin more !

  • republicanstoned

    “he probably likes the tinge of their skin more ! ”

    No I actually prefer their hair colour more. Anyway I agree with Mark McGregor lets get a posthumous degree for Sheena Campbell and Mariead Farrell. In fact we could rename the university after theses heroines of mother Ireland.

  • Greenflag

    ‘ I was really entralled by the whimsical reminicences of our educated friends, such jolly japes in the cloisters, please do go on chaps.’

    Indeed 🙂 I’m reminded of that scene in Blackadder Goes Forth when General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett (Stephen Fry) performs a hand slap -trousers down -life is just a scream routine with Lieutenant George (Hugh Laurie) .

    IIRC correctly General Hogmanay correctly identified Queens or was it Hull as one of the better universities? 🙂

    University education ye can’t beat it !

  • SU Mag

    “Its a pity that unionists now have let the Union go to the dogs. Controlled by republicans and nationalists, just when unionism was making inroads.

    The Dup and UUP are not what they were. The place is now dominated bY the greens and alliance and…


    Posted by Simons on Feb 06, 2008 @ 08:00 AM”

    Ciarnan Helferty ( VP Welfare)

    What is it they say?

    Self praise is no praise?

    Get a lift and all the best with the Presidential campaign.

  • joeCanuck

    McCann was certainly a hero and inspiration to us in the North West, Rory.

  • joeCanuck

    Us young’uns that is.

  • Joe, you can probably see from this McCann article why the Irish State and Church authorities stepped in to the nip the intended Castro-style revolution across the island in the bud:

    “This [26 county educational] system can only be changed when the state in whose image it is constructed is changed. The managerial system must be smashed; control must be taken out of the hands of the clergy; the totalitarian mysticism of John McQuade must be relegated to the rubbish heap where it belongs; control of education must be in the hands of popularly elected committees … the struggle to achieve it must be seen in the context of the struggle for an Irish Worker’s Republic” .. Irish Militant, March, 1967.

    Might Ruane be a ‘disciple’ of McCann’s? 😉

  • joeCanuck

    yes, Nevin.
    That’s why I qualified it by “young’uns”. The “elders” were horrified/terrified.

  • Shamed by declining educational standards!

    Breaking news!

    Rooster does not get potato joke!