Knighthood for Sir Alan!

Alan Bates leaving court in 2019 after winning the first trial in Bates v Post Office

Alan Bates has been knighted in the King’s Birthday honours list. He described the award as “a very pleasant surprise”, telling BBC News’ Emma Simpson “I knew so many people who were keen for me to actually receive something, I felt I would be insulting them as much as anyone else if I refused it at this time.”

I am delighted for Sir Alan, and I am glad he has been recognised in this way. I think he was right to turn the OBE down and right to accept the K. I think this goes a tiny way towards putting some credibiity back into our honours system.

Bates told Simpson he found out he was being offered the award via email whilst he was down in London to watch the first day of Paula Vennells’ evidence at the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry. His first reaction was “this is weird!” – especially as he was told he had to inform the honours committee whether he would accept the award by the end of the day.

I’ve told Alan’s story many times over the years, most comprehensively in my book. You can also read my write-up of his evidence to the inquiry earlier this year, or read it in his own words in his witness statement on the inquiry website.

Bates told Simpson he was going to continue fighting for compensation for the Subpostmasters who fought the Post Office in the epic legal battle which bore his name, and he remains determined to take (a new Labour?) government to court if it doesn’t make good on this administration’s promise to pay proper financial redress.

Whilst Sir Alan has achieved a phenomenal amount through his own hard graft, there are other former campaigning Subpostmasters and professionals who supported those Subpostmasters I would like to see honoured too. I won’t name them – save Julian Wilson, who I would love to see getting posthumous recognition. I’m not suggesting they should all get Knight or Dame-hoods, but they deserve credit. It would also go some way to levelling up the distribution of honours in this country. Perhaps that will start to happen in the near future.

Today, though, belongs to Sir Alan. Hopefully he will take a moment to step back, look at all he’s achieved and give himself a pat on the back. I offer him my warmest congratulations.

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48 responses to “Knighthood for Sir Alan!”

  1. Congratulations Sir Alan! Perhaps a life peerage as well? We certainly need people like him in the House of Lords, there are too many others with peerages who are completely undeserving of the position.

  2. I believe this is just another chapter in the “cover-up” – have an inquiry – now give a gong – “we are making good progress” – it’s all now in the open – etc.
    The Inquiry has predominantly concentrated on 2010 onwards – the “cover-up” – when most of the 6000 Post Offices had already been closed by that time – from 2003 to 2010 under the Stewardship of Adam Crozier – that is when it appears the real “crime” was committed – that should be the primary focus and concern of the Inquiry – first prove any “crime” and find the real perpetrators – but of course that is the old Horizon Legacy that no one could or seemingly can look into. Once the “crime” is discovered then – and only then – does the real reason for the cover-up become obvious – since right now none of it makes sense. What is really being hidden?

  3. In alternative universe in 2001 somebody is saying ‘you were right about those transactions Mr Bates, we have set up a working party to make sure we have better ways of tracking faults, would you be able to provide some paid consultancy on this?’

    1. In an alternative universe Alan Bates should have been made CEO of the Post Office around 2010.

  4. Warmest congratulations to the chap. He has changed forever the way large corporations will interact with the most important asset of all ….their staff!

  5. Excellent news. A man of integrity and determination undaunted by corporate arrogance and bullying. It’s another scandal his ( and so many others) financial redress has been begrudgingly withheld perhaps out of sheer spite for what these brave people have exposed. All the while lawyers gorge themselves in yet another feeding frenzy and belatedly toss crumbs to the real victims.
    Congratulations to Sir Alan !

  6. No honours list award will compensate the wronged sun postmasters and mistresses. What is needed is proper financial recompense and criminal prosecutions of those responsible.

    1. Frances Taylor avatar
      Frances Taylor

      Hear hear. Can’t wait to see what happens to these criminals and it had better be worth waiting for. They need a big taste of their own medicine. Financial ruin and jail.

  7. The unassuming peoples champion, ever faithfully tilting against the darkened monolithic arrogant POL wind-bagger 288 as it ground subpostmasters families into dust. It is hard not to be taken by how impressively he articulated each and every POL failing in this endless saga. Arise Sir Alan Bates, once more unto the breach dear friends, once more.

  8. So lovely to see Alan Bates’ dedication and hard work recognised and rewarded in the King’s Birthday honours. A knighthood is no more than he deserves.

  9. News of Sir Alan’s knighthood has made me so happy! The ‘little people’ strike back.

  10. Although no fan of the honours system I must say that this is well deserved. However, I have a nasty feeling that this is what the establishment thinks that ‘justice’ looks like in this case, i.e. dishing a symbolic ‘gong’ for one high profile campaigner. Not until the likes of Perkins, Vennells, Van den Bogerd, Parsons et al end up being prosecuted in a court of law and proper levels of compensation paid out to the victims will there be any chance of anything like real justice. I hope Sir Alan is able to keep up the good fight for both of those goals.

  11. This is a fair take, but until there is a ban on honours for civil servants, politicians and people whose sole contribution to the public good has already been adequately compensated (professional sportspeople, entertainers) and especially those whose contribution to the public sphere has been their own enrichment (“services to business” I mean come on) then the genuinely deserving of public recognition, like Sir Alan Bates are diminished by the company they are obliged to keep. I understand his rationale for accepting the award but I’m still disappointed that he did. He validates a system not deserving of his imprimatur.

    1. I agree. My respect for this man is very high. The work I did/chose to do, made enemies in more than one bureaucracy. Now 80, I regret nothing; I would do it all again.
      BUT: most all dysfunction/failure/cover up, – and downright corruption are down to one thing alone; the protection of system; the protection of executive hierarchy. In other words, The Establishment.

      The British system of handing out titles, sometimes for pretty spurious reasons, – is classic Establishment. The same Establishment currently protecting their sleazy backs in court, the same Establishment (of any shade) who set that system in place. THEY are the ones ultimately, who caused the heartbreak; the stress; – and suicide of these poor s.ods.
      And they now give a patronising pat on the head reward to the man who coordinated the group to expose them. I understand the proviso of Vennells handing her gong back, (awarded by the same mob), but I cannot in all conscience be anything but disappointed that Mr Bates took their forty pieces of silver.
      Sorry Alan, but no.

  12. I have no interest in the honours system normally, as it seems highly corrupt.
    However, Sir Alan is absolutely the right sort of person to be honoured.
    I get the impression he might not have accepted this if it weren’t to help him continue with his outstanding work for the postmasters.

  13. Andrew Watson avatar

    A good start, but not enough – give the man a life peerage, so that he can go to the House of Lords and shake things up a bit.

    Meanwhile, congratulations Sir Alan!

    1. Angela Mollison avatar
      Angela Mollison

      Agree 100%!

  14. This is amazing news. I’ve followed this since reading your book 3 years ago. Alan is a true hero and I am delighted his intervention has been recognised. For sure his tenacity and pursuit of the truth has made a massive difference to subpostmaster’s lives going forward. Hoping the inquiry findings will be faithful
    to the facts of the case

  15. Very well deserved. You’ve earned it and more Sir Alan.

  16. Congratulations Sir Alan of Bates!!
    Well deserved and wonderful that he accepts it on behalf of all the maligned SPMs.

    Great job!

    I just rewatched the Bates (oops… Sir! ….) video at the Inquiry and what a stark contrast to POL’s apparatchiks – honest and absolutely no side to him at all. It was obvious he was very happy to have the HighCourt judgement in his pocket (rightly so) and it was pretty obvious what he thought of Ed Davey too ( not much!). Delighted for you Sir! 😁

  17. A hero for our times.

    To him this is just another step forward in the battle of attrition. Accepting the honour helps retain the moral high ground while gaining further tactical and moral advantage over a still formidable foe.

    An enemy of corporate psychopaths prepared to throw huge resources at the taxpayers expense to overwhelm the forces of law, order and justice. A set of unethical and arrogant lawyers prepared to trample on the rights of the little people. The lawyers happy to avoid disclosure, cover up, take £millions in taxpayers money then Grabbitt and Runne.

    Sir Alan is the popular defender of British values and democracy. A Churchillian stoic who offered blood, tears, toil and sweat against a monstrous corporate tyranny.

    The bright gleam of the Kings sword about to knight our hero has warmed and cheered our hearts.

    Onwards to victory Sir Alan.

    Only when the enemy is totally routed and destroyed as a force of corporate tyranny will we be able to celebrate.

    In the court of public opinion the Post Office are guilty. They need to be put on trial though in the very courts they have misused and disgraced by their actions or inactions.

    Victory in this battle for the soul of Britain is vital. Without total victory there is no survival for hope, no survival for justice, no survival for British values, no survival for everything that British democracy stands for.

    Starmer should completely rebuild and rename the Post Office. It is a dead parrot. He needs to sort out Whitehall and the quangos as well. Make them meet in Runnymede and Fenny Compton. Feel the force of righteous defiance and justice.

    Perhaps one day Sir Alan will be made Lord Fenny Compton and give advice in the HOL to Lord Neuberger and Grabbitt on legal ethics.

    A two fingered salute to the Post Office and their lackey lawyers.

  18. deepinder cheema avatar
    deepinder cheema

    I recall being at the Inquiry in January and a huddle of postmasters in the corner of the room were talking about Mr Alan getting a knighthood. It was suggested that it would be more useful if he became Lord Alan where his experience of getting to the heart of issues would be very useful

  19. As a Knight of The Realm, Sir Alan should be free to throw a gauntlet down to Vennells (plus then exec team), The Post Office Board, Fujitsu UK Board for a mortal combat challenge. Such a challenge that must be calibrated in line with the odds that these disgraced power abusers stacked against Sir Alan and his 550 postmasters 20-years.

    In true Knighly gentleness, Sir Alan should offer them a final chance to tell the truth of what they did and seek a repose at their leisure pardon and unlimited community service from their remaining spared time on Earth and their significant pension pots.

    Otherwise….find a squire and armour up!

    This time face to face without the protections of taxpayer funded legals and state backed power.

  20. Sir Alan Bates is the first UK Whistleblower to be Knighted , he deserves this honour.

    He blew his whistle at very start of Horizon scandal and POL terminated his contract – making a small fortune for POL in the process, sadly POL repeated this process for 20 more years…..

    until Fujitsu Whistleblower blew his whistle and exposed Horizon flaws … sadly he lost 20year IT career in process, but he told truth,whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    Two honourable whistleblowers in POL scandal. just one honoured so far…

  21. Alan Cornforth avatar
    Alan Cornforth

    I’m pleased Alan Bates has been given some recognition but I am no fan of the honours system. Too many Sirs, Lords, etc have besmirched the honour by acting dis-honourably – many in this sorry tale.

    I would love to see a new honour, voted for by the people, that recognises contributions to the betterment of society and I would be happy to address somebody by that title. In the meantime, I will be happy to call him Mr Bates, a tenacious man who never knew when to stop – thankfully!

  22. Jane Stringer avatar

    There is no worthier recipient of a Knighthood, than Alan Bates, for his outstanding determination and doggedness, in striving to get justice for all the wronged sub-postmasters. Congratulations to him. One in the eye for Vennells!

  23. Mr. David R Carter avatar
    Mr. David R Carter

    I said to my lovely wife several weeks ago. If anyone deserves a gong, it must be Mr. Bates. Well done Sir Alan and you jolly well deserve it too. Unlike several others, that spring to my mind, and one in particular.

    But still Post Office are dragging their heels. What the legal beavers should be doing, is reimbursing all the monies that have been STOLEN from THEM first and foremost. After which serious compensation packages should be forthcoming.

    BUT firstly. It’s high time to give them back THEIR MONEY! Obviously with the appropriate amounts of interest added.

  24. margie george avatar

    Congratulations Alan for being truly a Knight in shining armour who is still rescuing oppressed, scandalised SPM’s to this day. Delighted you are happy to receive this award on behalf of all SPM’s and you genuinely deserve to be call ”Sir.”

  25. David Scothorn avatar
    David Scothorn

    Congratulations, Sir Alan!
    If anyone deserves an honour, it is you.

  26. I think that this award fails to recognise the amount of work Sir Alan Bates has put in over the years for so many people. In my view, he should be given a seat in the House of Lords to which so many less deserving people have been sent. Far less deserving politicians and senior civil servants have had this opportunity to affect legislation. Let a much more deserving person help to improve the running of our country.

  27. Absolutely and utterly deserved. Big steps being made – all convictions overturned, the mad processes of the Post Office exposed – with months of mindlessness yet to be revealed. However, are there any people who lost money who are still waiting for the cash to enable them to get on with their lives? Are they not the priority?

  28. Congratulations Sir Alan.👏👏👏Well deserved for decades of fighting lies and corruption at the Post Office. I hope you finally receive your full restitution very soon. Hard to believe that kiwi heads up the PO compensation team. Or does he any more??

  29. Gerald Davison avatar
    Gerald Davison

    Just…. brilliant.

  30. Sir Alan. At long last a decent ordinary man gets a decent extraordinary honour. Sir Alan knows my friend Tony Collins who was the first to get the Post Office story up in Computer Weekly. Good on you (Sir) Alan Bates. And good on Tony too.

    Sir Alan ! Long past time an (extraordinary) ordinary person got an extraordinary well earned honour. Lets recall Tony Collins who was the first to get the post office story into the media at Computer Weekly, which ran the next big one (surveillance), first, in 2013. The stuff coming out this week at the Inquiry is unbelievable with the PO Lawyers still trying to make excuses. Toss pots the lot of them.
    Warm regards Kevin Cahill life member of the NUJ and former departmental editor at Computer Weekly.

    1. It is with great satisfaction that I share the commendable news of Sir Alan Bates, a man characterized by his integrity and unwavering determination, who fearlessly confronted corporate arrogance and bullying. It is disconcerting to learn that the financial redress owed to Sir Bates, and others who shared similar experiences, has been begrudgingly withheld, and presumably driven by a sense of spite towards their courageous endeavours. The prevalence of cover-ups perpetuated by public servants, government authorities, and their highly remunerated legal representatives during the Casualties of Telstra arbitrations of the 1990s is deeply troubling, further compounded by the tokenistic compensation extended to the genuine victims of these transgressions. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Sir Alan Bates for his valiant actions. He has earned the right to take pride in the life he has built. Alan Smith, representing the Casualties of Telstra in Australia

  31. Anthony Frewin avatar
    Anthony Frewin

    Well, we’ve heard that before: I’ve accepted the honour on behalf of WHOEVER. He should have told them to stuff the knighthood and get on with the compensation.

  32. I hate the honours system but I can’t begrudge Alan a gong. As long as the whole rotten system and the lackeys and the makeweights that have had it too good, for too long get what’s coming to them…..great!
    DO make it prison for Dame Paula and the other criminals.

  33. Jamie Campbell avatar
    Jamie Campbell

    I’m absurdly happy he’s got a knighthood, and so glad he accepted it. He’s right, many people wanted his lifetime achievements to be recognised in this way.

  34. Perhaps, in peacetime, it might be apprpriate to quote Sir Winston Churchill’s famous phrase about “the few” with regard to(the now) Sir Alan Bates immense efforts in the quest for justice and truth.
    For subpostmasters/mistresses, “never has so much been owed by so many(spmrs) to so few!”

  35. Love that Sir Alan said others might be insulted if he turned it down. If ever an award was warranted… good for Sir Alan!

  36. A whole country stands behind him and his work.

    You are very right to note the honours system being used for something noble for once.

    A great honour for a great man. Congratulations Alan!

    1. Well done, Sir Alan Bates. Best wishes from the Australian website

    2. Agreed.

      Justice delayed is justice denied.

      All of the campaigners must be honored .
      A huge thank you must also go to the press who did not let the story die. Well done to Computer weekly , Private Eye ,Nick Wallis, Channel 4 , ITV and all of the press

  37. Brilliant. This is who awards should be given to, not politicians and their ‘donors’ and people who were just doing their jobs for which they are well paid – civil servants, police commissioners, leaders of industry etc. Well done Sir Alan. Now full redress is needed for everyone – a first test for Starmer (Sir Keir!!) I assume.

    1. Michael Larkin avatar

      Pleased as punch about this. A just reward for an honest, brave and indefatigable campaigner against astonishing and corrupt venality on the part of the Post Office — not to mention on that of a number of others in government and the legal establishment. I look forward to the final investigation report — let’s hope sir Wyn Williams doesn’t pull any punches.

      1. I don’t think Sir Wyn’s report will pull any punches – it will rip POL to shreds

        1. PCOJ Investigator avatar
          PCOJ Investigator

          The likes of Grabiner, Neuberger and others complicit in the outrageous attempt to get Mr Justice Fraswe kicked off the trial will call for Sir Wyn Williams TO BE RECUSED, mark my words!

          The sheer front and audactity of these villains is not to be underestimated.

          And Mrs Jack Straw’s husband knows where so many Labour bodies are buried that Starmer will be terrified of allowing prosecutions.

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