Love will Voltaire us apart

The Chamberlain Awards, are a four-year old initiative from Birmingham City Council to reward exceptional customer service from council employees. A lovely idea, and if you have a favourite council employee I’d encourage you to vote using the clumsy nomination forms available here (closes on the 27th June).

I was slightly amused, however, by the tone of the press release — a minefield of corporate bollockspeak that ends with the incongruous sight of Councillor Alan Rudge quoting Voltaire thus:

The 18th century French philosopher Voltaire understood the importance of recognition when he said:

‘Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.’

It’s not just that it seems a touch out of place, Voltaire was a noted ironist and the quotation is far more likely to be a stab at those who cynically claim reflected glory, which is ironic, don’t you think?