Sunday, May 28, 2006

"Honours" List

The Honours system has been a bit of a joke for a while. Today there's news that Michael Winner (of all people) had declined an OBE because he claimed that the system had been devalued by honours presented to people who had merely contributed money to political parties. 'Twas ever thus, though, as reading a couple of Saki's short stories will show - and these were written prior to 1914. Or the I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again team's satirical comments about the Wilson Honours in their shows. However, it also seems that part of Mr Winner's argument for declining the OBE was his annoyance at not being offered a greater honour.

There does seem to be a difference in why honours are awarded: for genuinely good works for the local or national community; for sporting or similar achievement (such as were handed out to the Beatles, or last year to the England cricket team); or for those donating money to the current government. I agree that that any honours which make reference to the defunt British Empire should be discontinued, as were many honours which related to India when that country was part of the Empire. Something similar along the lines of reflecting the current Commonwealth would be a better idea. Perhaps those celebrating sporting or entertainment could be given separate orders, thus allowing the general public who are usually terrifically honoured by an MBE or OBE, to go on feeling honoured by the decoration, and not feel it devalued.

And as for the people who contribute cash or favours to the Government, well, the Order of the Brown Nose should be perfectly suitable...


At Mon May 29, 07:55:00 am, Blogger Who is this Dave? said...

I've always thought I'd be terribly excited to get an OBE, if I'd really done something to merit it (which I won't) but how would people know? It would be like my PhD which I have disowned, so that no one calls me 'Dr'.

Then last night (in one of those spooky coincidences, this tying-in with your post) an old boy came to church in his blazer with some form of club/ex-military insignia on the pocket - and I noticed on the lapel was an enamel badge (which he had presumably had made up, unless they give them out with the awards) saying 'Fred Smith OBE'.

I don't think so.

At Mon May 29, 07:57:00 am, Blogger Who is this Dave? said...

Actually, I think I'd rather have the George Cross, for some daring heroic deed, which I could be ever so modest about.

Just as long as it wasn't awarded posthumously.


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