The British ‘Honours System’ – does it stink?

savileawardSir Savile

The New Year honours list was officially released today [it was partially leaked before of course – with a few wrong names inserted in an attempt to cover the perpetrators’ tracks]. Over another one thousand people have received an award – is that overkill or not?

It contains a shed load of names you have never heard of and will never hear of again no doubt; it contains names you have heard of and wish you hadn’t, so you can’t understand why they are there; it may even contain some names you recognise and are pleased that they have been given an award. For the most part you probably couldn’t give a damn, eh?

For the most part it is all an element of an abusive, if not corrupt, farcical game. This is one of the so called ‘Queen’s’ honours list, whereas in fact Her Majesty has no say in it whatsoever – it is simply a vehicle to give others in the Establishment [primarily the Prime Minister of the day] the power to reward a frequently undeserving and sycophantic set of individuals with a bauble, potential public acclaim, a respected position in society, the opportunity to promote themselves with unearned & undeserved letters before or after their name, and the ability to try to lord it over others for the rest of their predominantly sad lives, don’t you think?

It is also used to create peerages – that is membership of the exclusive London club called the House of Lords (where you don’t have to attend but can get quite a few bob by turning up, can get expensive food and champagne really cheap, and you can suddenly become a legislator despite being elected by nobody – nice eh? [Prime Ministers have the unbelievable power to stuff the Lords with their own people – David Cameron (Con) wasted no time in creating 122 life peers (trouncing ALL others before him!).

The supposed rules are that nobody is told they are even ‘nominated’ for an award, but the truth is that many jobs in the Civil Service and in Industry come with an ‘unwritten’ contract inclusion (unlike pension & BUPA cover which are fully detailed) that an honour will be on the way as well. If you are a major political party donor you have again an ‘unwritten’ expectation that you will get an appropriate award – it’s called money for honours isn’t it?

It is a sickening fact that the bulk of those getting any award have done nothing but their job, which has often earned them a good living and amassed them a fortune. An accomplished actress gets an award for services to the theatre which actually has simply provided her with riches and fame (and no doubt a few husbands on the way); an industrialist who earns a million a year and sacks some of his workforce to achieve efficiency and increase shareholder profit is feted for services to his profession; the personality figure selected for recognition for commitment to charity has never given them a dime, but attends fund raising events only to promote their own persona, You see that is really how it goes, doesn’t it?

Each year there are always two honours lists (claimed supposedly as rewards for achievement) – so today’s ‘New Year Honours List’ will be followed in the summer by the ‘Queen’s Birthday Honours List’, but also additionally in mid 2015 the ‘Dissolution Honours List’ when the current Government will certainly have to pack its bags and then strenuously reward its supporters and has beens.

One of the press publications recently claimed that £3000 will buy an MBE, and regularly other newspaper investigations have revealed huge abuses and flaws in the system whereby applications are even made on behalf of nominees and indeed draft letters provided in their support – and that type of exposure is the tip of the iceberg, surely? Twenty years ago the honours’ nomination process was opened-up to the public, and that simply further opened the floodgates for abuse.

Most of us are unlikely to be nominated for any honours of course, but think carefully if you are (you are allowed to refuse, you know).

Do you really want to join the ranks of the likes of Jimmy Savile, a full Sir indeed, nominated for for services to charity and broadcasting instead of child abuse? Jockey Lester Piggott OBE jailed for tax fraud? Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu given a knighthood? Knighted spy & traitor Anthony Blunt of MI5 who supplied our secrets to the Soviets? Rolf Harris awarded MBE, OBE, CBE, Officer of the Order of Australia, before finally being convicted of child abuse? Lewis Hamilton awarded an MBE even after absconding from the UK to avoid paying taxes (despite supposed validity checks by HM Revenue and Customs!)? Zimbabwean dictatorial President Robert Mugabe another honorary knighthood?. Naseem Hamed MBE former world boxing champion jailed for causing another car driver fractures to every major bone in his body?. Guinness Four convicted colossal shares fiddler Jack Lyons, previously given a knighthood? Italy’s Fascist leader Benito Mussolini given a honorary knighthood? Former RBS boss Fred Goodwin provided a knighthood before his pivotal role was uncovered in the bank’s near collapse?

See a top name exposed in the media as a charlatan and you will no doubt see that they have also figured well in the Honours system – why is that do you think? Does that give you any confidence in the value of the awards, or do you conclude that the outcomes cast dark shadows on the UK Honours system which then isn’t fit for purpose?

Can the problem be solved? Can the stench be eliminated? Yes quite easily – simply restrict the honours to a certain number anytime in each category (like only sixty five are allowed to hold the Companion of Honour at any time). That is simple isn’t it everyone?


[Perhaps some readers of this blog will visit me in the Tower when the British authorities read this?]


What do people get?

CH, Knight/Dame, CBE, OBE, MBE, BEM,

Overseas Territories Police and Fire Service Medals,

RVO (an award given by the Queen),

George Cross (for acts of heroism and courage in extreme danger), George Medal (for acts of great bravery), Queen’s Gallantry Medal (for special acts of bravery), Queen’s Commendation for Bravery and Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the Air (for risk to life).


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