Friday, 8 May 2009
Honour killing

Further to Esmerelda's post about honours, The Times has this:

The ruling by the Privy Council highlights just one potential absurdity in a system that is built on anachronism. Most Excellent Order of the British Empire? Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath? It is hard not to laugh when faced with such archaic titles; to complain about the Trinity Cross, on the ground that the recipient might not believe in the Christian God, is a bit rich when it is rather harder to believe in the British Empire, which does not actually exist any more.

Five years ago a committee of MPs recommended a pretty radical overhaul of the system. Knighthoods and damehoods should go, they said, because they are associated with “rank and class”, and the Order of the British Empire — “redolent of an imperial history” — should be replaced so that a CBE would become a Companion of British Excellence.

How drab. It is only when one starts considering the alternatives to the current arrangement that it becomes apparent that, however flawed it may be, anything is preferable to a system of honours that has all the magic of a PR handout and whose only distinguishing characteristic is a desire not to offend.

How about CBTQ - Companion of British Total Quality; or BCD - British Customer Delight; or BBP - Best British Practices? But, as the article points out, even this levelling down doesn't go far enough:

And, anyway, what is wrong with a bit of history? If we rename our honours now, we will only have to rename them again in a century or so when some attention-seeker decides that the Order of British Excellence is elitist, or discriminatory, or just too British. 


Posted on 05/08/2009 9:03 AM by Mary Jackson
8 May 2009
Hugh Fitzgerald

The very idea of "excellence" is elitist, and therefore must go. We are all equally excellent. Or, if we are not all equally excellent, then something is wrong with The System, and The System then must be changed, and changed, and changed again, until we are all, as of course nature fully meant us to be, Equally Excellent.