The Plastic Hippo

August 3, 2016

Honours among thieves

It is probably just a simple oversight or a minor administrative error or an honest to goodness human mistake but after days and days of waiting for the postman to arrive with confirmation, it seems than my name does not appear on David Cameron`s resignation honours list conveniently leaked to a Murdoch newspaper.

The fact that I am eminently qualified to be ennobled and thus elevated above the hoi polloi makes the omission even more inexplicable. I tirelessly supported the “Remain” campaign by bunging a load of cash at it. I instructed my newspaper editors to inform the public that my opinion is the only infallible truth and I defended democracy by bunging a load of cash to the political party that best serves my interests. I opened a Free School and used the funding to pay off the mortgages on my property portfolio and placed impoverish children in solitary confinement until their scrounging parents paid the lunch bill. I opened a chain of Academies and removed impoverished children and disruptive pupils displaying so-called special needs determined to spoil my reputation as an evangelical philanthropist.

I siphoned millions from my company pension schemes and then sold the lot for a quid. I managed the NHS to ruin and I spent millions on lawyers to appeal against court decisions forcing the NHS to waste millions on life-saving medication. I made a mess of Network Rail, British Steel, the armed forces, utility companies and manufacturing industry. I run vast care home estates which are both profitable and dangerous. I have made myself a national television treasure allowing me access to children in hospitals when nobody is looking. This surely entitles me to at least an M.B.E. A more appropriate honour to recognise my outstanding service to the public would be a peerage which would allow me to pack the House of Lords and make laws that the public must obey. A million quid is a fair admission price to government in anybody`s money.

Given the long tradition of bestowing honours on deserving citizens rich enough to donate, lend or simply slip a considerable wedge of unmarked tenners under the table, my humble contribution to society must be worth a knighthood at least. Lloyd George`s resignation list in 1922 happily advertised knighthoods for £10,000 a pop and a peerage was on offer for £40,000. Harold Wilson resigned in 1976 and his resignation largess became known as the “Lavender List”. It has long been thought that the list was on lavender scented paper but it might be because it contained the names of the Lavender Hill Mob. Tony Blair didn`t need to resign before offering peerages to wealthy Labour donors in 2006. Although interviewed by the police, the first ever serving British Prime Minister to have his collar felt, Teflon Tony again avoided any sanction when the Crown Prosecution Service decided that there was insufficient evidence to justify an arrest. If Blair can get away with piffling financial irregularities then he can certainly get away with an illegal war.

Prime Ministers are not alone in exploiting the power of glittering prizes. Coming to the end of long if mixed political careers and confident of elevation to the Lords, Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind were happy to whore their alleged influence for money. Ironically, Jack`s son Will seems to have been offered a gong in Cameron`s stated crusade against cronyism. The former Prime Minister has some form in rewarding his chums and returning favours. He once awarded his barber an M.B.E. and gave a knighthood to Lynton Crosby presumably for services to negative campaigning and dirty tricks.

Mercifully, the British honours system is pragmatic enough to bestow lower denomination awards upon token little people to indicate an egalitarian and democratic meritocracy. But once the cosmetic lollipop ladies, bus drivers, community busybodies and triumphant sportspersons are removed from the Honours List, we are left with “the Establishment” giving medals to “the Establishment” in a relationship similar to that between Dick Dastardly and Muttley. It is almost as if the captains of industry require a formal statute confirming that they should be known forever as “Sir” or “Lord”.

The postman still hasn`t turned up with the letter from the Queen; it`s obviously some clerical glitch or other. Mind you, thinking about the kind of people being honoured perhaps being overlooked yet again is not such a bad thing.

Who would wish to be associated with an elite gang of liars, cheats, fraudsters, perverts and egomaniacs? As an old boss once said to me on my first day in a new job;
“Don`t call me sir – I work for a living.



  1. The idea of bestowing honours and social rank is endemic to the human condition. It remains a privilege confined to those who have already been ‘chosen’ to act on our behalf.

    But it is not well monitored.

    As the current passion is for referenda and performance targets, why not combine the old with the new?

    By all means allow the granting of tributes, but follow it up with an annual performance review by locally elected panels of ordinary folk?

    Fairness suggests that the evaluation should be measured against set objectives. Initially set by the recipient against set criteria, these should be published in advance. Although the criteria may be moved at any time and without notice, they will still apply.

    If found terminally wanting, the recipient of any major honour would be immediately stripped, striped and be forced to retrain in the national Academy for the Rehabilitation of Seriously Engaged Sycophants. The grantees and proposer would be similarly treated.

    Commonly known as ARSES, this institution would be run at a brisk pace. There will be no privileges – not even an MBE. There will be no tolerance of bribery, corruption and duplicity.

    New bodies, such as OFFNOB and OFFNIGHT could be established to regulate the process and ensure that the punishment fitted.

    An occupant grading method would seem sensible. As there are already systems in place, there is no need to re-invent the wheel. OFSTED leads the way, so why copy?.

    All of this would have be overseen. Perhaps by the Government Office for Behaviour Scrutiny Honesty Integrity Trust and Engagement – GOBSHITE.

    At worst, it would rapidly dispose of people such as Green, Straw, Crosby, Ashcroft and those others who lied, stolen, cheated and insulted the notion of common decency in the name of ‘honour’.

    At best, it will create a rake of new jobs and structures.

    Perhaps Theresa could look into the idea.

    The Realist

    Comment by The Realist — August 3, 2016 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

  2. Nice to see Shami rewarded for burying Labours antisemitism issue.
    NUS Jewish members will obviously be delighted.

    Comment by Rob — August 4, 2016 @ 10:48 pm | Reply

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