At about quarter past midnight last night, I lost it a bit on Twitter…
You see, an honours system is only worth having if it is respected by the people. and not devalued by those responsible for bestowing honours. So who the effing hell thought it ws a good idea to give a Knighthood – a Knighthood FFS! – to the man who presided over banking regulation in the years leading up to the credit crisis of 2008, and was actually chief executive of the FSA when it broke. Yes, step forward Sir Hector bloody Sants. I’ve never met him, I don’t know him, for all I know he is very nice to children and animals, but whatever his qualities, he is surely one of the key people responsible for what happened to our banking system and who failed to see it coming.
So in typical Sir Humphrey style, he isn’t fired,he is rewarded. Oh, and just for good measure he’s about to take up a £3 million a year appointment as Head of Compliance at Barclays. The good old boys network is still very much alive and well in the British Establishment, The Guardian comments…
By recommending Sants for a top honour, ministers are signalling their unequivocal gratitude for his contribution to keeping the banking system from systemic meltdown.
Are they indeed. Well that’s not how the rest of us will see it.
And then there’s Peter bloody Hendy. He’s also been made a Knight of the Realm. For what? Presiding over one of the worst run and profligate quangos in Britain, Transport for London? Perhaps it’s for continuing to implement a London transport policy dreamt up by Ken Livingstone, and constantly pulling the wool over Boris Johnson’s eyes. Oh how I wish I was on LBC tomorrow morning to pour a warm bucket of shit over this Honours List.
Let’s look at the political section of the Honours List. Damehoods are awarded to Margaret Beckett and Angela Watkinson. Delighted for both of them. But isn’t there a little inconsistency here. One has been an MP since 1974. The other since 1997. One has been Leader of a political party and Foreign Secretary. The other has been an Assistant Whip. On the plus side I am delighted Richard Shepherd has been given a Knighthood – a true Parliamentarian. There are also OBEs and CBEs for two LibDem MPs Annette Brooke and Roger Williams, and an OBE for former Tory MP Christopher Fraser – seemingly a consolation for the Peerage which has never been forthcoming. The ever so nice Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the LibDems on the GLA gets an MBE.
Unsurprisingly the odd Tory donor gets a gong too, leading Labour’s Michal Dugher to puff himself up into self righteous indignation…
“By doling out knighthoods and other honours to big money Tory Party donors… David Cameron shows once again how out of out of touch he is and how he always stands up for the wrong people,”
What a short memory he has. LibDem Peer and all round sage on matters related to Vince Cable, Lord Oakeshott is also quick to stick the knife in…
“It’s Arise, Sir Donor, as usual.”
Not a comment from him on the OBE for LibDem money man Andrew Wiseman, though. Funny that.*
There is much comment in the papers about the CBE for Cherie Blair. Frankly, I have no issue with it. She has indeed done a lot for various charities and womens’ issues. At least there is a logic to her gong, unlike many others. So sorry to disappoint, no rant against Cherie from me.
Finally, the Olympics. Actually, I think a good job has been done here, by and large. There has been much comment that Mo Farah should have got a Knighthood and Jessica Ennis a Damehood. I beg to differ. They are mid career, not reaching the end. What happens if in Rio Mo Farah repeats his double gold? Would he then get a Peerage? Shame on anyone who believes their lesser honours are as a result of innate racism in the honours system.
A word on Ken Livingstone. On his LBC show this morning he revealed he had turned down a CBE for his role in securing the London Olympics. Good on him, in some ways, for sticking to his principles.
And finally, many congratulations to my colleague at Global Radio, Darren Henley, who is head of Classic FM. He got an OBE for the work he has done for the government on music in education.
UPDATE: Just seen that Mary Beard got an OBE. Delighted. And deserved.
UPDATE: Oops. I had thought Andrew Wiseman was LibDem Treasurer. Turns out he is their Conference Committee chairman, not Treasurer. Sorry!