» Tuesday, July 13, 2004


Asked for a reaction to this morning’s Public Administration Select Committee report on the Honours system, the PMOS said that as he had told journalists this morning, we would respond to it in due course, in the normal way.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news


  1. I do not believe the Honours system should be changed, for whilst it may be called "outdated", I, (like many others I’m sure), consider this a harmless tradition and a component of English life that adds colour to a society that is becoming increasingly grey.

    And to claim that the use of the word "Empire" is inappropriate, or something to be embarrassed about is also wrong. We should not be ashamed of events that were appropriate in their historical context, whereas we can be proud of the contribution we have made to much of the world, and the way our country has managed the break-up of its empire.

    I am mildly irritated that MPs are spending time debating this topic, when there are so many far more important things that require attention.

    Comment by Ivan Sarti — 17 Jul 2004 on 9:52 am | Link
  2. This is a strange, strange issue. My gut reaction, alongside many, is that there’s little point in changing the system for the sake of "political correctness".

    Unless, of course you, like many others, happen to tune into This Week on the BBC, and listen to Michael Portillo *defend* the current honours regime…

    – …and admit that the current system is abused,
    – admit that the current system is used to buy favors from individuals,
    – state that the word "empire" is purely historical, and is uncomfortable with any need to change it, despite its negative connotations,

    and on, and on, all without any real hard definition as to why it shouldn’t change.

    I’ll say this: The reasons to change it are crystal clear.

    – The system is horribly abused; examples of that abuse have existed for many, many years now.
    – The system upholds and highlights the classism rife in Britain today.
    – Individuals are getting bought off with peerage and other honours.
    – The word empire has negative connotations in a world trying to rid itself of its history of empire-building, and Britain has a good reason to lose that connotation whereever it can.

    And more. But the defenders’ reasons to keep it? There’s that ‘gray’ you were talking about earlier; shadowy and unkempt, the reasons to keep it, and the people trying to convince us to do so, are more convincing than the actual reasons to get rid of it.

    It wasn’t until Portillo opened his mouth to defend the existing system that I became convinced that it had to go.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 19 Jul 2004 on 10:13 am | Link
  3. I am ALL for making some money out of the honour`s system,sell them and put the money into the public purse.People that do thing`s for the nation/other people do it because it is the right thing to do and there payback is the fact they done it and we the people KNOW it WE KNOW IT and hold them in high regard anyway.All the honour`s in the world don`t/can`t match that.

    Comment by george dutton — 7 Aug 2004 on 11:48 am | Link

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