Sunday, 1 January 2017

The greatest honour is in declining one.

So we have the usual list of the great and good and the not so great and good  being awarded  gongs in the New  Years Honours.

A. J. P. Taylor, eminent British historian. on the honours system said

"The Establishment draws its recruits from outside as soon as they are ready to conform to its standards and become respectable. There is nothing more agreeable than to make peace with the Establishment – and nothing more corrupting."

At least this time we have  Lynne Faulds Wood said declining  an MBE, saying she objected to the word “empire” and labelled the current system outdated. She also spoke out against the honouring of political donors and the accusations of “cronyism” which have previously been associated with the honour's system.

and Professor Phil Scraton was named in the Queen's New Year's Honours List after a landmark ruling this year that the 96 who died in the stadium were 'unlawfully killed'.

But he has refused the Order of the British Empire honour in protest to years of inaction and because of a moral objection to historical 'imperialism'

My respect to them Indeed they maybe have the greatest "honour " in my mind.
 and as gongs are given out for sporting achievement willy nilly we may should be  reminded of 

Bill Woodfull, the  Australian cricketer; turned down offer of a knighthood for services to cricket in 1934, but accepted OBE for services to education in 1963 which he thought was more important.

The honours system has always been good . were those involved in naming Jimmy Saville  aware of the not so supple rumours when they nominated him for a Knighthood.

There seems to be some deliberate exclusions

The Actor David Niven returned from Hollywood as soon as World War  broke out

  He gave a few details of his war experience in his autobiography, The Moon's a Balloon: his private conversations with Winston Churchill, the bombing of London, and what it was like entering Germany with the occupation forces. Niven first met Churchill at a dinner party in February 1940. Churchill singled him out from the crowd and stated,

"Young man, you did a fine thing to give up your film career to fight for your country. Mark you, had you not done so − it would have been despicable."

So why wasn't  he knighted?

One story is that he was at a party during the war when the then heir to the throne Princes Elizabeth entered with her fiancee Prince Phillip of Greece  and Niven was heard to say 

"Oh no she's brought that bloody Greek"

Which might explain things

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