So it’s nearing that time again. The gong show is about to start. It’s otherwise known as the Queen’s birthday honours list. That yearly exercise in snobbery that gives the recipient kudos and precedence, standing him out from the mob. It’s remained largely the same for donkeys years but hey come on, isn’t it about time the Queen broke that sword of chivalry across her arthritic knee? Back in the day when being a monarch actually meant something, knighthoods were bestowed at will to loyal followers of the king as a reward, and bribe for their services. Nowadays of course the Queen has less influence than the leader of UKIP, by the way who is it this week?
As the monarch’s power has declined, awarding honours has since become the plaything of our upstanding, expenses claiming politicians, who unashamedly use them to solicit party funds And by successive Prime Ministers to stuff the House of Lords, and laterly the Cabinet, with their often undeserving- cronies. More cynically they’re awarded as a sop to public opinion by dishing them out to C-list celebrities or minor sports stars. The only thing that stands between a knighthood and Simon Cowell is that not even the Queen can bring herself to utter the words ‘for services to music’
And of course David Beckham is up in his coat of arms that he was overlooked for his services to …. Himself. To be fair there was always more chance of a knighthood than a Balloon D’Or. Anyway, it seems that ‘Golden Balls’ is a bit pissed off to learn that there’s more chance of his missus singing the next James Bond theme tune than there is of him ever being referred to as a ‘Sir’. Back in 2001 Dave won a gold ‘Blue Peter badge’. But here’s an interesting fact. He’s never won the ‘PFA Footballer of the Year’ or ‘Players Player of the Year’ awards? But that didn’t stop the public voting for him in the ridiculous BBC ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ which remarkably, Dave won without ever owning one!
Of course many argue that any honour, including a knighthood, should be for those who go well beyond the call of duty, so giving a road sweeper a gong for keeping the roads swept is ridiculous. Fair enough, and of course if you want to nominate some deserving soul who works a thousand hours per week with disabled children then you can. But try it and see how many of them jump ahead of numerous, butt licking civil servants at the front of the queue. You know, the only people who still hold preoccupations with rank and class are the very politicians now complaining about it. Personally I just can’t see the point. Everything about knighting anybody is just antiquated. Gongs, medals and ribbons are things that should really only ever be seen on a Christmas tree.
But here’s the thing. Years ago my wife and I lost our first born daughter to a congenital heart defect. She lost her six month fight for life in Great Ormond Street Hospital, an establishment that transcends the need for pointless sword daubing. Whenever I think of my daughter I immediately see the face of the man who, for my money, has the worst job I’ve ever come across. Looking back I assume he must have been some kind of deceased/liaison/bereavement officer. Tears the size of small marbles bowled down his cheeks because one of his many unenviable tasks, was to ask still in shock and heartbroken parents, shortly after their devastating loss, if they wanted to donate any parts of their deceased child’s body. I’m sure that in his time he’s necessary request has been met by anger, disbelief, silence and probably a bit of violence. I am an avid lover of Indian food but I wouldn’t do his job for all of the pompodoms in Rusholme! If any man ever deserved to knighted … actually sainthood might be more appropriate?
9th February 2017