Thursday, June 01, 2006

OBE's, the award for 'toilet cleaners'

When I first read that the millionaire film-maker Michael Winner, turned down an OBE, I first thought, hello, never had Winner down as a republican, what's all that about? Only, later to discover the real reason he'd snubbed his nose up at an OBE was because he really did considered himself to be a real toff, and that OBE's were only fit for the likes of 'toilet cleaners'. It seemed for a minute that we were both on the same side, but we're not.

I can honestly say, without a shadow of doubt, that I would have to be dead before I knelt down on one knee, and kissed the hand of Her Majesty. Winner would have done it for a knighthood, he would have got down on his knee faster than you could say 'brown-nose'. To me, the hounors system, the Monarchy, and the House of Lords represents everything that is wrong in British society. Together, they represent what the revolutionary Tom Paine once referred to as 'the remains of aristocratical tyranny'. Over 200 years later, that tyranny is still a forceful kick in the teeth to the idea of a popular and meritocratic democracy. I think Winner did do the right thing when he turned down the OBE, but I also believe he did it for all the wrong reasons too.


At 8:17 PM, Blogger Matt M said...

the honours system, the Monarchy, and the House of Lords represents everything that is wrong in British society

Couldn't agree you more on this one. In the - extremely unlikely - event that I was offered an honour I'd have to turn it down as the pomp and ceremony surrounding it seems too ridiculous to me. Perhaps some kind of Citizen's Award would be a step forward - with individuals put forward for recognition of good done for society and thanked in the name of the people - as opposed to the Crown.

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Roland Dodds said...

I find it surprising that the Monarchy still plays a role in British life. Tell me, do most folks like the royals, or are they generally disliked?

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Matt M said...

For most people the royals are simply a fact of life - they're there and they don't seem to be going any time soon. A minority of people love them, a minority of people hate them, and the rest give them very little thought.

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Courtney Hamilton said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Courtney Hamilton said...

I think the Monarchy still remain central to the British way of life. We're all still expected to bow our heads whenever we're in close proximity, their marital antics still take up large amounts of column inches, their work for 'charidees' takes up plenty of time on terrestrial TV. Of course, we're still expected to sing that dreadful national anthem.

I think they still play a central part in what it means to be British today, there's a hell-of-alot of people walking around these isles with those awards in their pockets - and, a large amount of those people would have surely benefitted in many ways by simply being a recipient. Sir Steven Redgrave, the Olympic Gold Medalist gave the game away on the BBC's coverage of the London Marathon, he blantantly told Sue Barker that there were fiscal and social 'benefits' from being awarded.

It was like an open display and clear reminder that the rest of us, who are excluded from societies elites are expected to know our place, and show some respect to our 'betters'. This is my understanding of the culture of deference, which is still pretty much all-pervasive in British society. Even the rebellious Scotts of the SNP are careful only to fight for independence 'under the crown'. This culture of deference is still ingrained in the British 'democratic' mindset.

When Matt say's 'the rest give them very little thought', he is right, but I also see this as part of the culture of deference - to me, it's a sort of mute subservience to the wider hierarchical social order, and the rest of the establishment.

With no political party in Britain willing to take on the Monarchy, it looks as though we'll be stuck with this warped version of British democracy for the foreseeable.

At 5:14 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

award 01 queen 00

At 10:53 AM, Anonymous McGazz said...

> Even the rebellious Scotts of the SNP are careful only to fight for independence 'under the crown'.

There *are* a few Republicans in the SNP, it's a minority position, so you're right. They're all a bunch of establishment, pseudo-socialist toadies.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Courtney Hamilton said...

"They're all a bunch of establishment, pseudo-socialist toadies."

I couldn't have put it better myself.


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