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.