Confucius - John Pilger - Royal Babylon - William Shakespeare - Richard Feynman - Ken Loach - Andrew Marr TV - Politics.co.uk article - Alfred Harmsworth - Yes Minister TV - Forrest Gump 1994 - Henry Root - Harry S Truman - Mark Thomas TV - Lilyhammer 1983 - World War II: The Complete History - Horatio Nelson -
To be wealthy and honoured in an unjust society is a disgrace. Confucius, The Analects
Wealth and rank are what people desire. But unless they are attained in the right way they may not be possessed. Confucius
That’s the same argument put forward by the Indonesian dictator General Suharto, whose regime is responsible for the deaths of 200,000 people in East Timor. General Suharto has given large amounts of money to the ANC, and President Mandela has given him South Africa’s highest honour. John Pilger, Apartheid Did Not Die
On 13 January, George W Bush presented ‘presidential freedom medals’, said to be America’s highest recognition of devotion to freedom and peace. Among the recipients were Tony Blair, the epic liar who, with Bush, bears responsibility for the physical, social and cultural destruction of an entire nation; John Howard, the former prime minister of Australia and minor American vassal who led the most openly racist government in his country’s modern era; and Alvaro Uribe, the president of Colombia, whose government, according the latest study of that murderous state, is ‘responsible for than 90% of all cases of torture’.
As satire was made redundant when Henry Kissinger and Rupert Murdoch were honoured for their contributions to the betterment of humanity, Bush’s ceremony was, at least, telling of a system of which he and his freshly-minted successor are products. Although more spectacular in its choreographed histrionics, Barack Obama’s inauguration carried the same Orwellian message of inverted truth: of ruthlessness of criminal power, if not unending war. John Pilger, Come on Down for Your Freedom Medals, article New Statesman; viz also website
Monarchs give out their honours to unashamed murderers. Royal Babylon ***** 2012
Honours for there the sun shall greet them
And draw their honours reeking up to heaven. William Shakespeare, Henry V IV iii 101-102, King Harry
He gave his honours to the world again,
His blessed part to Heaven, and slept in peace. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII IV ii 29
The whole thing was rotten. Because its purpose was mostly to decide who could have this honour. I don’t like honours. Richard Feynman, interview Horizon: No Ordinary Genius, BBC 1993
It’s all the things I think are despicable: patronage, deferring to the monarchy and the name of the British Empire, which is a monument of exploitation and conquest. Ken Loach
Unlike most politicians of the age, Lloyd George never had any money of his own. And once he became coalition prime minister he didn’t have a truly national party machine to raise funds either. And so in order to keep himself in politics he decided to sell honours – peerages, knighthoods, OBEs. Now this was hardly unknown in Westminster, but what made Lloyd George different was the blatant nature of it. He went into business big and he went into business shamelessly.
But the prime minister didn’t want to get his own hands dirty. He needed a go-between. And he found one in a former spy and blackmailer and rogue complete with monocle. His name was Maundy Gregory. Maundy Gregory would entice potential clients to his opulent offices here at 38 Parliament Street. And it had a very useful back entrance. A kind of menu was quickly established. If you want to be a Baronet, in today’s money – one point three million pounds. A knighthood – three hundred and thirty thousand. Andrew Marr, The Making of Modern Britain, BBC 2009
With Grayson out of the picture, Lloyd George’s honours racket continued. One of the nominations for a peerage in the next honours list was a convicted South African fraudster called Joseph Robinson. The Commons exploded. And the King was livid. ibid.
In early 2006, however, the police were called upon to investigate allegations that fundraisers for both the Labour and Conservative parties had offered supporters a life peerage in return for their financial support. Both parties denied the claims but the ensuing row led to calls for greater scrutiny of the process of appointing people to the House of Lords.
Tony Blair and various other figures from all the main parties were interviewed by the police over the affair. Lord Levy, Labour’s fundraiser, was arrested and released on bail. The story had a major political impact and, according to some commentators, hastened the end of Mr Blair’s premiership. The Labour party returned the loans, leaving it with a major financial problem which persists today.
Nevertheless, the Crown Prosecution Service announced on July 20th 2007 it would not bring any charges against the individuals involved. The service said it had not rejected the idea the loans may have been made in exchange for honours, but it could not find any direct evidence sufficient for a successful prosecution. Politics.co.uk article Honours System 27th August 2004
When I want a peerage, I shall buy it like an honest man. Alfred Harmsworth
Are honours really the most serious concern of this entire department? Yes, Minister s2e2: Doing The Honours, Jim to Bernard, BBC 1981
Humphrey, did you know that 20% of all honours go to civil servants? ibid. Jim
Jim: How do they award the Thistle?
Bernard: A committee sits on it. ibid.
Son, you’ve been awarded the medal of honor. Forrest Gump ***** 1994 starring Tom Hanks & Robin Wright & Gary Sinise & Mykelti Williamson & Sally Field & Haley Joel Osment & Peter Dobson & Dick Cavett & Sam Anderson & Geoffrey Blake & Siobhan Fallon et al, director Robert Zemeckis
Dear Major-General Wyldbore-Smith,
I’m a blunt man, accustomed to plain-speaking, so I’ll come straight to the point.
What’s the going price for getting an honour? ... Henry Root, The Henry Root Letters, to Conservative Board of Finance 7th August 1979
When you get to be President, there are all those things, the honours, the twenty-one gun salutes, all those things. You have to remember it isn’t for you. It’s for the Presidency. Harry S Truman
Give evidence at a Select Committee in the House of Commons … Public Bodies: Quangos: they’re looking at patronage … they’re looking at the appointments’ system. Mark Thomas Comedy Product s6e5, Channel 4 2002
There’s about a 1,000 of them. There’s 30,000 people who sit on them … They’ve got budgets of billions … It’s like the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List … They’ve got more power than MPs … ibid.
They have the ‘Government Wine Committee’ … ibid.
What a crazy ride it’s been. A big thanks to all who voted for me. You’re very wise. Lilyhammer s2e4: The Black Toe, Frank receives Flame trophy, Netflix 2013
On 10th April Great Britain gave its highest award for civilian bravery – the George Cross – to the entire island of Malta. World War II: The Complete History: Six Months to Run Wild, Discovery 2000
Before this time tomorrow, I shall have gained a peerage, or Westminster Abbey. Horatio Nelson before Battle of Nile, cited Southey
In honour I gained them, and in honour I will die with them. ibid. re his medals