Wednesday, July 14, 2004

TO THE AID OF THE EMPIRE: Yesterday, the MPs who make up the Public Adminstration Committee recommended reforms to the structure of the British awards system. (Sadly, they didn't recommend copying the Brits and replacing the Knighthood with a Lifetime Achievement prize). Amongst their recommendations was scrapping most of the titles and replacing the Order of the British Empire with the Order of British Excellence - do you see? It's got the same initials. (Just as a sideline here, they don't seem to have come up with a nifty name for the awards given to people who live in the Commonwealth. They could, I suppose, create an Order of Commonwealth Excellence, providing the recipients don't get confused with photocopying engineers.)

So, with this bold, almost Communist, attempt to wash away thousands of years of tradition, surely there would be voices raised in protest? If not quite in the pubs and common rooms of old Albion, then surely from the ranks of the thousands of OBE, MBE and CBEs roaming the country? Erm... apparently not. The only person the BBC could find prepared to take a stand in favour of the old titles was, erm, Robin Gibb. From the BeeGees. Who burbled on a little bit about how you shouldn't be ashamed of Empire, and all that tradition. Robin, of course, was so proud of Britain he's chosen to spend most of his life in America.

The gongs are doomed.


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