Fun in GuardianWorld, innit?

Vicky Pryce, who was jailed for taking speeding points for her ex-husband Chris Huhne, has been stripped of an official honour. In this she joins the ranks of Fred Goodwin, Idi Amin and Kim Philby. Others, like Conrad Black and Jeffrey Archer, have kept theirs. Is the decision right?

Sigh. Black and Archer are peers. We do not have a system which allows someone to be stripped of a peerage. You can execute them and they\’ll still be peers right up to the moment that severed head falls into the basket. You can then prevent anyone inheriting that title.

But you can\’t take away a peerage.

11 comments on “Fun in GuardianWorld, innit?

  1. I’ve been thinking for some time that we ought to extend the honours system to negative honours. Like, you could officially award somebody a title like “idiot”, or “fuckwit” and it would have to be read out at official functions, you know “Mr Richard Murphy, Pillock Of The Bath”, that kind of thing.

  2. I quite like that one, Ian. Like there used to be an official Court Fool? Murphy could be the official Village Idiot of Downham Market. Referred to as “Downham” in the short form.
    Of course, if we’re doing it properly, there should be a debating chamber in the H’s of C for entitled idiots, just like we have the House of Lords. Wonder what we should call it & where it would sit?

  3. bloke in spain: We could call it the National Executive Commitee of the Labour Party or if thats already taken how about “the house of commons” and it could meet in the palace of westminster.

  4. Simon Cooke is probably in the right of it, an Act of Attainder would have done it in the past.

    However, I’m pretty certain that to attaint someone they have to show you’ve committed a serious capital crime, and we don’t have none of them no more (not since 1998*).

    *which was when it was actually abolished for everything. Having only been suspended prior to that.

  5. Oh, and I love Ian B’s suggestion of negative titles. Could we have some form of protocol whereby much as peers have to refer to each other in debate properly (eg. “…as referenced by my noble friend, the Lord…” ) they refer similarly to those with Dishonours (as surely they must be called) ergo: “as claimed by that massive twat, the ….”

  6. Parliament can pass an Act of Attainder against anyone they want for any reason – they’re Parliament.

    An Act of Attainder tended to result in someone’s execution, though (not that that will receive to many objections). A more reasonable approach would be for Parliament to just pass an act saying that X is no longer a Lord, and X will cease to be a Lord.

  7. There is nothing in principle stopping parliament from bringing an attainder style bill against MPs too to strip them of their seat and string them up (beheading is reserved for nobility). I’d love to see some of those MPs start pleading “no no the money was just resting in my account” when they finally appreciate the gravity of the proceedings

  8. You don’t need an Act of Attainder, but you do need primary legislation. The Titles Deprivation Act 1917 did precisely that for various British peers who had served in the German Army in WWI.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>