And the bad bit of this is?

Jeremy Corbyn is considering letting voters pick who Labour recommends for gongs in what critics have dismissed as an “X-Factor style” shake-up of the honours system.
It is understood a review commissioned by the Labour leader into how the party puts forward names will look at giving voters the power to nominate people for the awards.
Critics fear the change would trigger a spike in populist choices like celebrities and sportsmen being picked at the expense of politicians and business leaders.

Fewer gongs for politicians. Tragic, eh?

58 thoughts on “And the bad bit of this is?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Napoleon said that it was with baubles men are governed. Gongs are the cheapest way of ensuring people do what we want them to do in the world. And they must work because people like the French Revolutionaries and the Soviets kept having to re-invent them.

    I don’t get the point though. We already give too many to celebrities and sportsmen. How many more could we give?

  2. SMFS,

    I really don’t understand why anyone cares. There are some high achievers and brilliant people that get them, but the criminals and incompetents and ‘signalling’ knighthoods and peerages that have been given have devalued the titles of having any meaning. Tanni Grey Thompson and Baroness Muslim Vagina just aren’t peer quality.

    If I had a call from a peer about doing some work, I wouldn’t give him special discounts or skip the credit check on him. Does it get you more pussy? Do restaurants get you tables? What?

  3. I’m trying to figure out where not agreeing with the Gong Mill is “socialist”, then I remember that Theo just uses “socialist” the same way as lefties use “conservative” to describe anyone who disagrees with them.

    I’m a Libertarian, so I like a minimal State. Gongs are a State-awarded privilege. Disapproving of a large, active State is not “socialism”, Theo.

    Maybe Theo hopes to get one. Him being the Right Sort Of Person and all.

  4. No, SMfS doesn’t. The baubles only have value if the individaual feels part of the system that’s handing them out. Ask yourself. How much respect would you have for the recipient of an EU award?
    In this, Theo, you’re just as socialist as Napoleon, Stalin or SMfS.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Almond – “I really don’t understand why anyone cares. There are some high achievers and brilliant people that get them, but the criminals and incompetents and ‘signalling’ knighthoods and peerages that have been given have devalued the titles of having any meaning. Tanni Grey Thompson and Baroness Muslim Vagina just aren’t peer quality.”

    I agree totally. However they seem to work. People are such snobs. My complaint about the House of Lords, for instance, is that it only works if it is full of Lords. So there may be some connection to the past that is important? Some Evelyn Waugh-type snobbery about the monarchy and the peers? Who knows?

    The more they are debased though the less effect they will have. Blair reduced the HoL to something akin to the Hull City Town Hall so it will not have the prestige it did.

    I am not a European. It is enough for me that it works in practice, or at least works. People will throw themselves on a hand grenade for the right sort of gong.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    bloke in spain – “The baubles only have value if the individaual feels part of the system that’s handing them out. Ask yourself. How much respect would you have for the recipient of an EU award?”

    Indeed. But if someone gave me a gong, I might start thinking than Brenda is a nice old girl and perhaps her family should stay in power. It does seem to be what happens. Look at all those closet Royalist rock musicians.

  7. Brenda hasn’t got any power. She just rubber stamps the Parliamentary despotism. Just as she rubber stamps their choice of “Lords”.

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    I assume the objection to letting the Hoi Polloi have a say is that it would, in Instapundit’s words, reduce the opportunities for graft. Or, in the best British tradition, there is a committee somewhere which makes sure all the right people get the gongs. You know, their mates and school chums. They would be out of work and people from the wrong schools might get all the prizes.

    Which is fine by me on the whole.

  9. When they were few and far between and confined to people who had actually done great things I didn’t have much of an issue. The left has done its best to destroy the honours system by dishing them out to people purely because of the colour of their skin, or their preferred sexual activities, or because the recipient was on the telly or scored a few goals, or because the recipient has hung around in a top military/civserv job for long enough. If I were ever to become a benign dictator I’d spend at least some of my first week recalling a lot of peerages, knighthoods, OBEs, MBEs etc.

  10. @Interested:
    “The left has done its best to destroy the honours system by dishing them out to people ….. because the recipient has hung around in a top military/civserv job for long enough.”

    Don’ think that part of your comment is true – all parties left and right have been doing that for ever. Your other comments re the left … fine, I agree

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    I think that we need a counter-proposal to Corbyn’s suggestion. I have one. We need a Back to Basics campaign. Gongs should refocus on their original purpose. We hand them out to people who kill Muslims in the Holy Lands.

  12. I thought John Major introduced nominations by The People. I’ve certainly nominated somebody and that was more than five years ago.

  13. Maybe there should just be an official Order Of The Trough. Rewarding those who have made the most out of the Courageous State. We could call them The Tony Awards.

  14. Bloke in North Dorset

    There’s no doubt the system is has been debased for some time, I’ll bet Lloyd George wasn’t the first, and there probably never was a truly golden era. Most societies seem to have them though so its probably something we have to live with, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be cleaned up, not least because the current system undermines those who were awarded for doing something above and beyond the line of duty.

    Two deserving cases as examples: Ian Botham earned his knighthood by using his fame to raise money for leukemia by walking a very long way in his spare time. I know people in the military who were awarded for selfless endeavors, one WO who renovated a decrepit building single handed in his spare time to create a youth club was awarded an MBE, and he didn’t have children so he can’t be accused of doing it for his own kids.

  15. Couldn’t the system be cut short by allowing people to buy them, rather than bribing politicians to award them? The added advantage would be money to the exchequer rather than political parties. As for entertainers and sportsmen perhaps CBB could be reinvigorated if new events eg demonstrating competitive narcissicism, were added and a gong went to the winner.

  16. “Sir” Humphrey would be the biggest loser. The punters would never nominate someone for simply doing the job they were paid to do.

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    jgh – “I’ve certainly nominated somebody and that was more than five years ago.”

    And you wouldn’t believe it, but I am still waiting.

  18. They should be turned on their head as a useful weapon of freedom.

    Thus the gongs would be

    *Lying sack of political shite
    *Top EU-sucking liar
    *Hands in other peoples pockets medal
    *Top deceitful fake charity of the year
    Femmi-cunt of the year (in association with the Horse of the Year show)
    * Top expensive pointless quango of the year
    * This years biggest shill for/stooge of tyranny

    And so on..

    That really would be a social service.

  19. A friend of mine was offered a gong. He decided that what it was being offered for wasn’t quite accurate and wondered whether he should correct it. His wife wailed “Don’t. They’ll think you’re turning it down and then you won’t get it and you’ll never be offered another.” So he accepted it. Wise old wife: he has since got another one.

    I offer this as an anecdotal insight into gongpsy.

  20. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme – “So he accepted it. Wise old wife: he has since got another one.”

    That seems a little unfair. Although I suppose clever women can be annoying.

  21. It won’t be “X-Factor” though. It would be highly organised campaigns of union fodder voting for “Hero of the Soviet Union” awards.

    Not much would change about the appropriateness or not of who gets the gongs; just a different set of people.

  22. Christina Criado-Perez – OBE for “Services to Feminism”

    i.e. moaning about Women on Banknotes.

    FFS

  23. I suppose clever women can be annoying.

    Definitely. They rarely fall for my chat up lines. Even top tier stuff like “does this smell like chloroform?”

    I’ve experimented with leaving a trail of copies of The Spectator, but so far the trap-doored oubliette at the end has only snagged Bruce Anderson.

    And he has quite the foul mouth on him, let me tell you.

  24. Indeed FFS. But any “X-Factor” poll would have resulted in her getting it anyway, because the general public doesn’t give a shit but the Borg hive mind of Twitter and the Left does.

  25. i.e. moaning about Women on Banknotes.

    OT, but I’ve never understood this campaign. After all, I’ve never seen a valid British banknote that didn’t feature a woman.

  26. Blair reduced the HoL to something akin to the Hull City Town Hall so it will not have the prestige it did.

    Edward II, Charles II, David Lloyd George, Harold Wilson, David Cameron…Yes, I see your point. With the exception of Tony Blair’s ennoblements, the loftiest imaginable motives have always been behind the awarding of peerages.

  27. Bloke in North Dorset said:
    “There’s no doubt the system is has been debased for some time, I’ll bet Lloyd George wasn’t the first, and there probably never was a truly golden era.”

    Didn’t James I invent the baronet to raise money by selling them?

    Marquess and Viscount I think were invented for time-servers who those in charge couldn’t quite bring themselves to promote to the ‘proper English’ titles of Duke or Earl.

  28. IanB

    I’m a Libertarian, so I like a minimal State. Gongs are a State-awarded privilege. Disapproving of a large, active State is not “socialism”, Theo.

    Perhaps it’s your obession with subjectivity (which, hilariously, you can’t define!), but whether a policy is socialist or not is assessed by the effects and consequences of said policy, not your obscure libertarian intentions (which, incidentally, seem to have something to do with your sexual predilections). Apart from a demotivating effect on philanthropy and good works, the effect of abolishing honours would be a levelling and egalitarian one — which is why many Labour activists, revolutionary socialists and assorted commies would support your policy, too.

    And, in any case, scrapping the honours system would only reduce the size of the state by a miniscule amount, while also having disbenefits in the longer term.

  29. No, Theo. Being opposed to privilege is not “egalitarian” or “socialist”. The same as believing that the law should be applied equally to everyone is not egalitarianism or socialism. It seems like many self-identified conservatives, you actually like a big government system that people can take advantage of, just so long as it’s your kind of people doing it.

    As to subjectivity, I have defined it numerous times. It’s not my fault that you’re too thick to understand what I write. As I have also explained numerous times, if you don’t believe in subjective value, you are not only 150 years behind economic theory, you’re in bed with the marxists and socialists yourself, and their elderly Ricardian economics.

    Okay, one more time: an objective fact: “Wilma and Betty are both women”.

    Subjective opinion: “I find Betty more attractive than Wilma”.

    It’s really not hard to understand. Even for somebody as dogmatic as you.

  30. Oh, missed this-

    “but whether a policy is socialist or not is assessed by the effects and consequences of said policy,”

    Really? Lol.

  31. Bear in mind Theo that you’re now in bed with the people who say the USSR wasn’t “really” Communist because its outcomes were not “true” Communism. Heh.

  32. The Meissen Bison

    Tim Almond: […] and Baroness Muslim Vagina just aren’t peer quality

    I’m sure you’re right though I’m not sure whom you have in mind there.

  33. After reading all of these comments it appears that most people here are anti-gong. The reasoning being that gongs are simply not useful.

    As a counterpoint I give you Stewart Copeland. When I went to the Police reunion tour Mr Copeland was able to create many intriguing sounds using just a gong. I think you just needs some more Virginia boys to show you how to use gongs appropriately.

  34. IanB

    As all known societies have hierarchies and privileges, being “opposed to privilege” and abolishing all honours is a revolutionary and egalitarian policy. Hence, it is not on a par with equality under the law (or the rule of law, which your amusing sidekick, Ecksy, holds in such contempt), because it’s implementation would have negative consequences – viz deterring the philanthropy, of which, as I recall, you also disapprove.

    Your political ‘philosophy’ is a bizarre and incoherent mixture of libertarianism, nationalism and socialism, all dogmatically expressed. And your state hatred is so strong that it leads you to favour the abolition (not simply reform, which I favour) of the honours system – even though said system is a tiny part of the cost of the state, has beneficial outcomes (working as it does with the grain of human nature) and abolishing it places you in the company of socialists.

  35. IanB

    1. whether a policy is socialist or not is assessed by the effects and consequences of said policy

    Does not imply

    2. the USSR wasn’t “really” Communist because its outcomes were not “true” Communism.

    2 cannot be validly derived from 1, even if you supply many more premises. And, in any event, 2 embodies the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy.

  36. Well, I’m a Libertarian, so “State hatred” as you call it is what we do. It’s pretty standard as a Libertarian to find oneself accused of being a right wing extremist by the Left, and a left wing extremist by the Right.

    The problem is Theo that you are that type of conservative who doesn’t even know what you believe yourself, on any sort of philiosophical level. You just have a set of personal preferences (which is fine) but then you want them imposed on everyone else (which is not fine) and you don’t even know why, other than a certainty that people like yourself are better than everyone else, so your own preferences must be better than everyone else’s. In that way, you are far closer to the Left than you realise. Your modus operandi is much the same, except you disagree about some of the details, and shake your fist at the sky when they (who are much better organised) get their preferences imposed rather than yours. Your only interest is in being one of the pigs who is more equal than others.

    By the way, it appears that that well known leftie Katie Hopkins shares my “sexual predelictions”. Or maybe is just similarly connected to reality. One or the other-

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3480476/KATIE-HOPKINS-away-rope-Adam-Johnson-broke-law-girl-knew-EXACTLY-doing-s-not-paedophile-doesn-t-deserve-prison-Twitter-lynching.html

  37. IanB

    You just have a set of personal preferences (which is fine) but then you want them imposed on everyone else (which is not fine) and you don’t even know why…

    Actually, I am on record here as being in favour of the legalisation of drugs, of making prostitution completely legal, of freer markets and more economic freedom, and of cutting back state expenditure by at least 20-30%. Also, I find abortion very distasteful, but, as I can find no rational arguments against it in all circumstances, I leave it to the individual conscience. So your claim that I want to impose my preferences on others is unfounded, isn’t it?

    I do, however, disapprove of doctrinaire changes to the status quo when the negative consequences are plain to see — as with abolishing the honours system — or when the unintended consequences are unclear.

  38. It’s funny you mention prostitution Theo, as there is a ‘sex worker of the year’ award. There are also police bravery, charity, sporting, acting, military, betting shop manager, Nobel and many others. There’s even a civil service awards with sponsors from the private sector. The free market has got this covered.
    Government involvement is not required, unless needed to deal with market failures, or externalities.
    So JC along with DC and all the rest who think the Queen’s involvement is needed here can do one.

  39. I think that a system of voting for awards could offer a lot of entertainment. There would be all kinds of silly campaigns to win gongs for undeserving people and some of them would succeed. Some awards would go to entirely fictional people invented by hoaxers. The whole system would collapse under the weight of its own absurdity.

  40. I sneeze in threes

    Ian,

    While accepting your libertarian position, what would you say are the practical objections to gongs? The cost, I suppose every little helps. What about the deference, I assume it’s not your own, unless forced by others in a position of power over you to defer to such people.? Then that is just an extension of an existing power relationship problem. Is it more that others seem to find value/rank in them, fair enough I suppose but there are many things in life we dislike in others but we live and let live.

    As a libertarian myself (self defined) I did think seriously about whether I should accept my gong when I got my letter. In my case a refusal would probably have had negative impact on my job but I aswage my guilt my by condemning fractional reserve banking and discussing the merits of Murray Rothbard when as often as possible when in polite society.

  41. Henry Marsh

    I have nothing against those sectoral awards, but they are quite different to official national awards that (in principle, if not always in reality) express the approval of a society as a whole.

    The possibility of a gong seems to encourage some philanthropists to give and do more than they would otherwise do. Some of them can get quite disgruntled when their efforts do not receive the recognition that they believe they deserve, which in turn provides amusement for the rest of us while their egotism often spurs them on to greater endeavours. Snobbery, as G M Trevelyan remarked in his History of England, has beneficial effects.

  42. So Much For Subtlety

    Social Justice Warrior – “Edward II, Charles II, David Lloyd George, Harold Wilson, David Cameron…Yes, I see your point. With the exception of Tony Blair’s ennoblements, the loftiest imaginable motives have always been behind the awarding of peerages.”

    As usual you miss the point. But then you are a Social Justice Warrior. Appointment and the methods used are irrelevant.

    If people want to sit in an old building with poor sanitation listening to some boring old former Social Workers, or Shop Floor Steward droning on, they can stand for election in Hull. Most people do not want to.

    What they want to do is put on their ermine and sit next to the sixteenth Duke of Whatever. Because people are just incurable snobs. What they want is to hob nob with the aristocracy. You can dress that up as being part of the long pageant of history if you like, but it comes down to the same thing – sitting with someone whose ancestor chatted to the last Queen Elizabeth is much better than sitting with the former Head of Unison. People are quite pathetic about that sort of thing.

    Now it doesn’t matter if the Sixth Earl of Podunk bought his peerage. It doesn’t matter if the Sixteenth Duke of Northern Sh!thole got his for applying a red hot poker to the sensitive parts of the King’s favourite. It just matters that there are few of them and they have been there a long time.

    The modern Left wants to make everything like Tesco – uniform, modern, shiny, bland and boring. But people don’t like it.

  43. I thought that the point of Civil Service gongs back in the day of Sir Humphrey was that people had reached the top of the pay scale and this was the only way to differentiate status.

    Of course this all went to shit when we decided to pay the civil servants as much if not more than the private sector, with gold plated pensions while company and private pensions were taxed into oblivion.

  44. @ Ian B
    You wrote
    Okay, one more time: an objective fact: “Wilma and Betty are both women”.
    Subjective opinion: “I find Betty more attractive than Wilma”.
    It’s really not hard to understand.

    I don’t think it is quite that simple. Consider the following statements:
    1. Wilma and Betty are both women
    2. Wilma and Betty are different types of woman, attractive to men of different tastes.
    3. 80% of men in the survey found Betty more attractive than Wilma.
    4. Most of my mates agree with me that Betty is more attractive than Wilma.
    5. I find Betty more attractive than Wilma
    6. Betty is more attractive than Wilma.

    Number 1 is a value-free statement of fact, and number 6 is a fact-free statement of taste, but 2-5 seem to be something different: factual statements about the tastes of certain people.

    Probably this is basic stuff. I don’t know. I haven’t read any of the books that you and Theophrastus mention.

  45. What is a City Town Hall?
    If I recall correctly, Hull City Hall is a concert hall; the seat of city government is the Guildhall. But it was a long time ago.

  46. So Much For Subtlety

    pedant2007 – “If I recall correctly, Hull City Hall is a concert hall; the seat of city government is the Guildhall. But it was a long time ago.”

    Oh my God, it is even worse than I thought! They don’t have a Town Hall.

  47. you miss the point… sitting with someone whose ancestor chatted to the last Queen Elizabeth is much better than sitting with the former Head of Unison. People are quite pathetic about that sort of thing.

    You’re quite right, the point escaped me. Which people? Anyone want to admit to it?

    Also, isn’t everyone whose family has been British for long enough very likely to have an ancestor who spoke to QE1?

  48. Anyone want to admit to it?

    I’d rather sit next to the mouldering remains of someone who actually chatted to QE1, than the former head of Unison. Or any union for that matter.

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