More complaints about the state of the world

(This is not as serious a complaint as my previous post.)

I always scan the honours lists to see if anyone I know has got one (and congratulations to Jonathan Cohen on his OBE, and to Geraldine Rice on her MBE, if they read this). But I think I disapprove of the whole process on principle, and the awards this year for entertainment really seem to illustrate why.

While I am delighted that Evelyn Glennie has been made a Dame, I do wonder by what order of priorities her contribution to society is adjudged as of a higher level than Peter Greenaway, Penelope Keith, Alexander McCall Smith, Professor Stewart, Rod Stewart and Colin Thubron (all judged equal to CBEs); and how all of them can be rated above Hugh Laurie and the composer Guy Woolfenden (OBEs); and then they all are rated above the BBC’s foreign correspondent Brian Barron (MBE).

It is better to regard these as the decisions of an 80-year-old woman guided by advisers she has appointed herself, rather than any serious reflection of the nation’s tastes. (And anyway, which nation?) The Irish constitution (40.2.1) forbids the Irish state from establishing titles of nobility, and this has been generalised into not awarding honours either. Not a bad way to go, in my view.

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