An old English custom


Some of the meeja hacks are getting hot under their cyber collars about Cameron’s parting gestures to his loyal colleagues.  A K or two and a few MBEs. For people who, remember, had to work unreasonably long hours in old buildings whenever Dave and his Mrs needed them. And what else can a departing grandee do these days? He can’t sequester half of Yorkshire or the plate from a couple of monasteries on their behalf. And I wonder what Angela and le petit Hollande can do when they step down? The English honours system is very convenient, full of traditional meaning and cheap to implement. No, I’m afraid it’s raw envy that drives the criticism, and a persistent ignorance of The English Way of politics: it’s about Devil take the Hindmost. And none the worse for that.

Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

37 thoughts on “An old English custom”

  1. I still think Mrs C should just have paid her hairdresser and slipped her a couple of quid tip like the rest of us.

  2. Janus: forgive me Backside, and Front, for I have sinned! I can say nothing in my defence save that I’ve been in the loving company of family for the last week. My nerves are gone and my mind is confused.

  3. Sheona – then Mrs Cam would have had to fork out herself! Shock horror! That ‘s not how the establishment does things, dontchaknow? 😱

    Christopher, I’ll allow the Trier-defence – just this once, mind. 😎

  4. Aye weel, Christopher.

    Ignore yon Northron (or in my case Eastron) flatland-inhabiting, failed pedant.

    ‘Naught’ was perfectly acceptable in middle English. I cite the Dictionary of the Scots Language.

    Also, rubbish use of ‘sequester’ in my opinion. Mind, it’s a worry that I can’t think of a more appropriate verb. Appropriate, seize, divert, allocate, bestow, award? None of them really work for me.

    I would probably end up plumping for ‘bestow’, if pressed.

  5. What else would one expect from such a sleaze ball slug as Cameron?
    The hall mark of his ‘n’ year tenancy was croneyism, nepotism and mutual arse licking with his friends.
    About time the whole thing was stopped dead and the second chamber became elected like the Senate.
    One hopes the committee would refuse the whole list but I doubt they will.
    Disgusting slime as usual. Both he and his wife always struck me as vapid rather stupid creatures in positions well beyond their own competencies.

  6. Good evening, CO.

    Well expressed and powerful stuff as always.

    Total keech, in my opinion.

    I think that history will judge DC far more kindly than you choose to do. I also believe that he was driven by old-fashioned values of public service and was highly intelligent and principled. I accept that he was flawed
    in that he was certainly a bit of a switherer. Does not make him a bad person.

    I could, as ever, be wrong. I do not think that I am, in his case.

    Moving on, Sam C is, I believe, even more fragrant than Mary Archer could ever have hoped to be.

    Mary’s husband is, of course, the all-comers, all time ‘sleaze ball slug’ Champion of the Universe, Tory-wise.

    Michael Heselltine runs him a close second, to be fair. Heath, despite his many faults, was a distant third.

    Back to DC. His resignation. His honours list. Constitutional tradition, which I respect, gives him that right.

    Janus has the truth of it for me,

  7. Must agree to disagree JM.
    I am rather tired of ‘tradition’ Getting somewhat republican in my old age.
    I would like to see a genuine meritocracy for once, not the duck shovelling of incompetency that is so obvious amongst the moneyed classes.
    I detest parasitism at either end of the social scale, which it is. I am extremely pleased I removed myself from the taxed to death squeezed middle class. They bitch here in the USA but middle class taxes are still half here to what you pay UK end.
    And what for?
    The likes of gongs for the boys one end and bloody wogs and breeders for profit the other!
    Not on my dime!!!
    See the lot starve in the gutter or go to the guillotine.

  8. CO, er….no. Can you name a single successful state based on the idea of ‘meritocracy’? No. Cultures evolve, some more or less acceptable. Ours is well over toward the more side, imho.

  9. Greetings again, CO.

    We will, indeed, have to differ.

    That said, I will always admire your ability to make your points in your uniquely terse, uncomplicated and forceful manner.

    Not, of course, that I will ever really forgive you for your failure, despite my repeated importunings to retell the tale of your teetering down the Falls Road in your stilettos, fur coat and cut glass English accent

    As you can see, I still remember the basics of said tale. I would, however, appreciate the actual chapter and verse for posterity.

    Totally in favour of meritocracy. Always believed, perhaps arrogantly, that I am, myself, on the right side of that argument, thanks to the opportunities which my parents created for me.. Also still believe that DC is on the same side and that it’s not his fault that it was his great grandfather who slid his descendants down that path. Just regret that people like Crossland, Williams, Benn, Crossman, Harman, Corbyn and so many other tossers sought (and seek) to deny future generations their chance to achieve their true potential.

  10. Ach weel (this Backside) JM, you’re setting a dangerous precedent here! Spelling jusified by ME usage! I’m waiting until next time….. 😉

  11. JM: Cameron wasn’t Britain’s best prime minister, nor was he her worst. In 2010 the choice was between Cameron and Brown. Cameron was the better choice of the two. In 2015, the choice was between Cameron and Miliband. Again, whatever his faults, Cameron was the less abhorrent of two not entirely appealing choices. It’s all well and good to long for a PM with Thatcher’s spine of steel, Churchill’s cutting wit and Betjeman’s charming banter but I’m not entirely certain anyone who lives up to that ideal actually sits in parliament. IMHO Cameron will be remembered as an acceptable place holder between two distinct eras in British political history. Not quite a Sir Robert Menzies, certainly not a Tony Blair. Perhaps a Brian Mulroney? I am aware that Menzies was Australian and Mulroney Canadian, but they’re close and served at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

    CO: Americans are the world’s worst tax liars. By the time federal, state and local taxes are counted there is precious little difference between UK/European tax rates and US tax rates. When you consider the health care tax, increasingly onerous, there is no difference at all. I am aware that in some lesser localities such as Texas and Nevada state taxes do not exist, but I struggle to understand why anyone would actually want to live in either. You’re also being terribly unfair to the UK. I have had numerous dealings with wogs and breeders of the Septic sort. They’re no better than their British counterparts. Enjoy President Hillary.

  12. Moving on again, Janus.

    Just realised that you and I are using ‘meritocracy’ in different ways, you being a philosopher and that. And a few years older and more Oxonian than me.

    I had no real problems with ‘The Rise of the Meritocracy’ which was a required text in Politics First Ordinary at the Uni of Embra. I appreciate that you view it as the satire which it was probably intended to be. Still made sense to me.

    And still think it might not be a bad idea, compared with alternatives. It’s a sort of an equivalent of Churchill’s definition of democracy for me.

  13. Forsooth, for shame and FFS, Janus

    I know that you know perfectly well, despite possible provenance inconsistencies.

    ‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.’

  14. I’ve just remembered, how funny to have completely forgotten. My father refused an OBE because the Beatles were given one the same year.
    He made it very plain he wanted nothing to do with any gong handed out to a pack of uncouth Liverpudlian peasants, actually he was much ruder than that at home, positively raved and foamed at the mouth, took it as the greatest insult ever. One presumes he refused it officially a little more politely!!
    We all just dismissed it out of hand as the old man raved like a maniac about everything. if you ever wanted to divert his attention from some pressing matter one only had to pay Neville Chamberlain some sort of verbal nicety. Light blue touch paper and retire quickly, he used to hurl things at the wall, foaming ‘Peace in our time”
    “Not too much round here” was the general response as one exited down the pub or to some more nefarious venue. (With the marked exception of public dance halls, another bete noir of the old man, God knows what he thought went on there.) Not even I tried that, one could go to a casino in Central London till 5am. without demur, but a hop at the village hall? Forget it!
    Mad as a hatter. Haven’t thought of that OBE in 40 years.

  15. But but….it was the age of free expression, the end of national service and the short back and sides, the dare to answer back generation, the new age! What happened to you, gel? 😎

  16. OK, Jazz, if googling ain’t enough:
    Meritocracy is a sustem whereby power is apportioned according to the talents of the recipients. Plato believed in it and recommended wise men for selection. He called them ‘philosophers’ but he didn’t mean AJ Ayer or Bertrand Russel types. As far as I know no state has attempted it, let alone successfully. Owt else?

  17. That’s all very well in principle, but in reality is there a truly objective measure of talent. And what about merit ?

  18. Er, no – unless you believe in examinations, which I recall you don’t. Isn’t merit one’s reward for using one’s talent?

  19. I’ve got nothing against examinations. I’ve passed enough of them, however the point of all the ones that I took was establish whether you were competent or not.

  20. Our Dave left another legacy, besides honouring his mates. He began the further destruction of Labour’s long-term electoral advantage based on many small constituencies. Corbyn will shout Gerrymander, foul! Mrs May will smile her most gracious smile. Job done – Labour lose 30 seats.

  21. Janus: some say the Tories could gain up to 90 more seats, many off Labour and at least a good handful off the SNP. There are many marginal Tory/SNP and Labour/SNP seats that the SNP struggled to gain and will have a hard time holding. All they need is a minor adjustment and many will go to unionist parties.

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