Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Monday, 6 June 2005

From Honours to Merit Badges

Part of every June 6 is the Queen's Birthday Honours. It is saddening beyond measure that Labour abolished British Honours and knighthoods in 2000, in favour of the Order of Helen Clark, I mean the New Zealand Order of Merit. Knight Grand Cross of the Noble Order of Saint Michael and Saint George becomes "Member of the NZ Order of Merit." And you don't even get to call yourself a knight, Sir or Dame, just "MNZM" after your name. Underwhelmed? Me too.

The old knighthoods had history, and heritage. They weren't just a merit badge for correct conduct, they were an honour and an obligation. Being a Knight of Saint Michael and Saint George, being called "Sir" and having a coat of arms, all that was more than just window dressing. Being a knight is mixed up with chivalry, honour, tradition and obligation. It is more than the community saying "Well done", it is a way of tying our high achievers into the fabric of the community. Reminding them of their obligations, to be generous, and community-minded. Chivalrous and gentlemanly. We expect Knights to act rightly. And more than that, it was a very public salute to excellence, to kindness and to service. "The NZ Order of Merit" is on the same level as a Scout merit badge. Handy to have. Nice to look at. But not elevated, not a real honour, Not a knighthood.

In abolishing British honours, the government said they wanted to reflect that Sacred cow "The New Zealand identity", to bring a distinctive flavour to the honouring of Kiwis by Kiwis. This, they said, would strengthen the community, and abolish elitism. Oh please. Yet again, this infantile insistence on destroying our inheritance has left the community weaker. It has loosened the ties of affection that unites the Queen and her people, and her people with each other in community. Who cares about the Order of Lenin, I mean Merit? It has no transcendent significance. It has no history, no "Honourable" heritage, and, although it shows the recipient is A Nice Chap, it doesn't remind him of his obligations to the Queen and community that gave it him either. A healthy dose of elitism does no-one any harm. Our best, brightest and kindest deserve more than a gold-plated merit badge. They deserve honour. It is a shame that Labour no longer believes in the concept.

Pitt the Younger (originally posted here)

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