When I suggested last week that anyone who featured on the honours list who then proved to be a bit of an embarrassment to the gong and garlands brigade didn’t need to have their title rescinded, just changed to something which recognised their new status as a shameless pariah – yes, Sir Fred, I’m afraid we’re still talking about you – it got me thinking.
It seemed like such a good idea that there seems to be no reason why we should wait for someone to stray off the straight and narrow for it to be brought into being.
So here’s my suggestion for something to enliven the Jubilee no end and reconnect the monarchy with the common people – instead of just fobbing us off with the occasional lollipop lady being given a medal while the bankers and the bureaucrats help themselves to the plum trinkets and the politicians and their celebrity pals join the queue for baubles, there needs to be a bit of light and shade.
So for every honours list, there should be a dishonours list of equal length.
But how would Her Maj know what names to put on the wrong side of the ledger, you ask?
Well, the same way as the current list is created, of course.
Anyone can make a nomination for royal recognition, but it can’t be a frivolous flight of fancy, there has to be some real meat behind the suggestion.
So it wouldn’t be possible for someone with an axe to grind to get the neighbour who never clears the snow from the front of his house or a traffic warden who is only doing his job mentioned on the dishonours list – you’d have to make a case for somebody to be included.
But if there was enough evidence from enough people to nail an obstructive pen-pusher, a bonus hungry finance type or anyone whose activities could be construed be to contrary to the common good, then they should be named and shamed in the most public way possible.
I’d also expect a place on the dishonours list to be a temporary thing.
So while it might be very embarrassing to be awarded a DOS or a WOS – there’s still a lot of detail to be sorted, but I think Drain On Society and Waste Of Space are the sort of titles I’d be keen to include in the new set-up – you’d have every chance to buck your ideas up and get your name removed 12 months down the line.
But for the duration, as I ruminated last week in relation to Sir Fred and his ilk, they would be required to use the initials associated with their dubious distinction in all correspondence, on their credit cards and bills, when booking a table at a posh restaurant, wherever. Public admission and public recognition that they’d fallen short of expected standards, either by indolence or incompetence, would be the thing.
There are those who will fear that we’re heading back to bad old days of the stocks and public floggings and hangings, but come on. All I’m asking for is a bit of payback for the majority of us who will never be in a position to accept an honour, but are certainly doing our bit.
There are lots that aren’t, and it wouldn’t take much to single them out and tell them what we think of them, couresty of the Queen’s good offices.