Knight of the 'Net

Frank Shute frank at
Sat Jan 3 02:57:08 GMT 2004

On Sat, Jan 03, 2004 at 12:08:39AM +0000, Paul Robinson wrote:
> Frank Shute wrote:
> >Well, doesn't accepting an honour also curry favour with the media?
> >
> Depends. If you're somebody like Mick Jagger or Paul McCartney and spent 
> a lot of time in your youth talking about how crap the establishment is, 
> you're likely to come under a bit of heat. 

I don't really blame them for accepting honours as such, everybody's
entitled to change their mind about things. I'd accept a
knighthood too for purely selfish reasons, doesn't mean to say I think
the honours system is sound.

> The type of celebrity that gets honoured is the type the modern
> media like to fawn over anyway. 

But as soon as they get the honour the fawning reaches sickening
proportions. Of course, the newspaper editors like to fawn over those
who get honours because they want honours themselves. It's all a
thoroughly unedifying spectacle.

> When was the last time you saw a genuinely bad piece in a newspaper
> about Sir Cliff Richards? 

I can't say I've seen anything really "bad" although there's a good
deal of IMHO deserved sneering about his crap music and God bothering. 
He doesn't deserve an honour but a substantial prison sentence ;)

> >Aswell as swelling one's income ie. mysteriously start sitting on
> >boards of companies to give the company a bit of cred. I've got far
> >more respect for those that tell HM (Blair's proxy) to shove the gong
> >where the sun don't shine; they're taking a financial hit if nothing
> >else.
> >
> As Nicholas Parsons pointed out (it's rare I agree with the likes of 
> him) yesterday, it is a gift and to refuse it is, in my opinion, pompous 
> and small-minded. 

Paul, you sound awfully pompous saying "the likes of him" :)

Shameful admission: I rather like him - checkout `Just A Minute' on
Radio 4 some day.

> The problem is how the honours are awarded, not the 
> fact that they exist. So, the correct thing to do is to accept and then 
> use your new-found influence to help adjust the way future honours are 
> awarded.

I think there's always going to be a problem with how honours are
awarded. Do it by public poll? God help us, then we get all the
worthless actors, singers & soapstars getting honours. Honours for
what exactly? Appearing on tv?

Yet a public poll seems to be the only way to circumvent the abuse of
the honours system. If it's going to go down that route then I think
it should just be scrapped.

> >But he wont. He'll wear a morning suit & his head will swell so much
> >that he can't fit his flat cap on ;) Anyway, he's another worthless
> >bloody celebrity. 
> >
> Blasphemy! Dibnah is a genuine Northern hero! He's the perfect candidate 
> for an honour:


> 1. Aspirational working class

I am ..... almost

> 2. Loves the subject he specialises in which makes virtually no money 
> but is important for british heritage

Me too! (woodwork)

> 3. Does large amounts of charity work he keeps schtum about

So schtum, he might not do any at all. Me too!

> 4. Is unlikely to embarass the honour at a later date (e.g. become a 
> member of the Nazi party, get found in a public toilet with a sixth 
> former, etc.)

Me too! Where's my bloody honour!?! :)

> >Next year I predict a Big Brother contestant will
> >win a gong - probably the ghastly fat one if she gets as far as
> >screwing Prince Charles. BTW, anybody know how well Charles' boyfriend
> >has done in the honour stakes over the years?
> >
> 1. No Big Brother contestant will get an honour unless they do something 
> bloody remarkable in the future

Like screw Charles?

> 2. Charles does not have a boyfriend. 

FYI, Charles has a number of boyfriends & girlfriends but they are
generally kept out of the public eye by the PCC. He held a bash for
the PCC not so long ago and in a show of hubris invited all his
boyfriends & girlfriends along. A number of his girlfriends are well
known actresses, singers etc. and a number of them have received
honours. Plenty of actresses of the generation above are girlfriends
of his father - they too have been honoured. The then head of the PCC
is a life peer: Wakeham. He got found out to be totally bloody
useless if not corrupt - sat on the board of governors of Worldcom ie.
fiddling going on under his nose. 

Is the honours system smelling a bit? I think so.

> It is however traditional for well-behaved workers of the Royal
> Household who give a life's service for virtually no money, to
> receive in their later years an award of some form. There are quite
> a few senior civil servants who benefit too, but then they do run
> the entire country...

I don't care if it's `traditional' that they get honours. They get
paid and that should be enough. I don't expect an honour for turning
up at work everyday.

> >You really got me worried there until you corrected yourself.
> >Inevitably he will get a gong & it's honouring filth like him that
> >makes me want to leave the country. Even I can do better than
> >downloading a thesis off the 'net to bolster some (bogus) arguments.
> >
> I'll bet you even money you can't. 

Are you implying I can't use Google & a wordprocessor?!

> Without wanting to drag *that* argument up again, it was always
> going to be bordering on impossible to put together a decent
> dossier. Their mistake was thinking that 2 years before a General
> Election a Prime Minister has to justify his decision to anybody. If
> they'd just followed tradition and got on with it, they would not
> have had the problems they had later on.

The problem they had was that they decided the policy before they had
the facts. They then decided to sell the policy to a sceptical public
- made sceptical by the fact that the reasons for the war seemed to
shift daily.

Realpolitik dicatates that Blair had to justify his decision and even
Blair said to Hutton that he had to make as good a job as possible of
selling it to the public (he never explained why or was challenged as
to why it should be so).

The problem for him was that he was selling somebody elses policy ie.
the Americans.

> Kelly would still be alive and they'd have two years to turn the
> public around. The whole problem with Campbell is that he thinks the
> Govt needs to be "On Message" when in fact people stopped listening
> a long time ago.

Campbell typifies this government - totally useless at his job.
("He's the best in the business" - Blair)

Campbell has also done lasting damage to how people view politicians.
His cynicism has been infectious and been caught by the rest of the
population. He should be hanged, drawn & quartered yet I'd put money
on him getting a gong in due course.

> For all the rhetoric people spit out in pubs, the majority of the
> country couldn't give a damn about the UK having gone to war in
> March. I have even seen polling data proving it...

I really don't know. I know it bothers me that our country just
implements American foreign policy, irrespective of how half-baked it
is, seemingly after Blair and Bush have had a praying session and a
chat with a few bonkers rightwingers. 

Just because what happened doesn't concern people doesn't mean it
shouldn't concern them. Our lame brain prime minister has made us all

> >The fact that the occasional person worthy of receiving an honour like
> >Berners-Lee receives one doesn't mean that the whole system shouldn't
> >be scrapped. Although perversely, I'm all for keeping hereditary peers
> >- accident of birth is a far more democratic way of electing people
> >rather than cronyism & political patronage, although people are always
> >telling me otherwise.
> >
> Right, so you think Berners-Lee deserves it, 


> people who were born into a feudalistic position of power deserve it, 

They don't deserve it, they should just get it. Accident of birth is
as good a way as any to distribute power IMO.

> but Fred Dibnah and people considered popular don't?

No, because they've done bugger all worthwhile and are no different to
me in that respect.

> I think you've just lost all political credibility on that one
> there. :-)

I guess I didn't have much to begin with anyway! :)

> Now, back to FreeBSD...
> I'll stop ranting now too.

My apologies to the list for all this off-topic ranting.

BTW, is it possible to have another list where UK FreeBSD users can
just rant about stuff not necessarily to do with BSD but stuff that
BSD users might/might not be interested in anyway? Anybody interested?
ie. a sort of social list.



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