A question of honour

Honours: Report of the Select Committee on Public Administration
An extract:

"136. On the other hand, the seemingly automatic nature of the awards, the sense that they are expected and assumed, creates a feeling of unfairness and undermines the credibility of the system—especially when senior civil servants are so prominent on the honours committees. The argument that honours are needed to compensate for low state pay is hardly conclusive; in strict logic, it would mean that those in paid employment in the voluntary sector (where salaries are often very modest) should be treated with even greater generosity. Privileged access for state servants is something of an anachronism. The original historical justification for favourable treatment has weakened as the Nolan principle of selection on merit has established itself as an integral part of public life. The practical utility of some honours also appears dubious. Lord Hurd’s view after many years in the Foreign Office, was that ambassadorial knighthoods were simply not necessary to the proper conduct of diplomacy, while a former ambassador’s wife described to us her husband’s unsuccessful battle to avoid acquiring one.â€?

No prizes for guessing…


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