Britain’s feudal “honours” system has taken another welcome hit with the announcement that the “stylist” of Samantha Cameron, wife of former prime minister David Cameron, is to be given an official “honour” for her “diary and fashion services”. The “honour” is the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Two government drivers will become Members of the British Empire.
The OBE was one of many recommended by Mr Cameron on his resignation as prime minister.
The honours system, an elaborate state-sponsored social hierarchy, was already in great disrepute. It allows the wealthy to effectively buy a seat in the legislature by giving money to one of the major political parties. All those appointed as a “lord” become legislatures-for-life without an election. Holders of honours have subsequently been been convicted of criminal offences or have had other disreputable behaviour exposed.
The harmful effect that the honours system can inflict on democratic society was also highlighted by the appointment of Shami Chakrabarti, the former head of civil liberties group Liberty, as a “life peer”. The peerage will give her an official position at the top of the country’s social hierarchy and a seat in the legislature without the need for an election. This acceptance by Ms Chakrabarti of feudal privilege is likely to seriously undermine the credibility of the British civil liberties movement.