Binding the country together

The UK remains more a bureaucracy rather than a legislature, so the Birthday Honours List released today — 2,000 people supposedly honoured by the Queen — remains under the almost total control of the civil service. The Prime Minister is allowed to put forward a few names for peerages and knighthoods but that’s all.

The Honours system is a method of binding the loyalties of the more influential individuals at different social levels — though predominantly among the upper middle class — to the concept of the centralised nation-state. The number of people who actually turn down an honour is almost infinitesimally small but they’re often among the more ‘interesting’ personalities around.

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