UK: How even are those honours?

UK: How even are those honours? - The justification for Britain's honours system - sometimes dismissed as an anachronistic absurdity - is that it is a remarkably cost-effective way of rewarding those who give outstanding service to the nation.

The justification for Britain's honours system - sometimes dismissed as an anachronistic absurdity - is that it is a remarkably cost-effective way of rewarding those who give outstanding service to the nation.

But publication of the Honours List is also an occasion for people with sharp noses to detect a faint whiff of injustice. It happened again this summer when, as reported in the press, a study by the union-funded Labour Research Department revealed that, out of a total of 147 industrialists knighted during Margaret Thatcher's years as Prime Minister, 68 were connected to companies giving financial support to the Conservative Party and its allies.

That was shortly before the 1991 Birthday Honours - the first of the Major Government - which created seven private sector industrial knights, including three chiefs of companies which support the Tories.

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