That annual self congratulatory, class ridden farce where people are awarded honours for doing their job (or sometimes not doing it), creeping, stumping up money for political parties, and after a absence of a few years, being bought by the prime minister.
Cameron promised us before the Olympics (presumably hoping to distance himself from Brown's statement that Olympians were like troops in Afghanistan and should be rewarded with gongs), that Olympians wouldn't automatically receive honours unless they had "put something back" (in Big Society style)... [Ha ha, remember the Big Society?]. Incidentally, at this point it is interesting to note that 'worst injured but still living' member of the armed forces from Afghanistan was indeed awarded a gong yesterday. Ben Parkinson, who lost his legs and suffered brain damage, was awarded an MBE, the lowest possible British Empire medal.
Cameron, desperate to buy the services of some of his less adoring MPs, and because he didn't actually win the election, being unable to find them the non-jobs of government, has handed out knighthoods to nonentity backbenchers.
The already ennobled and be-knighted Sebastian Coe was not, as I had predicted he would be, married off to princess Goofie, and made an honorary prince. Maybe his wife objected. He was, instead, made a Companion of Honour, whatever that is. They'll soon need two Wikipedia pages for this man, one for his name and all the letters after it; the other for his career details.
Tory donors did well too. Despite the outcry at last year's handouts to Cameron's friends in the City (Eton boys don't hear what plebs are saying...it's an inbuilt upper class hearing defect), the Tory paymasters are there again. Michael Heller, is the most prominent. He forked out £100,000 for his knighthood. Some paid a good deal less.
Lord Oakshott said that it was "Arise, Sir Donor" as usual, and the Deputy Chairman of the Labour party (somewhat ironically) pointed out that this showed that Cameron was out of touch and that he always stood up for the wrong people. How fortunate we are that the Labour party is in touch and stands up for the right people.
Among other notable personages (Labour ones as it happens) to achieve what passes for greatness in London society, Cherie Blair, her of the large mouth and insatiable appetite for more and then yet more money, became a Commander of the British Empire for 'services to women'...what?.... and Maggie Beckett of Hanging Baskets became a dame commander of the same place for..erm...being an MP forever because she had a safe seat and never really succeeding at anything.
We cannot pretend that this corruption and nepotism is anything new. Tony Benn wrote in his diary that the honours system has always been corrupt. First it was the king who sold honours to increase his power, influence and finances, and with time that responsibility, like so many others passed to his government.It's just that with every year it becomes tackier and tackier.
If I had one I'd seriously think of handing it back.