Monday, March 09, 2009

Against knighthoods

So, out of the blue, the National government has decided to restore the archaic institution of knighthoods. Talk about turning back the clock. So instead of having our own honours system which reflects our modern society and values, we'll be aping thousand-year-old institutions of oppression and aristocratic privilege. Which is the sort of thing that happens when you retain a monarchy.

Make no mistake: this is about aristocracy, it is about hierarchy, and it is about deference. None have any place in New Zealand, a country where "Jack is as good as his master". This move is deeply at odds with egalitarian kiwi values, and it exposes National's true nature as the promoters and protectors of privilege. It also exposes their cultural cringe, their sense of insecurity and crawling sycophancy to our former imperial masters. New Zealand honours aren't good enough for them. New Zealand isn't good enough for them. I humbly suggest that if they feel that way, they should piss off somewhere else. The UK still has titles. If they want one, they could always buy one there.

Still, there is a plus side: firstly, we'll be able to find out who all National's secret donors are - there's no hiding a payback knighthood behind an anonymising trust. And secondly, we can have great fun speculating on which other "worthy" New Zealanders they'll reward. "Sir" Roger Kerr, anyone? Or maybe "Dame" Diane Foreman? What about "Sir" Richard Prebble or "Sir" Don Brash? Or will we finally see "Dame" Ruth Richardson...?