Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Pay up £571M or lose your knighthood

The above headline (from the Daily Mirror 25 July 2016) reflects the exasperation that many feel at the behaviour of Sir Philip Green – former boss of BHS.

But surely this is muddled thinking?

If Sir Philip has behaved so badly that many feel he should lose his knighthood, how does him “paying up” purge his guilt and allow him to keep his knighthood? It’s almost as if he is being told that he has been so bad that he is going to lose his knighthood – but that he can buy it back for £571M.

Knighthoods should not be for sale.

Allowing a company that you control to run up such a huge pension deficit that the fund has to be rescued to ensure that pensioners get 90% of what is due to them must be wrong. Sir Philip seemed to either not care about the deficit or not be bothered about how the scheme was being funded. But he took the rewards and the honours.

The
London Gazette
of Friday 16 June 2006
Supplement No. 1

CENTRAL CHANCERY OF
THE ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD
St. James’s Palace, London SWI
17 June 2006
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of the Celebration of Her Majesty’s Birthday, to signify her intention of conferring the honour of Knighthood upon the undermentioned:

Knights Bachelor


Philip GREEN, Retail Executive, for services to the Retail Industry

The London Gazette, Publication date: 17 June 2006, Supplement: 58014, Page: 1

When considering whether someone should hold on to their knighthood surely two factors need to be taken into account:

  1. Have the grounds for which the honour was awarded since been found to be in some way invalid? or,
  2. Has the recipient been found guilty of an offence which leads to the forfeiture of honours?

I don’t see how, under public pressure, coughing up £571M can alter either of those two factors.

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