The United Kingdom honours system is under scrutiny, yet again, with the title given to Tony Blair by the Queen.

Whether the former Prime Minister should have been given the honour is up for debate. There are many reasons why he shouldn’t and you could find others for why he should.

For someone who was in office for so long, he can list many domestic achievements and there are the obvious and spectacular failures, mostly in foreign policy, that had catastrophic consequences.

But rather than debate whether Tony Blair is worthy of a title, which some are calling the highest honour in the land, we could look at whether we should have such honours at all in the 21st century.

And anyway, he already had the highest honour in the land given to him in 1997 when he became Prime Minister, having been emphatically endorsed by the people in a democratic election,and then again in 2001 and 2005.

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There is no greater recognition from his own country than that.

So, I won’t spend any more time on Tony, or Sir Anthony, or whatever he is now to be called.

Let’s look instead, at who gets these honours and why.

First, there is the obvious political appointments nominated by governments in the age old ‘you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’ system of reciprocity.

These people, who already have considerable money, power and influence are then able to use their new ‘elevated’ status to dupe others into thinking they are somehow even more worthy and use it to make even more money and exert even more influence and power, that they don’t actually deserve.

A bit like politicians being given a seat in the House of Lords, once the stop contesting elections or are defeated in one.

A recipe for sleaze and corruption if ever there was one.

Then, there is the celebrity and sporting honours.

In this respect the Monarchy is feeding on the success, and years of hard work, of others to associate themselves with talented people who got where they are without any help from those who hand out honours.

It is after these people have earned the highest honours in their own field that the monarchy and the establishment takes notice and decides to hand out a medal or a title.

What they are saying is ‘You can be one of us now’ when actually they are the opposite, because they worked hard, maximizing their talent, for what they have.

I doubt if Andy Murray, as a young boy leaving Dunblane to pursue his tennis dream, before another punishing training session, was motivated by the goal of one day being called Sir Andy.

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Or, Alex Ferguson, striving for trophies in Aberdeen and Manchester was spurred on by the thought of a visit to Buckingham Palace one day.

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Maybe they were, because I can’t pretend to know what either thought or thinks, but I suspect they were more occupied by thoughts of winning Wimbledon or the European Cup as a measure of their success.

Each of the above are revered and respected by millions in Britain, me included.

Not because they have three letters in front of their name but because of what they achieved beforehand, over many years on the tennis court and football pitch.

Then there are the little people.

Those who the wider public have not heard of, the school dinner server and the lollipop person, even occasionally, the local journalist.

Those recognised for work in the community with a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Used as a way of convincing those who receive an honour that they are incredibly fortunate to be recognised by a higher power but it is to maintain the relationship of sovereign and subjects.

In the latter two categories, I would not dare attempt to detract from any sense of achievement or pride people, famous or otherwise, take from being given such an honour, nor say they are not deserved, because in most cases I am certain they are.

Instead my point is the honours system benefits those who bestow them more than those on who they are bestowed.

It is an archaic practice, used to maintain the power and influence of an undemocratic monarchy and aristocracy and system of patronage, that acts as it always has done, which is with the overarching aim of perpetuating its own existence.

A relic of history that dishes out titles in the name of an entity that has long since ceased to exist and which history will deem to have been a malign influence on the rest of the world, namely the British Empire.

Every year, Knights and Dames of the British Empire, and so on, are created.

Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Order of the Bath, Order of the Thistle, Knights Bachelor, Dame Grand Cross, Knight of the Order of the Noble Squirrel in the Rose Garden (Ok, I made that one up).

Members of the Order of the British Empire, Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Commander of the British Empire, Officer of the Order of the British Empire,

They might as well hand out Orders of the Dodo.