On his way out of the door, former Prime Minister David Cameron left his honours list as a farewell gift. The people nominated on the list ranged from stylists to drivers and from MPs to special advisers. Among those selected for a knighthood were two Tory MPs. In terms of providing service to the public their record appears rather questionable.
On his way out of the door, former Prime Minister David Cameron left his honours list as a farewell gift. The people nominated on the list ranged from stylists to drivers and from MPs to special advisers. Among those selected for a knighthood were two Tory MPs, Oliver Letwin and Patrick McLoughlin for their… political and public service? Well, they’ve both voted for the bedroom tax, voted to reduce welfare benefits, voted to increase tuition fees to £9000, voted for more restrictive controls on trade unions and the list goes on. In terms of providing service to the ‘public’ their record appears rather questionable.
There is also Andrew Cook, chairman of William Cook holdings and the Treasurer of the campaign group ‘Conservatives In’. Mr Cook, at the same time, is quite the charitable man. He has given £1.5 million to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge – clearly he cares about the education of the new generation. As well as these millions he has given away to elite educational institutions in charitable donations, he also donates money to various welfare charities such as homeless and children’s charities which total a massive £30,000 – quite the philanthropist! Although Andrew Cook donates the type of money that would make Robert Owen or John Rowntree look stingy, his goodwill is overshadowed by the £2.5 million he has donated to the Tory party over the years; this goes to show where Mr Cook’s real priorities lie.
Tom Watson alleges that this honours list is a clear example of David Cameron’s ‘cronyism’. Although it is clear that Cameron has drawn up of list of his Tory mates to reward, it is not as if the ‘crony’ honours is a problem unique to Cameron. Theresa May, for all her supposed talk of ‘social justice’, has not attempted to prevent these honours from being awarded. It’s also not as if it’s just the Tories who are ‘crony’-ists. Tony Blair is well known for giving away peerages for a couple of backhanders during the ‘Cash for Honours’ scandal in 2007. Life honours are not and have never been rewarded for merit. They are rewards not for ‘service’ to the general public but for services and continuing obedience to the capitalist class.
Although some kind of vague power to veto the honours has been suggested, this does not go nearly far enough. A system based upon exploitation of one class by another (i.e. the privileged over the unprivileged, the capitalist class over the working class) will only reward those who best serve the ruling class’s interests. The state is a tool in the hands of the capitalist class and life honours are one way in which to thank their ilk. Capitalism is inherently unequal and the disadvantaged will never be rewarded for their efforts unless they submit to the capitalist class. The monarchy, the House of Lords and this ridiculous honours system are relics of a feudal class system and have been adapted to serve the interests of the 1% and their hangers-on under a capitalist class system.
All of this nonsense, from the monarchy to the Lords, needs to be abolished. They make a mockery of democracy. And we need to abolish the class system that has kept these relics around for so long. If we’re serious about democracy then we need democracy in the economy as well, and that means getting rid of private ownership of big business and getting rid of capitalism itself. This is the way forward to socialism. Only then, can everyone be free to pursue the life they want to live. Only in a socialist society can undeserved privilege and cronyism be done away with for good.