Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Inappropriate politicisation

There are valid arguments for not putting Fred Goodwin on the Naughty Step - chiefly, that it's a dramatic gesture that gives the impression that politicians are "doing something" without actually obliging them to do any of the big, hard, complex, systemic, mindset-changing things needed to regulate an out-of-control financial services industry and neuter its capacity to lobby policymakers, nationalise its losses and destroy the prosperity and well-being of everybody else.

Then there are invalid arguments, like this, from Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors:

To do it because... you don't approve of someone, you think they have done things that are wrong but actually there is no criminality... is inappropriate and politicises the whole honours system.

If leading members of a society decide to honour certain achievements and not others, that's a political act. If they choose to honour certain people and not others, that, too is a political act. It's all about what and whom we value as a society, (not to mention politicians using patronage to reward loyalty or favours). What could be more political? The idea that the honours system is apolitical and that the decision to withdraw an honour somehow brings the nasty, rough world of politics into a system too high-minded to bother itself with such grubby considerations must be the daftest thing I've heard all week.

Walker gets an extra bonus bullshit bingo point for using the weasel word "inappropriate" to imply that his own personal distaste represents some universally agreed standard of behaviour.