Reprinted from Caribbean Net News


Pardon me, sir, but how much did you pay for your knighthood?

Friday, July 14, 2006

by: Anthony L. Hall

I have written a number of articles delineating my moral, political and social disdain for royalty and all of its fairy-tale appurtenances.  Moreover, I’ve never been shy about expressing unqualified schadenfreude every time scandal exposed its inherent fallacies and reminded monarchists of the institutionalized affront Royal families constitute to the universal truth that all people are created equal.  And, more than any other royals, the British Royal family has provided enough fodder in this regard to incite unrelenting snicker and sustained contempt.

The genius . . . springs from every class and from every part of the land. You cannot tell where you will not find a wonder. The hero, the fighter, the poet, the master of science, the organiser, the engineer, the administrator, or the jurist - he may spring into fame. Equal opportunity for free institution and equal laws.
[Winston Churchill’s unwitting argument against the British Monarchy and its anachronistic Honours System]

Anthony L. Hall is a descendant
of the Turks & Caicos Islands,
international lawyer and political
consultant - headquartered in
Washington DC - who publishes
his own Internet Weblog at
offering commentaries on current
events from a Caribbean
Therefore, it is with the spirit of a Cheshire cat that I feel obliged to comment on the scandal now rocking the superficial foundations of royal households all over Great Britain, and which threatens to bring down the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair.  Because Blair’s personal friend and his Party’s chief fundraiser, Lord Levy,  has ensnared the government in a “cash-for-honours” scheme, which makes the cash-for-access scheme perpetrated by U.S. President George W. Bush’s buddy and his Party’s top fundraiser, Jack Abramoff, seem dignified and honourable by comparison.

Lord Levy (a.k.a. Lord Cashpoint) was arrested on Wednesday and interrogated about his involvement in the generally accepted British practice of pawning life peerages in the House of Lords for generous contributions to party campaign slush funds - the way Catholic Bishops once sold indulgences for generous offerings to church coffers. And, British political intrigue being every bit as Machiavellian as that of the Italians, I suspect it was an operative for Deputy PM Gordon Brown – hoping to hasten Blair’s “long overdue” resignation – who leaked to the press just yesterday that Scotland Yard will soon summon the prime minister himself for interrogation on this matter.

Such a summons, of course, would provide yet another unflattering tethering to his political alter-ego, former U.S. President Bill (“It depends on what the meaning of the word is… is”) Clinton - who was infamously interrogated about his Monica Lewinsky affair.  (Although, I imagine ‘tis a tethering - on respective domestic sleaze - that is devoutly to be wished, instead of Blair’s current tethering to Bush on their infernal misadventures in Iraq.  But I digress….)

As one can appreciate, Blair is not waiting around for the Chief Inspector to come knocking.  In fact, he’s enlisted a number of high-profile spinmeisters to disabuse Scotland Yard of any notion of questioning his political integrity. (It hardly inspires confidence in the probity of his public service, however, when Blair’s most notable defender is former Home Secretary David Blunkett.  After all, Blunkett’s notorious sexual dalliances constituted such betrayals of the public trust that he was forced to resign from Blair’s cabinet on two separate occasions.)

Nonetheless, Blair’s supporters categorically deny any wrongdoing and insist that assertions to the contrary are consistent only with a well-orchestrated campaign to smear and “destabalise” the prime minister.  (A vast right-wing conspiracy… perhaps?)

But of the 48 individuals already caught in the crosshairs of Scotland Yard’s sights on Blair, Sir Gulam Noon may prove the most compelling witness for the police.  Because he not only made no secret of his royal ambition to be elevated from Knight to Lord, but Sir Gulam was equally unabashed in tendering his “loan” of £250,000 to Lord Levy for this royal indulgence.  And, this nexus between his payment and Blair’s subsequent recommendation that he be thusly elevated may prove the compromising stain that all the denials and spin in the world cannot wash out. 

Moreover, it does not bode well for Blair (and all British subjects who made it onto the royal Honours List during his premiership) that the Labour-dominated Public Administration Select Committee released a damning report just yesterday, which found that:

“…peerages are handed out for cash rather than “worthiness.”

Given this report,  and the reasonable inference that this unseemly practice did not begin with the Blair government, even the most devoted monarchists must now question the worth and propriety of the Queen continuing to confer honours (on the occasion of her birthday in early June and at the New Year) of such evidently dubious merit.   Therefore, I encourage citizens throughout the Caribbean Commonwealth to prevail upon our national leaders to cease and desist recommending our citizens for these farcical investitures, if not to perfect our sovereignty (as independent republics) then as a matter of national pride.

NOTE: Reliable sources predict that Scotland Yard’s Deputy Commissioner John Yates will have Blair in the hot seat later this fall.  How the mighty have fallen:  Even the hapless John Major was not subjected to this indignity when members of his party were caught taking bribes from a lobbyist in exchange for asking parliamentary questions (on behalf of Dodi Fayed’s dotty Daddy and Harrods owner, Mohammed Al-Fayed) in what become known as the cash-for-questions scheme.

ENDNOTE: HRH Prince Charles is fond of issuing decrees for buildings he deems eyesores on the skyline of London, which need to be demolished.  But I humbly submit that royalty is an eyesore on the landscape of humanity, which needs to be abolished!

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