It really annoys me when people make a song and dance about refusing honours.
I don’t like the honours list either. If someone offered me a knighthood (about as likely as the galaxy spontaneously mutating into a giant space aardvark) I’d turn it down too; the trappings of the Establishment simply don’t interest me and anyway I believe the Royal family should close its doors upon the death of the present Queen. (By what authority, in the modern world, do they claim me as a ‘subject’ on my passport?)
But if your personal beliefs prevent you from taking a CBE or OBE or whatever, be true enough to those beliefs to just… not take it. Don’t make a fuss. Don’t call a press conference. Don’t use an honestly-made offer as a soapbox to shout out your reasons for not wanting to join the club. If nothing else, that’s just plain rude.
Joseph Corre of Agent Provocateur doesn’t care about honours, and cares about them so little that he’s informed the media, in great detail and at great length, of his decision not to accept an MBE. Apparently before telling the honours people themselves. This is really unpleasant of him. Almost as unpleasant as the image he conjures up when saying he’d ‘be delighted to have the Queen as a customer.’
Far from being offended, Corre gives the impression of being secretly delighted at having a chance to air his views.
What’s all the fuss about? In Blair’s Britain, people who want an honour can just buy one.