Re: Honorary knighthoods
Bill Gates did something worthwhile for the UK? What? Was it something signifcantly more worthwhile that lots of other people?
The apparent result of the process is that people like Philip Green get a knighthood and a stream of career civil servants get a plethora of honors as retirement presents. It is perfectly possible to recognize sterling work of genuine community value without the pompous garbage involved in the current honors system.
Making a "what about" argument about France and Germany is not the point but just to respond - Germany spends a much smaller percentage of its GDP on defence and accepted 1 million refugees when the UK accepted 20,000 over 5 years. Perhaps that is why some food banks are needed? BTW, the old DDR still lags behind the old GDR, for example most of the right wing nut-jobs are successful in the eastern cities (although not uniformly). But moving away from the "what about" argument - the point is that the disparity between rich and poor in the UK is widening and many people seem to think this is OK. I do not think it is OK and I think expressions of of privilege such as the honors system is a contributing factor to why many other people just accept this situation.
Any human activity can spend more money on itself, but the point is to define what the activity will do and then to define how much money it needs to do that. Then make choices about how what activities are affordable - these choices reflect the cultural values of nation. Defence is very much different to healthcare when it costs so much that the well-being of the people in the country starts to suffer. Healthcare, education, council funding, social security funding are all having problems. Aircraft carriers have little to do with national defence and much more to do with projecting power overseas. There are plenty of countries that do not have aircraft carriers and manage to defend their borders. Airfields around the UK have fighter aircraft that can easily defend the country. The reality is that the culture in the UK is still that we like and expect to be able to project power and influence the affairs of others. The question that is not being addressed in the UK is to what extent we are prepared to reduce the value given to human lives in our own country for the sake of providing the ability to influence the affairs of others. I don't think that balance is right at the moment.