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June 20, 2007

Idiots in the Bureaucracy

Truly, we do seem to have some cognitive issues amongst the great and the good that make up the Quangocracy.

The Knighthood for Salman Rushdie is of course an excellent idea, not least because it offends all the right people. However, the ginormous brains that run the country thought, well:

Yesterday the director of its London chapter, Jonathan Heawood, said that he was taken aback by the scale of the reaction. Mr Heawood said it had been felt that an honour for the writer, who was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), would be seen as a positive step in British-Asian relations.

Err, tens of millions across the world are convinced he is a blasphemer: honouring him will improve relations?

The committee that recommended Salman Rushdie for a knighthood did not discuss any possible political ramifications and never imagined that the award would provoke the furious response that it has done in parts of the Muslim world, the Guardian has learnt.

They didn't think about it? Good God, what are these people drawing their expenses for? To think about it, consider it and then decide that it's no damn business of any foreigner who gets a K would be acceptable, but to fail to even note the issue does make me wonder how the rest of the quangocracy works.

It was chaired by Lord Rothschild, the investment banker and former chairman of the trustees of the National Gallery. The other committee members are Jenny Abramsky, the BBC's director of radio and music; novelist and poet Ben Okri, who is vice-president of the English chapter of PEN International, which campaigns on behalf of writers who face persecution; Andreas Whittam Smith, former editor of the Independent; John Gross, the author and former theatre critic of the Sunday Telegraph; and two permanent secretaries, one from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and one from the Scottish executive.

Most odd. Rothschild at least is known to possess a brain.

Finally, further evidence of the decline in the media:

No date has been set for the investiture. Two ceremonies are due to take place next month but they are likely to be for those who were named in the New Year's honours list. Rushdie could become Sir Salman in the next batch of investitures between October and December or early next year.

No. The investiture is a nice ceremony and all, a day out at the Palace etc, but the honour exists from the time it is gazetted. He is Sir Salman now.

Duncan Campbell's usually much better than that. Was that last para tacked on by the day release boy?

June 20, 2007 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink


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The thing is, though, at least from your viewpoint, it doesn't 'annoy all the right people', does it? Unless you mean 'Right', when you may be onto something. This is why people like Ruth Dudley Edwards are getting in such a tizz - he's a signed up member of the out-of-touch liberal elite, and yet he's also annoyed the muslims. It just doesn't compute, and so she (and others as you noted yesterday) are reduced to absurdities such as saying she would lay down her life to defend his right to publish the Satanic Verses, but she just thinks he should be a little bit more grateful.

Tim adds: As a classical liberal yes indeed, there are times when such as Ruth Dudley Edwards are the "right" people to annoy. I as much against the social and cultural statists as I am against the economic ones further to the left.

Posted by: Matthew | Jun 20, 2007 8:26:15 AM

Has anyone bothered to ask why this posturing media luvvie is even considered worthy of a knoghthood in the first place? Apart from costing taxpayers a fortune to protect him against the fatuah, appearing at every possible gallery opening (admittedly with a beautiful wife), literary launch and papparazzi event and writing dull, turgid prose - what exactly makes him a candidate to be a knight of the realm?

Posted by: Tinxx | Jun 20, 2007 2:16:01 PM

Yes, a knoghthood is what he ought to have been given.

Posted by: Little Black Sambo | Jun 20, 2007 3:07:55 PM