About two months ago, up to 150 people in Norn Iron will have got letters from a department within the Cabinet Office in Downing Street.
They will have been told that “Her Majesty the Queen” (sic) has decided to award them a peerage, knighthood, CBE, QPM. OBE, MBE, BEM …and they will have been asked to treat the correspondence as confidential and to reply indicating their acceptance or if they decline.
In England itself, the word “Empire” is not exactly acceptable in some circles. Many leftists or people from ethnic minorities decline an honour simply because of the word.
What I find more curious is that quite a lot of lefties and people from ethnic backgrounds are happy enough to take a bauble.
Norn Iron is no different. The letters will have gone out to folks here.
It is not exactly Cold Calling and Junk Mail. People are “sounded out”.
For example, a midwife who has spent 40 years of her life delivering babies in County Down will be recommended for a MBE or whatever. Her discerning boss will have a good idea if she is likely to accept. And the elderly lady who runs the charity/good will shop in County Tyrone…her charity committee will have a fair idea of whether the lady is unionist or nationalist.
It is not straightforward to say that unionists accept honours and nationalists refuse. I know a Catholic nurse and a Catholic teacher who have accepted the honour they were offered. And I know another Catholic civil servant who received the Cabinet Office letter and went straight round to Human Resources to confront the official who recommended him.
That’s how it goes. There are always Uncle Toms in the Republican and Nationalist community. But the point is that in order for the final published Honours List to appear balanced, more Catholics have to asked to allow for the Catholics who tell the Cabinet Office to shove their letter where the Sun dont shine.
As a general rule, nationalist politicians do not accept honours. It is bad for business. Gerry Fitt went into the House of Lords in 1983 but he had left SDLP some years before. In 2019, Margaret Ritchie joined the House of Lords but left SDLP to so do. Her decision to accept a peerage sent shock waves thru the SDLP. She now sits in the Lords as a member of the (British) Labour Party.
At this time of year…the dog days between Christmas and New Year, I always get nervous that a SDLP politician might accept a peerage or other honour. Likewise any celebrity (entertainer or sports man or woman) So hopefully not this week.
Have I any predictions?
Well could Arlene Foster, former First Minister ousted by DUP “colleagues” this year get into the Lords .”Lady Foster” is almost certain.
Or David Ford former Alliance Leader and Minister for Justice get a knighthood. “Sir David Ford”?
“Dame Deirdre Heenan”…..hopefully not.
Archbishop Eamonn Martin….I wouldn’t put it past him.
Quintin Oliver…..who knows? …”Quintin Oliver OBE?”