Why Tony Blair TOTALLY Deserves a Knighthood

How Henry learned that the Knights of the Garter should really be called the War Criminals’ Club

A drawing of Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, weilding a flamethrower with the text, 'Tony Torch 'Em'
Introducing the War Criminals’ Club’s newest member – Tony Torch ‘Em. That flamethrower has ‘atrocity’ written all over it!

Britain’s collective conscience has been shaken – suspected war criminal Tony Blair, like every other former UK Prime Minister, has been appointed Knight of the Order of the Garter. Honestly, the reaction is less surprising than the time it’s taken to happen.

Thankfully, actual white knight Angus Scott has come to the rescue, launching a petition to get Sir Blair’s Knighthood rescinded. Great. It’s already attracted over 700,000 signatures. Well done Angus Scott. Fingers crossed you’ll join fake King Arthur & Co. next year.

Still, I’m compelled to argue that Tony Blair totally deserves to be a Knight of the Garter. Why? Because historically, the Order of the Garter was actually a club for war criminals. No worries Angus, it isn’t immediately obvious unless you know about this crazy thing called wikipedia.

What’s A Knighthood?

Apparently, a Knighthood is acknowledgement from the Queen that you’re a stand up lord or lady. It’s also an hilarious endorsement from the establishment.

Right, that’s an endorsement from the same establishment that has been protecting a suspected paedophile, cut working age benefits by almost 30% during an unprecedented rise in the cost of living and the same establishment that had a jolly good time partying after they told everyone else to go to bed.

Are you following? 

So, it’s like getting an award from Skeletor and joining the Order of Evil Warriors?

No. Skeletor & the Evil Warriors never managed to do anything that was actually evil. Look at Skeletor’s abs. They were total posers. The Order of the Garter is actually evil; Heart of Darkness style.

What’s the Order of the Garter?

It’s an old English chivalric Order founded by Edward III, to support his dubious claim to the French throne under the guise of reviving the Round Table. It’s been dodgy from the outset.

Even better, I think its motto ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’, means, “If you think it’s bad then you’re evil.” Now that’s a motto that even NAMBLA could use, isn’t it? Also, apparently in French today it’s used ironically, to insinuate someone has hidden, evil intentions.

That lines up with my ancient war criminals club theory, doesn’t it?

What Kind of Person Accepts a Knighthood?

It’s easier to explain the type of person that declines one:

Who delcined the Order of the Garter? Clearly only the cool Prime Ministers – Neville Chamberlain and Harold MacDonald. Chamberlain? Wasn’t he the one who used the Vulcan method of diplomacy to stop Hitler? And Harold MacDonald was the alter-ego of Super Mac, the first British Prime Minister to wear latex after hours.

How about the Knight Batchelor? You know, the one for ordinary people. Didn’t David Bowie, Joseph Conrad, Aldous Huxley and Lawrence of Arabia all reject their Knighthoods? Wasn’t Lawrence of Arabia’s justification for rejecting the honour because it was going to be awarded by the slimy bastards who double crossed Arabia (the British Government)? And didn’t Kipling write some poem about how it’s super lame? 

If Kipling thought it was lame, then it must be like starting a club with your friends to discuss the merits of your smelly pen collection, because Kipling didn’t do anything but write poems and make cakes.

And now, who’s been trying really hard to get a Knighthood? Wasn’t it David Beckham?

Right. So we’ve established that everyone who hangs out on the smoker’s bench declines them, and everyone who goes to parties at No10 unironically wants one. 

War Criminals Club.

Shut Up! The Order of the Garter Isn’t For War Criminals

Fine. I’ll retract it to (almost all) assorted criminals club.

Wasn’t Sir Winston Churchill a Knight of the Garter? Oh yeah. And didn’t he brag about actually killing Sudanese natives with his bare hands? And wasn’t there something about him enthusiastically endorsing the use of concentration camps in the Second Boer War. And that very vocal desire to drop poison gas on Kurdistan?

Or doesn’t he count because he’s dead?

No, Who Else is a Knight of the Garter Now?

Fine. Isn’t the Grand Old Duke of York a Royal Knight of the Garter? Too easy?


How about Lord Luce? Doesn’t he like arguing about how great the British Empire was? Or what about Jock Stirrup, the man responsible for the lack of appropriate body armour for front line troops in Afghanistan? Not to suggest that also his part in the War on Terror was as deplorable through collaboration. Or even Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England who followed Greenspan’s example of do nothing economics during the 2007 Financial Crisis? Or even Mary Peters, who argues against the professional competition of transgender athletes (if you’re not willing to accept that this is a very complex issue).

Is that enough for you? Does that club not seem like the perfect place for War Criminals to lean back against a roaring fire, smoke cigars and share stories?

But Is A Knighthood Appropriate For Tony Blair?

Hmm. Actually, now that you mention it, I understand that the Victoria Cross and George Cross outrank the simple Knighthood. 

Now let’s be fair to Blair. He was an exceptionally well behaved lapdog for George Bush. So, given he was Prime Minister for a decade, I think it’d be only right to award him the equivalent of the Victoria Cross. You know, the Dickin Medal. 

The honour awarded by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals that’s made out of dog biscuits.

Would that make everyone feel better?

What Rescinding Blair’s Honour Will Do

So, we’ve established that honours are stupid and that all the cool people reject them; so logically, if Tony Blair accepts his honour, that makes him a total lame ass.

However, there are three obvious consequences of removing it from him:

  1. It sets a precedent to remove other Prime Minister’s honours (wouldn’t that be a funny game?).
  2. Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party will use it to undermine an already weak opposition.
  3. It endorses the false assertion that, empirically, being a Knight of the Garter is a good thing.

So, no, rescinding Tony Blair’s knighthood is not going to clean up the Knights of the Garter. It’s removing a rotten apple from a bowl of liquidised fruit.

Maybe instead, someone should start a petition to change the Order’s name or get the whole thing cancelled. I’ve already suggested the War Criminals Club. Or, instead, how about we all just let all those old, sad people fellate each other in peace?

Bottom of the Barrel – Why I’m Not Drinking In 2022

Everyone having a really great time at the pub

Excessive drinking and my twenties were intertwined. Most evenings I’d have a couple of solitary beers and a bottle of supermarket own-brand shiraz – after a couple of hours in a pub – any pub with any people.

The next day, aboard an empty No. 76 to the Strand, I’d be hungover. Horribly hungover. And I’d ask myself, “What is drinking too much?”

Dry mouthed, I’d reply, it’s embracing artistry (self destruction). A way to establish common ground with others (ensure mutually assured destruction). And a guaranteed route to sleep (sleep is always self destruction). I was lying to myself about every point except the last one.

And it continued. An unflinching habit between promotions, flatshares, relationships and all the other sentimental crap it’s better to forget. Between awful and bad drafts. Missed opportunities. Athlete’s foot. Regret upon regret. Drinking was always there.

I wasn’t blind to the issue. I knew I was drinking too much. But I didn’t give a shit.

Honestly, I didn’t give a shit until now.

Why? Because I’ve finally realised that I’m tedious. More tedious than an actuary. More tedious than an overused left-wing slogan. More tedious than you.

That’s why I’m not drinking in 2022.

Well done. If only you’d been less exciting.

Why Do You Think You’re Tedious?

I’m writing about quitting drinking. Can you think of anything less inspired?

Actually, maybe you’re right.

Maybe it’s not my fault.

Maybe everyone else is tedious. Maybe something happened to me. I was abused into thinking it was my own fault. I mean, it doesn’t change the substance of quitting drinking, so let’s go with it.

The pub got tedious. Parties got tedious. Exposure must have made me tedious.

How Will Not Drinking Make You Less Tedious?

Not drinking is a great excuse to avoid going to the pub. Going to the pub is making me tedious. How? 

It’s all about the conversations that dominate the ritual:

  • The Past. Oh, do you remember when I could see my toes? They wiggled, I giggled. Now I’m depressed.
  • Technical details about your job. I put the paper in the photocopier or else I get the hose again.
  • Marital aspirations. I finally understand the meaning of love. It’s settling down because I can’t do better. Certainty. Marriage is possession.
  • Children. Thirty years from now, I want my children to repeat this conversation.
  • Mortgages. Are you sure Help To Buy properties are sold at rates 20% average prices for the size of property in an area? No, of course they aren’t. Negative equity is a myth.

I didn’t believe the people I knew would ever start talking about this crap. But they have and do. And now they won’t stop.

It’s lame as hell. I used to like going to the pub. Sitting outside. Smoking cigarettes. Now everyone wants to sit inside, eat food, chat, invite people I don’t like. It’s like they’ve all evolved and I haven’t.

Why did everyone have to ruin it?

So, maybe I haven’t quit drinking. 

Maybe I’m just boycotting drinking.

Aren’t Those Excuses? It Actually Sounds LIke You Have A Problem

What? Why would I make up excuses? This is the opposite of an excuse. If anything, the social point is proof enough that I’m not drinking excessively.

How does that make sense?

When you’re drinking for the sake of drinking, you don’t meet people. I’ve clearly met people, or I wouldn’t be able to recant such a frank summary of ‘people’s’ favourite topics.

You’re thinking that list of conversation topics makes me sound like the whiny kid, Holden Caulfield, who gets his penis flicked by a pimp in Catcher in the Rye, aren’t you?

Got you.

Proof enough that I am really tedious. Now we can continue in earnest.

If You Don’t Have A Problem Why Quit?

I do have a problem. I didn’t quit because I have a problem. I quit because I started caring that I have a problem. There’s a massive difference.

Also, I want to strike from the record that this has anything to do with Dry January. I’m not part of the nation’s annual post-Christmas purge. This is a unique revocation of alcohol.

Maybe it’s because I’m broke and the prospect of living in a flatshare at forty is suddenly looking a lot less romantic than it did in 2021. 

Weird, I know. 

Maybe the aforementioned conversation topics were only boring because I’m in no position to contribute.

But Peak Alcohol Consumption’s Already Been Passed

I never said this was prompted by hitting rock bottom. 

It hit peak alcohol consumption in my late twenties. 

I’d drink two bottles of wine a night, pass out on the sofa and wake up at 5:30 the next day. It’s sad, but I admire how little I used to sleep. 

I also don’t think that compared to a lot of other people I knew, I had that much of a problem. I’ve never liked day drinking, spirits make me queasy and I’m still a healthy 90kg.

After that and some sketchy run ins, I calmed down a lot.

Why Write About Quitting Drinking?

I’m going to write about it twice. Once now. Once at the end of the year.

I’m not sure why I wrote this. 

I felt inspired. 

I also feel that quitting drinking means I’m sacrificing something. And sacrifice calls for documentation. 

I don’t really want to quit drinking, but I do. The desire to see this through is in a strange state of limbo. I thought writing it down might help clarify why I actually want to do it, and make the people I know realise that I have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

Still, I’m going to weigh up the pros and cons of the decision.

Why I Should Renounce Quitting

When I think about quitting drinking, I worry that I’m going to lose the following advantages:

  • Ability to drink more than you. If I stop, I probably won’t be able to drink more than you any more. That depresses me. It’s one of the few things I’m better than average at.
  • Entertainment. I find refraining from drinking is super fucking boring. I was round my girlfriend’s for Galette des Rois, a stupid French holiday about dancing around a cake. I think it’s how they used to decide who to guillotine. Still, both my girlfriend and her flatmate were both laughing a lot while drinking vodka (a French staple), while I consoled myself with a vat of fruit tea and read Philip Roth. Turns out drinking = fun. Not drinking = reading Philip Roth. I can’t even do something about it. That’s my sober personality. My sober personality is reading fucking Philip Roth.
  • Watching cartoons. I like cartoons. Yes, I’m a twelve year old. When I’m super hungover, I stream Ugly Americans again and again and again. Why? I have no idea. Cartoons are bright and vapid. Without a hangover, I can’t justify to myself time spent watching cartoons.
  • Maintaining relationships. I find myself boring. I find people boring. It’s not as much of an issue when I’m drunk, but when I’m sober. I can’t see myself maintaining an already lacklustre collection of relationships.
  • Damaging my liver and kidneys. I don’t want to be in a position where my parents can guilt trip me into giving either of my sisters a kidney or a bit of my liver. Damaging them more would prevent that.

Why I’m Really Quitting Drinking

Really, the only reason I’m quitting is summed up below:

  • Ability to maintain a writing routine. Hangovers and hard engagements wouldn’t get in the way of my pre- and post- work writing routine. So I can finally discover that failing to write anything good was entirely my own fault; not the booze. Perversely, I’d like to have that clarity.
  • Creaseless clothes. If I’m not hungover, I might be so bored that I actually iron my clothes. Clearly, this is only a secondary advantage.

Why I’ve Still Quit Drinking

Really, I’m fed up. I’d already significantly cut down on drinking in October last year. I don’t want to, but I couldn’t see another viable route and I still can’t.

Last year, I spent a lot of time working on a host of projects that never saw the light of day. It didn’t help that I was busy. But I think the only thing I could have changed the outcome of that would have been by completely cutting out drinking.

So that’s why I’m not drinking this year. To chase pipe dreams.

It’s Time To Move Christmas

‘Twas the night after Christmas, 

And all through the house, 

All were perplexed,

Even the mouse.

A really bad rhyme about Christmas 2021
Drawing of baby jesus in a steel drum manger on a tropical island with two palm trees decorated with Christmas decorations and a flame collaged sun in the place of the Star of Bethlehem
The soon to be classic, baby Jesus in a steel drum on a festive tropical summer Christmas Manger Scene

Two Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Specials. Everyone has COVID. It’s raining. Need I say more? I hated Christmas 2021. You hated Christmas 2021. Everyone hated Christmas 2021.

How did it come to this? Christmas used to be great. Is there any way Christmas 2022 can be saved?

I understand your despair, but hold off burning your stockings. This year’s disappointment brings radical hope. For I can now explain why it’s the perfect time to move the secular holiday formerly known as Christmas to the summer and rename it, Super Cool Summer Day.

Here are my thoughts on why Christmas should be moved from December 25 to June 25.

Why Move Christmas To Summer?

Consider everything this radical plan would solveavoidable viral outbreaks, mulled wine, your daughters spewing on your best cushions, affairs, war & me having to go to Suffolk when it’s raining and no one wants to hang out.


Now think of the opportunities. Reimagining St Nicholas for the summer. A more Scream-inspired Krampus. A great excuse to banish The Holiday and Single Santa Meets Mrs Claus. Burning Christmas jumpers and wanton consumerism. A funky new soundtrack based on surf rock and cliche stripped songs. Or how about Bank holidays for when it’s actually nice outside?

Inspired? Great!

The concept’s environmentally sound, culturally acceptable and would probably ‘level-up’ the economy.

Here’s my (actually serious) argument for moving Christmas from December 25 to June 25.

Wait, Why Do You Want To Move Christmas?

Right now, sitting within the tender age range of 29-34, Christmas is only good for one thing – visiting pubs near my parents’ house to ‘randomly’ bump into former classmates.


To show everyone how much I’ve grown. And to drunkenly laugh at how, even though objectively, my achievements are shitter than theirs, in my head, I’m still winning.

“What? Robert’s had a baby? How could anyone live so conventionally? I’ve been experimenting with loneliness since 2017.”

Henry circa Christmas 2019

Well, this was all ruined by COVID (and my unlikeable character).

Instead of putting my least favourite former classmates into imagined headlocks, I found myself caged at my parents’ house. The confinement would have broken someone weaker, but I found hope.

An angel came to me and said, I doth decree Christmas must be cancelled and replaced with Super Cool Summer Day on June 25. It was like, totally spiritual, but also not.

How Would You Move Christmas?

Easy. Cross out Christmas and Boxing Day in all the calendars and then rewrite it on June 25 and 26 respectively. 

Keep New Year’s Eve on December 31 and move Valentine’s Day to December 14. Why move Valentine’s Day? So the uncoupled still have a reason to be depressed this winter.

Wait, I bet you’re thinking I haven’t thought this through, aren’t you?

Isn’t Christmas Jesus’ Birthday?

Right, so your first problem with this plan is that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. Well, you’re wrong.

Jesus’ birthday is disputed. Everyone used to think it was January 4. Why did they change their mind? Because some Roman Christian historian Sextus Julius Africanus calculated that if Jesus was conceived on March 25, he must have gestated for exactly nine months and definitely been born on December 25. It’s suspect isn’t it? How can we feasibly believe something someone called Sextus said? We can’t. So no one has any idea when Jesus was born.

Also, the established thought on Jesus’ birthday being on December 25 was developed by people who thought the earth was flat. Need I say more?

If anything, Jesus is probably really pissed that everyone’s been celebrating his birthday on the wrong day for the last two thousand years. It’d be safer to just not celebrate it.

You don’t want to go to hell, do you?

What About The Winter Solstice?

Every idiot knows that the Romans grafted Jesus’ birthday onto an existing pagan holiday, now lovingly known as Winter Solstice. This was to trick the stupid Engish people into contracting their polytheisic tendencies to boring monotheism.

But wait. It’s 2022. 

I think we can all agree for all the Celts that the celebration of Christmas amounts to the celebration of Celtic cultural genocide. It’s pretty insensitive to celebrate a Christian holiday on one of their holidays.

I Don’t Believe You

Who cares? Jesus was a martyr. Do you know who else is a martyr? Think about it (your sister when she forces herself to eat your home made mince pies). Would you have a holiday on the other martyrs’ birthdays?

Ultimately, I respect your right to believe whatever you like.

I don’t care if you’re theistically wed to 25 December being Jesus’ birthday. 

However, I do think it’s selfish to force everyone else to celebrate that date through a nationally prescribed bank holiday, whether the Church of England exists or not. Particularly if it means that I’m obliged to visit my parents’ in the dead of winter.

Any more problems? No? Great.

Christmas Spreads COVID, Flu & Genital Warts

The main problem with Christmas is that its current date coincides with transmission spikes for viral infections. Now don’t get defensive. It’s time to accept that we live in a post-non-pandemic world.

Right now, Christmas is positioned bang in the middle of the most infectious time of the year. Why? Because we live in England (if you’re reading this and don’t live in England, why?). It’s really cold and rains all the time, even more so in December, January and February.

Also, from whence did COVID emerge in Europe? How did it get to England? From a ski resort in Italy. Can you think of anything more stereotypically Christmas-y? The evidence is pretty clear. In its current incarnation, Christmas = COVID = Death. Want to keep Christmas where it is? Fine, but you need to accept that you’re a murderer.

The Government decreed that when COVID’s about, it’s better to mix socially outside. So it would make way more sense to move national family-orientated holidays to a time of year when you can go outside. 

Unfortunately, the only time of year for that in England is the summer. And we all want to protect the NHS. Don’t we? So why not move Christmas to summer?

Christmas Birthdays Are Unfair

Do you have a birthday near or on Christmas? Do you know someone who has a birthday near, or on Christmas?

Well, I can tell you that these people have suffered. They need someone to speak up for them, because like all people born on Christmas, they’re martyrs (ha – see what I did there?)

It’s not fair that all those born on Christmas Day, or around Christmas, are constantly having their birthdays ruined by Christmas. Statistically, those unlucky enough to be born on the 24, 25 and 26 December receive 57% less presents and merriment than those born on other days. They’re also 78% more likely to go bald.

As a nation, it’s only fair that we shift the pain to another set of birthdays. Haven’t those born around Christmas suffered enough? It’s time to fight for the rights of those with Christmas birthdays.

Consider those born on June 25 – Ricky Gervais, Bartholomeus V. Welser, George Orwell. Haven’t they had enough success because they were born on June 25 already? Totally. Let’s move Christmas there then!

Rebranding Christmas To The Max

Who’s Christmas’ spokesperson? A fat, old white male, whose parents were probably rich. How else would he be able to afford to live in the North Pole as a genteel? Even more troubling, what are his pastimes? Giving children presents, sneaking down chimneys and deciding who’s been naughty and nice.

If that was a description of your weird uncle or Prince Andrew, what would you conclude? Exactly.

A great reason to strip Santa down. Could Coca-Cola find a more appropriate mascot than this hog-roasting hottie?

It’s high time St Nicholas was cancelled and replaced with someone relevant. I’ll leave it to Coca Cola to figure out exactly what they should look like, but why not make them a little more diverse? And instead of holding absolute authority on who deserves presents, why not delegate that to Twitter? I mean, if they’re already doing the work, why duplicate it?

Going beyond the spokesperson, why not change the colours too? Red, green, white and gold? It’s tacky. What about an ironic, second-hand Hawaiian shirt and some pineapples. And instead of mulled wine, which isn’t exactly a brand, how about getting Red Bull and Bacardi to sponsor a very summer Christmas?

Killing Christmas Adverts

Do Christmas adverts still excite you? Of course not. Here’s what I gleaned from 2021’s batch of Christmas adverts:

  1. John Lewis’ alien spaceship thing was weird and appeared to be about how it’s ok for fully grown space women to seduce underage human boys.
  2. Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot appeared to be subliminally pushing the wholesomeness of vibrators. 
  3. Marks & Spencers‘ think it’s seasonally appropriate to push pigs’ cannibalistic tendencies.

While I appreciate that these were a little subversive, they’re scattershot and don’t really work. 

It’d be cooler to see what advertising houses could do with summer Christmas adverts. Imagine New Santa rubbing Boots’ Soltan Sun Block onto whoever won I’m A Celebrity or Coca Cola running a reimagined classic Diet Coke dusty petrol station ad.

You’d probably buy way more crap, thus saving the economy.

Revitalising Christmas Content

It’s a well established fact that all the good Christmas movies aren’t about Christmas; Evil Dead 2, Hook & Escape from New York. Watching these classics in the summer instead of in December wouldn’t diminish viewing pleasure.

Further, most of the Christmas short stories revered today were cynical commercial projects:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was commissioned by the US Department Store Montgomery Ward in the 1930s.

“Nothing says Christmas like a maverick British lieutenant bayonetting a dirty Frenchman in the face.” – Insights from a survey into Daily Mail Reader’s thoughts on Xmas

And don’t get mad at me for revealing this, but everyone’s favourite Christmas fable, Sharpe’s Christmas by Bernard Cornwell, the epic tale of how Major Richard Sharpe and the Prince of Wales Own Volunteers escaped from a dirty French Prison in time to get back for Christmas, was commissioned by the Daily Mail

Both are keen examples of wonderful stories built on black hearts. They’re not filled with the true spirit of Christmas, they’re insides are sticky with miserly capitalist gain.

Think, if Christmas was in the middle of summer, all those struggling writers would have the chance to write, ‘The Very Naughty Drone‘ or ‘How Dare You Say Mistress Claus’ Red Bikini Is Too Small, She Can Wear Whatever She Likes‘.

An Effective Scheme To Save The Hospitality Sector

This year, major brewer Adnams reported that they made only 50% of their usual takings this Christmas. As all the pubs were emphasising in the run up to Christmas 2021, takings over the holiday usually keep them afloat for the slow months over the rest of the year. So, as emphasised already, given that the Government has absolutely no idea when the COVID pandemic will be over, there’s every possibility they’ll face the consequences of a soft lockdown next Christmas.

Think about it. Could you handle it, if by Christmas 2023 all the pubs in your parents’ town have been forced to close? Where would you go on Christmas Eve? How would you find school friends to put into imaginary headlocks? You wouldn’t.

The only realistic and proactive measure that anyone can take to prevent this outcome is to move Christmas to June 25. With New Year’s Eve remaining where it is, the hospitality sector will get a double boost (probably).

Moving Christmas To Summer – The Gift That Keeps Giving

Even better, moving Christmas to the summer time would mean two more bank holidays over summer. 

That’s perfect for people with real jobs. Even better, there’s a sweetener.

If you don’t move the school summer holidays, teachers would lose two bank holidays. This makes the change much easier to sell to readers of the Sun and the Daily Mail.

What Could Go Wrong?


I’d have a better Christmas. You’d have a better Christmas. We’d all have a better Christmas.

The only disadvantage would be that I can no longer bask in the heating at my parents’ house over December. But ultimately, I truly believe that’s a very small price to pay for banishing this shitty tradition.

NB: Henry developed this policy proposal on his phone while at his parents’ house, while obstinately refusing to watch reruns of Dr Who and Amazon Prime’s Wheel of Time with his father. Policy officials at DCMS are invited to plagiarise this proposal and present it to their Secretary of State as soon as possible. Should this plan be realised, an angel prophesied that it would become the most innovative policy to emerge from DCMS ever.