How Henry learned that the Knights of the Garter should really be called the War Criminals’ Club
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Thankfully, actual white knight Angus Scott has come to the rescue, launching a petition to get Sir Blair’s Knighthood rescinded.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:
- It sets a precedent to remove other Prime Minister’s honours (wouldn’t that be a funny game?).
- Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party will use it to undermine an already weak opposition.
- 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?