It is that delicious time in June when all hard working civil servants run down the school corridors, anxiously cueing up at the school notice board to get the end of year results.
Who will be ringing the bells with their new gong? Will Chiverly-Morris get his bath orders? Has Jiggery-Spitell got an M or an O?
This year it appears I have been disappointed again. It would seem that my book about how The Prophet was a nice man really simply did not upset enough people. Even my publisher, who may or may not have forgotten to publish it.
However, that Rushdie fellow may be not so impressed with his prize. Because, by a calamitous oversight by the Prime Ministers office, someone forgot to consult the Pakistani Government to rubber stamp the final list. Had they remembered this necessity, dear Salman may have missed out on not only a Knighthood, but the possible necessity of going back into hiding.
One has to remember, you see, that there is a large part of this world who believes that they have the right to tell the rest of us what to think and believe; how to behave and which laws to follow. And surprisingly, that is not always the Americans.
In this case it also includes the Labour Peer Lard Ahmed. While conceding on News 24 that he never got round to burning Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses”, he did leave the impression that knighting one of the countries best writers was a mistake and that perhaps letting him publish in the first place was also a mistake, free speech being so important and everything. His free speech not ours, apparently. He also said that there are loads of great writers out there who should have been honoured instead who did not insult a religion.
Perhaps he would be thinking of Michael Palin, CBE, for his script for Life of Brian. He’s a good writer. And I rather enjoyed Life of Brian.
Maybe he thinks we shouldn’t have offered a knighthood to Alan Bennett. After all, being gay is an effrontery to Islam and Christianity. I certainly doubt that I will be offered by favoured Gong after this. Since I am an Atheist and think all religions stink like a dung heap.
So, all in all, between Lord Ahmed and the ridiculous minister of religion in Pakistan and, for that matter the Pakistani foreign minister, my enjoyment of the Birthday Honours has been thoroughly squashed – well that and the fact that I appear to have dropped off the list again ….