Should the honoured be honourable?


Would a convicted criminal be given a knighthood?

It’s unlikely unless the crime was in the distant past.

Should someone keep a title if s/he is subsequently convicted of a crime?

Alister Taylor reminds us that people have been stripped of honours:

Albert Henry was the first Premier of the Cook Islands from 1965. In 1974 he was made  a knight in 1974 and subsequently stripped of this honour by the New Zealand government (then in charge of honours for the Cooks) after his conviction of a criminal offence.

What is a matter of greater significance that has been overlooked is that Sir Douglas Graham was made a member of the Privy Council in 1998. The Privy Council is a a highly esteemed honour among politicians. The Council theoretically advises the Queen, however it it is more honour than substance. Is it appropriate that Right Honourables convicted of criminal offences be members of the Privy Council?

There is an easy way out for the government — strip Doug Graham of his “Right Honourable” but allow him to retain his knighthood.

Another of the convicted men, Bill Jefferies, also holds an honour which is much more pertinent. He is an “honourable”, as was Doug Graham before he became a “Right Honourable” Jeffries retains the right to be addressed as “the honourable” for life. He was accorded this honour in 1990 as a result of his appointment, as a Cabinet Minister, to the Executive Council. Doug Graham had earlier been accorded the same honour. “Honourables” retain this honorific for life. 

The OED defines “honourable” as”implying respect; deserving, bringing or showing honour.”.

The third of the convicted men who has an honour is Lawrence Bryant. He holds the high honour of LVO, or Lieutenant of the Victoria Order. This was awarded him by the Queen in 1974 for services to Her Majesty as Assistant Press Secretary. . .

Sir Bob Jones thinks Sir Doug Graham should keep his knighthood because he was unlucky and gullible.

Sir Bob has been convicted himself, but is brushing that under the carpet.
“That doesn’t count because it was for hitting a journalist and that’s accepted, it doesn’t count. They’re to be hit often,” he says.

He’s probably not alone in that sentiment but that’s not the point.

People have lost money and Graham has been judged culpable.

Last night 3 News reported he would withdraw his title himself before it was stripped. Today John Banks hinted that would be the case.
“Sir Douglas is a very very honourable man and outstanding New Zealander. I’m very very saddened with the turn of events,” says Mr Banks.

That would be the honourable thing to do and I think people who are honoured should be honourable.

Maintrunk Country Roadsong


Today’s contribution of poetry month is Maintrunk Country Roadsong by Sam Hunt from Time To Ride, published by Alister Taylor, 1975.

Maintrunk Country Roadsong


Driving south and travelling

not much over fifty,

I hit a possum . . . “Little

man” I muttered copping

down to second gear,

“I never meant you any harm”


My friend with me, he himself

a man who loves such nights

bright headlight nights, said

“Possums? just a bloody pest,

they’re better dead!”

He’s right of course.


So settling back, food down hard,

Ohakune, Tangiwai –

as often blinded by

the single headlight of

a passing goods train as by

any passing car –


Let the Midnight Special shine

its ever loving light on me:

they run a prison farm

somewhere round these parts;

men always on the run.

These men know such searchlight nights:


those wide shining

eyes of that young possum

full-beam back on mine,

watching me run over him . . .

“Little man

I never meant you any harm”

   – Sam Hunt –

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