Monday, February 13, 2012

On saying 'no' to the Queen

I've my regular Canberra Times column up today, 'Honour? Thanks but no thanks'.

I'm discussing why the rejection of the Queen's honours, recently revealed in a British Cabinet document, is healthy for democracy.  A sample:
the best artists are remarkably honest: they are used to rejecting, revolting, or at least refining the taken-for-granted. 
This might be awkward, embarrassing or painful, but it also what spurs societies to develop: only sick civilisations stifle debate and conflict. 
So, artists like JG Ballard, Benjamin Zephaniah, L.S Lowry (who turned down a record-holding five honours) might seem ungracious or ungrateful. But even if we disagree with their judgments, we ought to welcome their candour and courage.
(Photo: D. Gordon E. Robertson)

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