Dear Main Honours Advisory Committee,
I am aware of several talented and worthy people who have refused the title of OBE, MBE, CBE or related classes simply because of the continuing use of the term Empire in the title. Clearly the UK no longer has an empire. The titles refer back to the early twentieth century when the empire did exist.
I also note that in In 2004, a House of Commons Select Committee recommended changing the names of the titles so as the E stood for Excellence rather than Empire, but nothing since has transpired. Changes like this would not only reflect the current country and world, but also open the awards up to acceptance by a greater number and diversity of people. I would like to learn what steps have been taken in this direction. Was the recommendation shelved? What were the reasons for this?
Not only are the names of the titles anachronistic, but they are also alienating - there are a vast number of people who simply do not agree with or identify with the British Empire.
Professor Raminder Kaur
Thank you for your email. It has been safely received by the Honours and
"The object of giving medals, stars and ribbons is to give pride and
pleasure to those who have deserved them. At the same time a distinction
is something which everybody does not possess. If all have it, it is of
less value. There must, therefore, be heartburnings and disappointments on
the borderline. A medal glitters, but it also casts a shadow. The task of
drawing up regulations for such awards is one which does not admit of a
perfect solution. It is not possible to satisfy everybody without running
the risk of satisfying nobody. All that is possible is to give the
greatest satisfaction to the greatest number and to hurt the feelings of
the fewest." Winston Churchill
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