... from the blog that always parties like it's 1999. Here's another one, notable for the fact that I got Simon Callow spot on despite it being an entirely wild guess on my part.
from The Big Issue, June 7 1999: Public Image Ltd. no.16 - The Honours System
Start lighting those candles: it's the Queen's 73-and-a-halfth birthday on Saturday. She'll be celebrating this one with a 41-gun salute (she likes to pretend she's only 41, and besides, the other 32 guns are being used on hospitals in Kosovo), and the usual round of prefect's badges for everyone the government owes favours to. Expect Alex Ferguson, Simon Callow and a sprinkling of big-hearted traffic wardens to have a few extra letters after their names come Monday.
Almost 1,000 people get elevated every June, and another thousand at New Year. Maybe two dozen will be people you've heard of - in January they went for cutting-edge talent with Roger Moore and David Essex; a dosen will be faintly controversial politicals ones - Norman Lamont! Senator George Mitchell!; and the bulk of the rest will be faceless businessmen and senior civil servants who apparently see the Order of the Bath as their due after a lifetime of receiving "uncompetitive" wages. Last year the government gave a knighthood to John Chisolm, for developing bigger, better, smarter bombs that kill more people for the MoD, and refused to give one to Sean Connery because he once slapped his girlfriend. Follow that logic if you can.
So how could the system be improved? John Major brilliantly decided that the method that creates Lords and Ladies was an ideal candidate to be made 'classless', and started giving more awards to roadsweepers and children's entertainers. And Tony Blair is keen on the idea of 'People's Peers' - that means ones that doe what he says rather than being Conservatives. Let's just fill the House of Lords with everyone who gets a medal from the Queen - a second house filled by headmasters, elderly actresses and the remaining members of the 1966 World Cup squad would soon sort New Labour out. And in the absence of any credible Tory opposition, who better to lead the new Lords than that national institution, Sir James Saville OBE? Sudenly, I'm quite keen on the aristocracy after all.