Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.
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Tuesday 21 August 2012

Value (vb.): To consider with respect.

IT was only a fortnight ago, but the Olympic spirit has been all but crushed.

One day we were full of sporting optimism, proud of our nation and nurturing sideburns, and the next we were slumped back on our sofas bitching about the X Factor and the weather.

It's to be expected, because without an obsessively Olympic commitment to the cause we were always going to let it slip through our fingers like a particularly fat fish too strong for us to hold on to.

In the years to come our brief spurt of happy nationalism, intricate knowledge of taekwondo and love for all things flag-related will be given the mystical proportions of the Loch Ness Monster, and will be seen about as often.

It already seems like a dream, the way we all confidently expected Bradley Wiggins and co to be given honours. A few days ago the government - perhaps keen for us to all go back to being miserable  - announced there would be no "automatic gongs" for our medal winners, because there are so many sportspeople allowed to have any under a quota system no-one thought to tweak when we were hosting the greatest games on Earth.

And now after a number of people rightly pointed out this was a silly rule, the Prime Minister has announced the quota's being abandoned but - seeing as there are 43 gold medal winners alone and we don't want to devalue the system - honours will be given to those who have "given something back".

Devalue's a word that gets used a lot. Apparently if too many of us have a university education it's not because we're cleverer, it's because we're devalued. The same goes for A-levels and GCSEs, and don't forget if you're raped by someone you've previously had sex with to complain about it would "bankrupt the term of all meaning".

There is a belief that too much of something reduces its value, and it's odd we say that about education, rape and sportspeople but not, say, gold or cake. So you can have too much of things that are difficult but you can never have too much of sticking your face in the trough.

Of course the last thing we want is for an entire nation's honours system to be filled with people who reduce its currency.

Failed politicians, for example. People who are so unpopular even George Galloway scores more votes, like Baroness Sayeeda Warsi who was ennobled by the PM in 2010 purely on the basis of her ethnicity and religion.

Or ex-lawmakers who've retired rather than face the electorate, like Lord John Prescott who had lost his department, kept his ministerial salary, claimed the maximum food allowance while suffering from bulimia, and asked the taxpayer to fund mock Tudor beams and two bog seats, and was facing at best a bloody nose from the voter.

Then there's the likes of actress and professional disrober Kate Winslet OBE, singer and pretend-toff Bryan Ferry CBE, and Catherine Zeta-Jones CBE who is devoted to care of the elderly.

George Bush, Ben Kingsley, any number of 'public figures' have all managed to faceplant the honours trough without thinking for a second they might be devaluing the same accolade given to a lollipop lady, charity worker, or someone who's devoted themselves to local newspapers and trained hundreds of journalists not to be like Andy Coulson.

But then, giving an official pat on the back to Laura Trott who got a gold in cycling after being born with a collapsed lung and spent 20 years rising above it is devaluing the system, while elevating an unelected lawyer who campaigned against equality to the House of Lords, and keeping her there when she broke the code of conduct and failed to declare secret income, is absolutely fine.

If I didn't know better I'd say it must be a dream.

Let's be clear: the addition of Laura Trott to anything could not devalue it. If she farted on a pile of pig sick it would be the better for it, and the same goes for the rest of the squad. I'd far rather see any of Team GB getting a gong from Brenda than a single showbiz, stick-thin, rehab-raddled twat or somebody who's spent any amount of time sitting next to George Galloway.

The addition of Bradley Wiggins, Nicola Adams or Jade Jones to it can only improve either the honours list, the Queen's drawing room or the House of Lords.

Systems are a series of things which are meant to work as a whole, and giving honours to people who think it's something they can exploit for their own ends is not a system capable of being devalued any more than it already is.

And if that's the system we've got now then frankly we ought to be smashing the crap out of it.

And the X Factor can kiss his arse too.