There are many things about Britain that are, frankly, a little ridiculous. For example, Parliament cannot sit, debate or pass a motion unless a golden mace is present. Ed Sheeran is wildly successful despite having all the charisma of an empty crisp packet. People continue to take seriously the opinions of Nigel Farage.

Even for a country which tolerates the above though, it was a true theatre of absurdity which played out on Friday as a former Prime Minister gave awards to loads of his mates, the current Prime Minister got a bit awkward about it, then the former Prime Minister resigned in disgrace and all the mates he’d given awards to said he was actually great.

That Boris Johnson is ridiculous should come as a surprise to no-one. Indeed, it’s something a man named Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson, raised fox hunting in the country and educated at Eton and Oxford, used to portray himself, as some sort of man of the people. Yes he’s got more middle names than children – well, possibly not – but have you seen him stuck on a zip wire? And check out his hair!

Reaction to the honours list was furious. In these very pages Sir Tom Devine, Scotland’s most prominent historian, decried it as “a list of nonentities” and said his own knighthood felt “tarnished” as a result. It’s a fair quibble: in terms of people you don’t want to find yourself in a club with, Jacob Rees-Mogg is up there with Bible John.

The Herald: Jacob Rees Mogg MP gives a speech during the Conservative Democratic Organisation conference at

One wonders if Ian Rankin, who received a knighthood of his own yesterday, felt the same.

The honouring of Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel in particular, at the behest of a former Prime Minister who was found to have lied to parliament, seemed to draw the most outrage. By allowing the likes of Rees-Mogg – who I’m yet to be convinced isn’t a long-running Sacha Baron Cohen character he’ll reveal at the moment of his knighting - and Patel to be made knights and dames, the thinking goes, the whole honours system is devalued and brought into disrepute.

Perhaps though we should examine whether "honours" do or should hold the cachet they appear to.

In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Graham Chapman’s King Arthur comes across a peasant in a field and declares “I am your King.” Scrabbling about in the mud the woman replies, “Well, I didn’t vote for you” to which Arthur recounts the tale of receiving Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake. The peasant declares: “You can't expect to wield supreme power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!”.

Read More: Sir Ian Rankin to receive knighthood at Buckingham Palace

Thankfully the Knights Who Won’t Take The Knee haven’t been given any actual power by King Charles (via their mate) but the scandal over their honours comes hot on the heels of a Coronation many felt archaic and out of touch during a cost of living crisis, never mind that the year is 2023. Charles may have done good work for charity, and has been lauded for his work at Dumfries House in Ayrshire, but is “majesty” the first thing that comes to mind when beholding the monarch? Is making people knights of the realm and going around calling them Sir not a bit, well, weird?

The counter-argument to all this is that, given the titles don’t have any real power or benefits, it’s just a nice little quirk that comes with still having a monarchy. Being given a gong is something like a graduation: it’s for the parents really. My own late grandfather was awarded an OBE for services to teaching, and to this day a picture of him, my grandmother and my late mother at Buckingham Palace hangs on the wall of the family home, beside a letter from the Queen congratulating him and his wife on their golden wedding anniversary. Both clearly have huge sentimental value if nothing else, and in that context you can see why Michael Fabricant, a man whose primary achievement in life appears to be functioning with a dead badger permanently attached to his head, being in the same club would rub people up the wrong way.

The Herald: Michael Fabricant speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 13, 2017. The Prime Minister told a bemused House of Commons that Mr Fabricant will appear on

One can only imagine how David Beckham, whose brazen attempts to be recognised with a knighthood can surely only end with him whipping free-kick after free-kick on to the royal balcony, the footballs painted a regal purple and simply embossed in gold with the word "please’" felt at seeing people skip the queue just for being pals with Boris Johnson. If Priti Patel’s damehood is any guide to how terrifying psychopaths will be recognised in future, his old team-mate Roy Keane will probably beat him to the punch too.

Read More: Committee expected to find Boris Johnson deliberately misled parliament

Not everyone is quite as desperate to be given a gong as Goldenballs. David Bowie famously turned down a knighthood, saying “I seriously don't know what it's for. It's not what I spent my life working for.” Perhaps unsurprisingly the man who wrote The Eton Rifles, Paul Weller, opted not to accept one either though Alex Ferguson, Billy Connolly and, most recently, Mr Rankin, opted to have "Sir" before their name. Asked why a former ship welder would accept an award from the Royal Family the Big Yin shrugged: “It never dawned on me to turn it down. The mood it was given in and the mood it was received in was the same. It was given for the nicest of reasons and it was accepted for a good reason.”

Where honours do matter is in the House of Lords, which may have helped block some of the more draconian legislation the current government have tried to impose but remains an unelected house of representatives, whose occupants are chosen by their friends and who keep their positions for life. Composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber once flew in on his private jet to vote to cut tax credits to poor people, which before the Cats movie was the worst thing he’d put his name to.

Most other countries did away with knights and golden maces around the same time they discovered indoor plumbing. Perhaps "arise Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg" is our cue to do the same.