Mind you it did, ultimately, cost £45bn to get him demoted; I'm sure we can go after some more reasonably-priced national disgraces.
- Baroness Uddin - £125,000
- Lord Hanningfield - £28,000
- Geoffrey Archer - where the hell do you start?
But now we have started, why restrict ourselves to the living? I never really liked that Lady Caroline Lamb and come to think of it, Sir Lancelot has a hell of a lot to atone for. And, woah, what about that Lady Macbeth?
Then you have to ask yourself, alive or dead, real or fiction, what does a person have to do to become a knight of the realm? Once upon a time it was something to do with damsels and dragons - or was that dandies with drag on? In days of old (when knights were bold) you had to actually DO something to gain a title, whereas nowadays, it seems, merely living long enough is, er... enough. It hardly seems to matter, the principles of enoblement are mired in inconsistency. You think not? How about the achievements of heroic Sir Winston Churchill compared to, say, the singy Sir Cliff Richard? Or the plucky Dame Ellen MacArthur versus the simply long-careered Judi Dench?
When I'm king should I knight only those who have paid me in land, perhaps, or blood, or maybe presented me the maidenhood of their daughters? Or should I also reward those who have entertained me? Or kept my accounts, or baked my bread? Oh, it's all too difficult to decide, so bollocks to the lot of them. In the United Dingdom I reckon we'll have to start again, so one of the first acts of my reign will be to strip away all undeserved titles, including fictional ones.
In my book the Lord of the Rings will be just plain Mr Precious.