The New Year honours are designed to recognise the good endeavours of British citizens, from the exalted to the ordinary. With the Queen’s birthday list, it keeps the ranks of Companions of Honour and Lieutenants of the Royal Victorian Order well stocked. Anyone can nominate an individual to receive an honour, and the selection is made by the Cabinet Office.
Is this democratic enough? Should all references to the now defunct British empire be eradicated? Should new categories replace the many obscure orders of merit and chivalry? Or is the system, with its deep historical roots and impartial civil service oversight, working well as it is?
If you were put in charge of reforming the honours system, what, if anything, would you change?