Scotland’s favourite sportsman and World Number One Andy Murray has celebrated a fantastic year in tennis, and once again the question of whether he will receive a Knighthood for his achievements at this year’s award ceremony has resurfaced. And with this rises the debate over whether or not Knighthoods as a concept are elitist, outdated and mired in corruption. Well, let us answer that question once and for all. They are.
The ability of the Prime Minister to assign Knighthoods fairly and objectively was always a dubious one. Of course they are going to choose their favourites. David Cameron attempted to knight his cronies from his election strategist Lynton Crosby to his hairdresser Lino Carbosiero. But it is for this reason that political leaders only get to recommend their pals for the highest honour in the British awards system. The Queen alone has the power to make citizens members of The Order of the Garter.
And yes this is outdated, and yes it is elitist, and yes it is giving even more power to the unelected head of state who graces our coins alone with her presence. So what? The concept of a monarchy is outdated. The House of Lords is outdated. These customs are inarguably more influential to our everyday lives than whether or not Mr Murray becomes Sir Andy. From our ruling structures to Christmas season, our culture is dominated by outdated customs. This doesn’t make them detrimental to society.
Instead, ritual is welcomed as it forms the core of what Britain is – where it came from. Andy Murray may not appear in shining chainmail on a white charger, but he has certainly worked hard for his achievements and represented his country well throughout the years. With 2016 as the culmination of all his hard work as he was victorious at the ATP World Finals, no one can deny Murray’s claim to the award. Indeed, he displays that priceless calibre of self-deprecation and humility that characterised the Knights of the Realm – when asked how he would feel about the rumoured knighthood, he replied: “It is the highest honour you can get in this country, but I don’t know, I feel, like, too young for something like that.”
Talent, hard work and moral fibre all show that Andy is truly deserving of the highest honour available in the country. Let those who wish to bemoan the concept of Knighthoods take it elsewhere: Andy earned this one. Incidentally, it may be worth pointing out that the official motto of the Order of the Garter, Honi soit qui mal y pense, literally translates to “May he be shamed who thinks badly of it.” In other words, just complain about something else.
Given that 2016 has been the year of Brexit, of Donald Trump’s presidential victory, of deaths from David Bowie to Alan Rickman, I think a knighthood for Andy Murray would be an acceptable way to end the year. Murray has brought hard work and dedication to his sport and given this year of worldwide panic and despair a glimmer of hope. Let’s not cloud our one ray of sunshine with complaining that the outdated shiny knighthood award has gotten the sun in our eyes.
Image Credit: Marianne Bevis