HAVE you been following the David Beckham knighthood saga, with its alleged tax issues and pettiness?

It isn’t the first case of its kind and won’t be the last, although it’s one of only a few so far to have some of its details laid out in a series of emails.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to change the system because it’s become tainted. It’s become so tainted, in fact, that people who’ve received honours for doing stuff actually worthy of honours sometimes find themselves looked at askance.

If I had my way, a new honour would be introduced. It would simply be called the Medal for Good Works (MGW), and would be awarded only to ordinary people who had done good things for others without any thought of great reward.

The new award would be granted only on the basis of nominations by people the recipient had helped, and anybody who had already received a conventional award on that basis would automatically have it converted to an MGW.

That way, when other people saw the letters MGW after somebody’s name, they could assume with complete confidence they were in the presence of somebody truly special.

“Hmm,” they would think to themselves, “I wonder what that person did to receive such an honour?

“Perhaps they’ve been a foster parent for decades, steering troubled young people away from misery and fear, and helping them to make use of every ounce of their potential.

“Perhaps they work for some small but vital local organisation, taking a modest salary or no salary at all in exchange for helping people in dire peril.

“Perhaps they’re a veteran life boat crew member who’s plucked hundreds of people from the waves.

“Perhaps they’ve spent years sending aid to a needy overseas community, scratching together the cash for medical or agricultural supplies and enough diesel to truck them to wherever they’re needed.

“Or perhaps they do one of a thousand other wonderful things – modestly, constantly and without it ever occurring to them to seek glory – which ratchet the sum of all things good a few notches in the right direction.”

And the rest of the honours?

They would be left to the dodgy politicians who show more loyalty to their parties than to the people they’re supposed to protect and defend.

And the tycoons who enrich themselves by throwing thousands of people on the scrapheap, or treating them as chattels.

And certain high-profile campaigners for people’s rights whose silence can readily be bought.

And the millionaire bosses of certain charities, whose work consists mainly of attending gala dinners and sending upper middle class gap-year kids to waft uselessly around disaster zones. And the people who think being good at PE means they should have a title or letters after their name. And the show business personalities who can barely lift their hypocritical faces out of troughs of ketamine for long enough to take out a super injunction over their latest unspeakable act of degeneracy.

And the rest of the usual suspects.

A simple answer

UP to 30 pop-up brothels appear across Swindon every week according to Wiltshire police. An investigation by the force a while back led to the arrest of 16 Romanian crime gang members in a case which featured in a BBC TV show last night.

The misery caused by this problem can’t be overstated.

The women involved are usually trafficked in exchange for drugs, under threat of them or their loved ones being harmed or some grisly combination of all three.

That’s aside from the misery caused in streets surrounding the brothels, where menacing thugs gather and women and girls are sometimes pestered by roving deviants.

Why, then, do we not employ the one measure which would kill the problem stone dead?

Why do we not make it illegal for men to use such places? Why, if we lacked the resources to actually prosecute in all cases, could we not simply plonk a civilian police worker a few dozen yards from each brothel, and photograph every man going in and out?

Why could we not put the images on some official website with a snappy title, such as These Men Use Brothels?

It’s not as if any of the creeps would have the guts to sue.

Why haven’t we already been doing this for years all over the country?

Could it be, as I’ve suggested before, that all sorts of rather important pillars of communities might be embarrassed?

A small matter of £92,000

YOU have to feel sorry for the members of North Central Swindon’s new shadow parish council.

There they were, all set to agree how much their services would cost local residents, when it was revealed that the borough had provided three completely different guide figures.

According to shadow parish council chairman Des Moffatt, pictured, the gap between the figures was such that the parish risked losing some £92,000.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but when this whole parishing thing was imposed on us, weren’t we assured that the transition would be smooth? I must be imagining things.