When politicians in the UK address each other in the hallowed arena of the House of Commons, they use this phrase: “right honourable”.
It’s an honorific.
The “right” bit means “…to a great extent.” As in “very” honourable.
They say things like:
“I respectfully disagree with my right honourable friend’s claim that the poor should be declared illegal.”
Or, “would my right honourable friend care to elaborate on his massive expense claims in recent years.”
Or, “could my right honourable friend, the Health Secretary, please clarify his links with the private health care industry.”
Call me cynical, but I’m not completely sure that all politicians deserve this title: “right honourable.”
Clearly there are plenty who devote themselves to a life of public service, and do their best to achieve things in spite of this crumbling and chaotic game of democracy. They should, of course, continue to receive the “right honourable” treatment.
Even if the phrase itself does smack of a Yorkshire farmer passing comment on the local vet: “Aye…’ee were right honourable that one…reckon ‘ee ‘ad more gumption than most.”
But for those politicians who have proven themselves less than “right honourable” we need a clear system so that we, the voters, know what we’re dealing with. We need four or five additional categories to cover the various positions on what is, essentially, a sliding scale.
I am proposing the following five titles which, along with “right honourable”, I estimate should cover around 85% of current politicians.
My “previously honourable friend.”
My “philandering colleague.”
My “thoroughly untrustworthy acquaintance.”
My “shiny suited PR stooge.”
The “laughably inept member for…”
If I’m voting for a scumbag, a hypocrite, or an idiot, I should at least be able to do it in an informed way.