Tuesday 12 February 2013

But One Receiveth The Prize

Over the weekend our media has been in a tizzy about the BAFTA Awards,  The recent change of date for the BAFTA’s it is said has allowed it to gain a greater prominence, partly as a precursor to the Hollywood Oscars.  At the same time there have been the Grammies to excite us.

The BAFTA’s took place at Covent Garden at the Royal Opera House.  We can confidently claim to have washed our hands in the same basins as the stars, assuming that they do wash their hands.  As for the other facilities, it would be wrong to be bogged down in details.

A few months ago we had The Olympics, this is essentially another means for people to win awards, although on a different basis, unlike some media and arts awards there are many competing but few succeeding.  Between sports, the arts, literature and the rest our lives are awash with awards of one sort or another.

One of the major objectives of many, if not most, governments is to host a major sporting or other occasion and in the modern media world any group of potential prize or award winners can guarantee to have political leaders and heads of state anxious to make their acquaintance.

When any such thing is envisaged; whatever the state of the economy or the crises unfolding they have an imperative that transcends any other consideration.  For a choice example of this see the way the Winter Olympics of 2014 is being dealt with in Russia.

This brings me to the conclusion that the social and economic theories we have inherited from the past are essentially wrong.  We have been trying to rationalise and make sense of behaviour and impulses as grand designs on which to base our government and social behaviour.

In fact all it has been about is the winning of awards, prizes, praise and public adulation for whatever has been won, and by definition lost, in the great games of life. 

As the Earl of Birkenhead, formerly F.E. Smith put it in his Rectorial Address to Glasgow University in 1923 “The world continues to offer glittering prizes to those who have stout hearts and sharp swords.”

If it is the case that are economies and societies are based essentially on striving for and winning awards perhaps there should be a fundamental reshaping of policy to set out for the UK to become the international leader in this field.  Given our history in relation to this kind of thing it could be ours for the taking.

To begin with our honours systems and the structure of the peerage and gentry; there are possibly rich treasures to be found by exploiting these to the full.  A little tinkering, a few readjustments and a sensitive number of innovations and we could have the world’s rich and mighty forking out their billions for recognition.

At the lower levels we could institute facilities for the provision of honours, perhaps allowing trading in strictly regulated way.  Supporting all this, we should seek to construct and to monopolise systems and methods for awards and prizes across a wide field of modern activities.

Internally, this could be applied to many and various forms of community awards, using them as templates for equivalents that might be marketed elsewhere.  If financial incentives were made available through the UK’s network of tax beneficial off offshore territories it would create large inflows of capital.

If the government could persuade the Foreign Office etc. and Department of Culture, Media and Sport to come up to the mark there could be powerful central impetus given to a policy of creating UK power in the awards and honours fields, almost a Second British Empire.

We have much of our financial activity already built around the bonus culture and the biggest numbers.  Essentially, much of our management is centred on winning and losing in the shape of target setting and awarding what is defined as success.  Inevitably there are losers, but that arises from necessity.

Translating all these into a thorough going policy for the future would be a great deal easier and more readily achieved than all the plans for capital and other spending current.  It would be more easily measured and administered and would be and would be a self fulfilling control system to which we would all be bound.

The UK is already half way there in many respects; can it grasp all the prizes to be had?  Imagine, a 365 and 24/7 Awards Economy?  Do I get an award for suggesting it?  

Say one named after John Arthur Maundy Gregory (see Wikipedia)?

1 comment:

  1. "Do I get an award for suggesting it?"

    You certainly do, Lord Demetrius.