Leading article; Honourable exceptions

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'The Queen has been pleased..." The words that customarily presage the conferring of an honour fill most recipients with a simple pride, no matter how paltry the gong; a few find themselves repelled by the Ruritanian absurdity of it all. The rest of us reflect on the ritual with benign indifference. Well, almost. There is usually something in the list that rouses a little puzzlement, and 2008's is no exception.

While the absence of England's footballing "talent" is predictable, perhaps Lewis Hamilton's achievements were worth some recognition. And why was the prince of caddishness, Leslie Phillips, offered only a CBE? Much the same goes for Hanif Kureshi, who has done as much for the nation as Sir Michael Parkinson. Stuart Rose, saviour of Marks & Spencer, deserved his K, as did Sir Ian McKellen his companionship of honour. But only an OBE for Kylie? Still, at least no one paid for these honours. We hope.

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