As the nights darken as winter draws in, then we look back to survey the events of the year with more of a sense of detachment. There was perhaps more than a faint whiff of after the fact vindictiveness about it the decision to remove Fred (Fred the Shred) Goodwin's knighthood, perhaps the real question, which will probably remain unanswered, is why did he ever get it in the first place? The ‘Brit’ obsession with the distribution and receipt of gongs, knighthoods, baubles and other gaudy trinkets is decidedly unhealthy and distasteful. Certainly during the recent referendum campaign in Scotland, I could but not help notice that some of the recipients of honours were pretty quick to attempt to present a fairly doomed future for an independent Scotland. Dancing perhaps when the piper calls the tune, almost certainly. Nominally dispatched from the reigning monarch, honours, including peerages are actually the gift of the ruling PM rather than the reigning monarch (although when Tony Blair was in charge it might have been difficult to tell the difference). I suspect that those business leaders and bankers with knighthoods, CBEs, etc will not be having sleepless nights worrying about having their honours stripped from them. Not at least as long as their misdemeanours, party donations and other dubious acts commissioned in the hope of a bauble from on high remain out of sight and public scrutiny.