"Sir" Philip Green... should stay "Sir"
I hold no brief for Sir Philip Green. What I hear about him, I dont like. But I dont know how far he has gone too far, or how different he is from those who don't get found out. At the same time I dont think that the campaign to strip him of his knighthood is quite hitting the right target. I am not sure that honours, if they should be awarded at all, should be awarded provisionally, on condition of good future behaviour.
For a start, there is the randomness of the 'finding out" principle, or the intermittent rule changes. However immoral or unworthy Sir Philip may have been, I bet there are, or have been, quite a few others who have turned out to be just as unworthy but have not been found out. In fact, I seem to remember, Lord Archer only escaped because of the timing of the rule change that made forfeiting an honour a more feasible procedure. But more to the point, are the principles and practices of the honours system, and the due diligence required in making sure that gongs are not given to 'the inappropriate'.
I am sure that there are a lot of big retailers who are as white as the driven snow, but I share the suspicion of many people that the proportion of dodgy 'customers' to be found among the ranks of super successful, self-made )or not self-made), mega-rich entrepreneurs is likely to be a bit larger than in the bulk of the population. To put that another way, you are surely asking for it, if you choose to hand out rewards to massive donors to political parties and their ilk.
One way of dealing with this is the current way of imagining that honours are held 'on licence' .. step out of line, or be painfully revealed as the character you always were, and we'll take it away. A better way is to think harder who you give these things to in the first place. When 'we' (or 'they') get it wrong, then the Sir Philips of this world are there for all to see the errors of judgement. (It is a bit, in my view, like the statue of Cecil Rhodes.. we need to face up to our honouring of him, not pretend we didnt).
Perhaps in cases like this, the people who should really carry the can are not the honorand (who can live with the embarrassment of his gong for ever) but those who, for whatever reason, awarded the damn thing in the first place, for reasons that I suspect dont always bear too much scrutiny.
Who knighted Sir Philip? I thnk it was Tony Blair.
(Declaration of interest, I have a modest OBE.)