I WAITED for the postman and even felt a raised heartbeat at any ring of the telephone, but it did not arrive. I have not been included in the New Year Honours List. Thank goodness for that.

We can all argue that the honours awarded to the (mainly) men in suits who back up the politicians at the latest depressing Covid briefings should really go to the men and women in surgical scrubs keeping the victims of Covid alive, but the award of any honour to Tony Blair must rank as the ultimate in reward for failure.

READ MORE: Petition to have Tony Blair stripped of his knighthood gathers pace

In 2003, Tony Blair, then prime minister of Britain, went to war in Iraq alongside the United States based on flawed intelligence. 179 British military personnel died between 2003 and 2009, but no-one really knows how many Iraqi civilians actually died because of the UK’s involvement.

A report by Iraq Body Count states that there were between between 156,531 and 175,101 violent civilian deaths. A study by the Iraqi government in collaboration with the World Health Organisation estimates that there have been at least 150,000 “indirect deaths” between 2003 and 2008. But a 2013 survey carried out by a group of American, Canadian, and Iraqi researchers stated that there were 461,000 “excess deaths” between 2003 and 2011.

Sir Tony, as he is to be known, has been appointed as a member of the Order of the Garter, England’s oldest and most senior order of chivalry. The appointments are the personal choice of the Queen, with up to 24 knight and lady companions. The ceremonial order, founded in 1348, is a recognition of significant public service, made as the personal gift of the monarch. Instituted by Edward III in the 14th Century, it was rooted in the idea of medieval chivalry and monarchs surrounded by their most senior aristocratic companions. The Queen takes part in an annual procession with members of the order at Windsor Castle, wearing velvet robes and plumed hats.

READ MORE: Commons Speaker defends Tony Blair knighthood as backlash grows

The modern criteria, according to Buckingham Palace, is to “honour those who have undertaken public service, who have contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the sovereign personally”.

Back in 1946 the world passed its verdict on those who started another illegal war and, “contributed in a particular way to national life”. Thankfully it did not award them titles and honours. Most faced the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Brian Lawson

EVERY New Year we get subjected to the corrupt “honours” system, where the British establishment hand out baubles to various political hangers-on. Each year it makes you think yet again what the hell are we doing in this corrupt political union where the usual list of dubious people are glorified by the same establishment which has shown absolute no regard to the general population as another 200 or so people die from Covid – a pandemic which the UK Government and establishment has only used to enrich the usual suspects while threatening the survival not just of the majority of the population but also essential public services like the NHS.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond drops plans for tell-all 'conspiracy' book

However, despite my usual distaste for this honours system, this year’s list really takes the biscuit with Tony Blair receiving a knighthood. We’re still waiting for the weapons of mass destruction to be found in Iraq, years after Blair lied about their existence in that country and used this excuse to become the USA’s poodle and kill hundreds of thousands of people in as well as destabilising the whole region. Instead of collecting his bauble from the Queen at Buckingham Palace, more people would rather see him in the Hague answering charges of mass murder. Please let’s not wait any longer in removing Scotland from the corruption of the UK – we can and must do better than remain in this flawed and corrupt union.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren

SUNDAY’S article “Petition to have Tony Blair stripped of his knighthood gathers pace” perhaps needs to be read in conjunction with the article “What secret Cabinet Office files reveal about the story of devolution” on the release of papers from around the time of devolution revealing the mindset at the centre of government. The primary difference between a country and region lies in control over its borders, and the UK Government certainly didn’t want any association drawn by Scots between its new parliament and Scotland as a country.

Anyone in Scotland who believes in democracy should sign this petition on the grounds that Tony Blair should not appear on an honours list before he explains the urgency that required realignment of the offshore border between Scotland and England in the summer of 1999 without public discussion, shortly before the matter could have been put forward for debate and approval in the newly convened Scottish Parliament.

READ MORE: Scottish seafarm owner tells of anger at 'rotten to the core' Tory government

We need clear evidence of the benefits that have accrued to Scotland in more than 20 years because of the transfer of ownership and control over thousands of square miles of North Sea water, fish, oil and gas from Scotland to England. Unless an explanation is forthcoming it can only be assumed that this transfer of assets was a betrayal of the Scottish people by the holder of the highest office in the Union.

Had this transfer not been made before the transfer of power from the England-dominated Westminster parliament to their new Scottish Parliament, it seems unlikely that it would ever have gained agreement from the people of Scotland.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

IF confirmation were needed that the awards system is a joke, it was confirmed by the award of an OBE to Emma Raducanu who has one one tournament win to her name. Bear in mind folks, although a cracking prospect, she hasn’ t even left school yet!

Steve Cunningham