OBEs should be renamed to change 'Empire' to 'Excellence', suggests Sathnam Sanghera

Mentions of the British Empire could soon be dropped from official Honours, a best-selling writer has predicted during a talk in Yorkshire.

Sathnam Sanghera, author of books Empireland and Empireworld which are about Britain’s imperial history, said he believes changes to awards like the OBE could be made in the relatively near future.

Speaking at a Festival of Debate event in Sheffield, Mr Sanghera said: "Obviously they should rename it. It should be renamed the Order of British Excellence. My prediction is it is going to happen in the next five years, they are going to change the words."

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Mr Sanghera, who is a journalist for The Times, noted while some people have rejected honours due to their connotations with empire, others like historian David Olusoga have accepted an OBE.

Sathnam Sanghera made the comments while at a Festival of Debate event in SheffieldSathnam Sanghera made the comments while at a Festival of Debate event in Sheffield
Sathnam Sanghera made the comments while at a Festival of Debate event in Sheffield

Mr Olusoga did say it had been “a difficult award to accept” because of the connotations. He told the Radio Times in 2019: “I think we should look at the empire for what it was, this complicated, more-than-400-year story with terrible, terrible episodes.”

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