Sir Hugo Swire, KCMG? It stands for “Kindly Call Me God” says “Yes Minister”!

So, rumour has it (Sunday Times) that David Cameron intends to make Hugo Swire a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) which would allow him to style himself Sir Hugo Swire. He joins such illustrious people as Samantha Cameron’s stylist.

Shall we need to bow down and kiss his ring now?


In the satirical British television programme Yes Minister, Jim Hacker MP is told an old joke by his Private Secretary Bernard Woolley about what the various post-nominals stand for. Season 2, Episode 2 “Doing the Honours”:

In the service, CMG stands for “Call Me God”. And KCMG for “Kindly Call Me God”.
Hacker: What does GCMG stand for?
Woolley: “God Calls Me God”.

Or the posh explanation:

Members of the Order of St Michael are assigned positions in the order of precedence in England and Wales. Wives of male members also feature on the order of precedence, as do sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commanders; relatives of female members, however, are not assigned any special precedence. (As a general rule, individuals can derive precedence from their fathers or husbands, but not from their mothers or wives.)

Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commanders prefix “Sir”, and Dames Grand Cross and Dames Commanders prefix “Dame”, to their forenames. Wives of Knights may prefix “Lady” to their surnames, but no equivalent privilege exists for husbands of Dames. Such forms are not used by peers and princes, except when the names of the former are written out in their fullest forms. Furthermore, honorary (foreign) members and clergymen do not receive the accolade and thus are not entitled to use the prefix “Sir” or “Dame”. Knights and Dames Grand Cross use the post-nominal “GCMG”; Knights Commanders and Dames Commanders use “KCMG” and “DCMG” respectively; Companions use “CMG”.

Knights and Dames Grand Cross are also entitled to receive heraldic supporters. They may, furthermore, encircle their arms with a depiction of the circlet (a circle bearing the motto) and the collar; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter. Knights and Dames Commanders and Companions may display the circlet, but not the collar, surrounding their arms. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar or circlet.”

As an antidote, here is a list of people who have refused honours:

6 thoughts on “Sir Hugo Swire, KCMG? It stands for “Kindly Call Me God” says “Yes Minister”!

  1. For what exactly?
    He is memorable for me as being integral in the erection in East Budleigh of a statue honouring a piratical, slave trader allegedly responsible for introducing tobacco to England.
    It was funded through lobbying British American Tobacco, a company supported by another Tory nutter , Ken Clarke.
    As part of his political role, he would have been instrumental in promoting a known cancer inducing product.
    There isn’t much these parasites won’t do for a few quid.
    Check this out from the BBC in 2008 , especially this bit where Swire intimated he’d emigrate if there was a backlash because the £30,000 sponsorship came from BAT


    • As far as I can tell from the BBC article, Hugo equates ethical positioning with churlishness.

      If you object to use of dirty money (earned by giving people cancer – and publicly denying this for decades despite a growing base of scientific evidence), then you are “churlish” as opposed to holding the moral high ground.

      This is yet another Hugo quote which says far more about him than it does about anything else.


    • Spot what is wrong in the following sentence.
      Maybe we should start a petition in the hope that he might be a man of his word and emigrate.


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