It takes all sorts, but I have to admit that until last week I had never come across anyone who was interested in the strings of letters which sometimes appear after the names of people who would like us to know that they are Very Important. The technical term for this is apparently "postnominalology".
Anyway, a reader has written in to ask if anyone can shed light on the meaning of some of the acronyms used by the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council.
The CBE is straightfoward, and Mr James rightfully shares this distinction with a number of other people who have made a major contribution to public life, such as Stephen Hawking. Other famous recipients include Elton John and the artist Grayson Perry, who wore a blue mother of the bride frock when he collected his. Richard Burton and Eric Clapton are in the same league.
|No, not an Independent councillor
As far as we know, however, Mr James is the only one of this distinguished group to put CBE after his name when writing to residents of Carmarthenshire to update them on problems with bin collections.
Next comes LL.M., or Master of Laws. Scurrilous sources claim that this degree was awarded by the Open University and have made unflattering comparisons with the Oxbridge degree held by Bryn Parry-Jones, until recently Mr James's neighbour in Pembrokeshire.
That is of course snobbery of the worst kind, and Mr Parry-Jones's untimely departure from office should put an end to this academic one upmanship.
Rather less obvious are DPA and DCA, and it seems that enquiries to Mr James's office have drawn a blank. At a guess, we are talking about diplomas in public administration and chartered accountancy.
Answers please to the comments section below.
Bear in mind that this is a family blog, and that four-letter words beginning with D, P, C and A will not be published.