I don't know if Will Self's words as given here (scroll down) are complete, or accurate to what he said to the Guardian, but if they are, then they do him no credit:
Given the furore that The Satanic Verses occasioned, it does strike me that any responsible writer might ask himself whether the fallout from accepting such an honour was really worth the bauble... it is surely better that writers decline any form of honour. [Ellipsis in the original.]Self allows an ambiguity: should Rushdie not have accepted the honour just because honours should in general be declined, or should he not have accepted it because of the anticipated fallout not being worth it? The former reason is one that many people could agree with. I agree with it. This has to do with not participating in an honours system that involves implicit endorsement of the monarchy. But the latter reason is craven coming from a fellow writer; according to this, honours for literature are not to be accepted, and presumably not awarded either, if there's an anticipation that some people's sensibilities might be upset by them. What a disgraceful capitulation to legitimating the taking of offence as a form of argument in the public domain.
Marcel Berlins gives us something similar (scroll down), only at greater length. He asks:
[I]f our honours pickers thought that the award might lead to trouble, should they have decided to leave Rushdie off the list?Berlins doesn't at first answer his own question, but pitches it into 'a wider issue' - this being Salman Rushdie's ungrateful attitude to this country. But Berlins later comes back to the 'possibility of trouble and violence' and then concludes:
In those circumstances, to argue that his work was the only factor that required consideration is naive and misguided. Rushdie should not have been offered the knighthood; he should not have accepted it.Two days ago I argued that the left should cleave to the epithet 'liberal', on account of the importance of the values liberalism has stood for historically. I did not then enter the reservation that I will enter now: which is that if the word is sometimes held in low esteem, part of the reason for this is the kind of 'liberalism' that will lose sight of the need to defend some crucial liberal value in the light of obfuscating considerations. You may be opposed to the honours system, or you may think that Rushdie wasn't worth a knighthood for literary or personal reasons; but ambiguity about how much respect is owed to the outrage over the award there should not be. None is.