Monday, January 28, 2008

Gordon Brown erases Britannia

The figure of Britannia first appeared almost 2000 years ago when the Romans created her as a personification of the British Isles, which they called Britanniae. She made her first appearance on a Roman coin during the rule of Emperor Hadrian, and her first appearance on a British coin came during the reign of Charles II, on the copper farthing in 1672 and the copper halfpenny in 1673.

When the penny was abolished, it was decided to place Britannia on the 50p coin, where she has been ever since. In 1973, she made way for a circle of hands which commemorated the UK’s entry to the Common Market. It was a temporary substitution for a particular political event, and the coin passed into history like all commemorative tokens, ultimately to be found of interest only to collectors and historians of the Royal Mint.

But Gordon Brown, who appointed Michael Wills, one of his most trusted allies, as Minister for Patriotism, with orders to promote ‘Britishness’, and who himself professes to be avidly ‘British’ and a leading proponent of this ‘Britishness’, has now approved a decision to eradicate Britannia from the 50p coin permanently. The symbol will thereby no longer be on any British coin for the first time in more than 300 years.

And it is not only Britannia whom Mr Brown is eliminating: the traditional heraldic designs on a total of seven coins, including the crowned lion and chained portcullis, will all vanish.

Instead, there will be a ‘representation of modern Britain’. Slowly, by stealth, these scurvy politicians are eroding the British national identity. One might as well replace Britannia with the 12 EU stars, for that is where this is heading. Indeed, the £2 coin already looks suspiciously like a euro-coin, and the new £20 also possesses a certain euro-note appearance.

The Daily Mail helpfully conjectures on what these representations may include:

Cranmer can hardly wait to see the final approved designs.

It is noteworthy that last year was the 300th anniversary of the United Kingdom, and there was no official celebration. This is a government which fails to understand the importance of history, tradition, and symbols of unity. Britannia is as relevant now as she was 300 years ago, and, like the Union flag, she is both the incarnation and the embodiment of the national psyche. Britannia is a symbol of the British Isles and the British people, and the fate of such important and enduring symbols should not be for here-today-gone-tomorrow politicians to eliminate at a whim, depending totally on which side of the bed they get out of in a morning.


Anonymous mickey said...

As your Grace may be aware, the Queen has final approval of new coinage designs. For almost forty years this was very much a family business, as the Duke was President of the Royal Mint Advisory Committee on the design of coins.

I had the pleasure of working with the Mint, as a consultant, for a couple of years and got to know the organization quite well. At that time, the Duke took a very active interest in coin designs and, as I recall, the Queen would also occasionally attend design meetings at the Palace.

Quite what is going on here I am at a loss to say. I suspect, as you suggest, the great clunking fist of political interference is at work. We can but hope that Her Majesty, perhaps after a judicious consultation with the Duke, may yet exert some influence in this matter.

28 January 2008 at 08:34  
Blogger Man in a Shed said...

Your Grace, we should consider the possibility of a bit of reverse psychology being employed here by the dour one.

Perhaps the backlash is just what this euro-sausage scheme is designed to produce.

On an aside do you have any evidence that Gordon Brown is a Christian ?

28 January 2008 at 08:55  
OpenID susajoy said...

i am saddened by gordon brown saying he will keep our britishness and then wiping it out! if he is a christian then he must not be aware of the commandment which says not to bare false witnes. Mr brown do not lie to us we are not stupid!!!

28 January 2008 at 09:36  
Anonymous mary tudor said...

Join the euro! Problem solved! :D

There is a lot of guff about supposed ancient traditions - remember the hoo-ha about the 'Monarch's' head not being on banknotes if joined the euro? The 'monarch's' head was never on banknotes until, My Majesty thinks, the 1940s.

there must be better things to worry about...

28 January 2008 at 11:25  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Mary Tudor. Your remarks about banknotes are irrelevant; they were BANK notes, get it?
And of course there are "better things to worry about" but we can worry about this as well. It is the act of removal of Britannia that is objectionable, after she has been there so long. It expresses the hatred of "anything that existed before ME". Isn't the Crown also being removed from some public buildings? This is just the same.

28 January 2008 at 11:54  
Anonymous mary tudor said...

Much as it goes against the grain for My Majesty to agree with anything much here - My Majesty has to accept that there is far too much crass and inane rebranding for the sake of rebranding going on...

The famous enquiry 'what's the bloody point' springs to mind...

28 January 2008 at 12:37  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Man in a shed: It is my understanding that Gordon Brown is a gnostic. Also Tony Blair used to participate in pagan ceremonies, for instance in New Mexico he performed a 'birthing pool' ritual in homage to the leviathan or something.

28 January 2008 at 14:16  
Blogger Ron said...

I've never understood why the British government is so ashamed of itself and its history.

28 January 2008 at 19:00  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

I thought it common knowledge that the infamous 50p piece with all the eurohands in a circle was a representation of each each member trying to get his or her hand on the next one's wallet.

With regard to the Britannia business I despair of the politicians steadily knocking the props of our society away. I fear that if you vote in any of the other parties - they'll do the same. Why does Cameron want to be known as 'Dave'? Dave as in Dave Spart? Gord, Dave, Tone they're all the bl****y same.

I recall Boris' Dad a few months ago cogently arguing in the Oldie (I think)for the Army to take over

He spoke a lot of sense....

28 January 2008 at 19:22  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

interesting topic your grace
i like the mutiple hands together trying to pick the nexts wallet very euro.
however i favour an image of a man picking his nose , this would capture nicely the nonchalant way in which we now live and construct our laws .

i dont know what the latin is for "i couldnt be bothered" but it should be millied into the edges of mr browns new coin.

as for his christianity its all too freudian to assume that the son of a minister should become agnostic , the rebellion of the lack of ideas in the household must have been the cause .

for anyone who finds meaning in the euro debates , i advise that the debate tonight between 7pm and 8pm be shown in every school across the land , ms dunwoody gave an all to clear example of what the houses relationship to the elctorate is , and what is being given away without asking us , mr milliband didnt even bother to turn up !!

28 January 2008 at 20:45  
Anonymous mary tudor said...

My Majesty has a question for all you right wing chappies...

Why is the public discourse so coarse these days? - I ask both generally and specifically. Are people no longer capable of debate with people who disagree with them? Does the anonymity of the blogsphere make shrieking 'cunt' and 'traitor' okay? Frankly, that sort of stuff says more about the attacker than the attacked.

The question isn't a criticism of this blog - where the discourse is generally within bounds. But follow some of the links...

Oh dear!!!

28 January 2008 at 23:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In relation to the 300th anniversary of the Union last year, it was commemorated with a coin. I have one in my wallet indeed - a £2 with a rose and thistle quartered with the portcullis design. On the edge is written 'united into one kingdom'.

29 January 2008 at 07:18  
Anonymous Rose said...

I'm afraid the obvious replacement would be the image of Claudius subduing Britannia from the temple of Aphrodisias.

29 January 2008 at 11:51  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older