The Bank of England’s plastic banknote drive will soon include the £50 note, and the people at Sky News have reported “A new more secure version of the £50 note is set to enter circulation, with added features to prevent forgeries … The money will be printed on thin, flexible polymer that is cleaner and more durable than paper”. There was more.
“The Bank of England has announced the public will be able to nominate British figures to appear on the note”. And what kind of figures might be nominated?
First suggestion is Diana, Princess of Wales: “The Princess of Wales would be a controversial choice owing to the difficult relationship she had with the Queen (who will appear on the other side of the note). But her legacy of extensive charity work, which included fighting against the use of landmines, means many will believe she deserves a place on the new £50”. Another is Stephen Hawking.
Or how about Emmeline Pankhurst? “The leader of the suffragette movement which helped win women the right to vote. She set up the Women's Party which worked to achieve gender equality in public life”. Those who work in and around IT might favour Ada Lovelace, or indeed Alan Turing, “widely recognised as the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. He worked as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park during the Second World War”. But then the right-wing has had to stick its oar in.
Yes, someone has suggested Margaret Thatcher, friend of totalitarian dictatorships, seller-off of so much of the public sector, squanderer of North Sea Oil revenues, bringer of more than 3 million unemployed, despised by whole regions of the UK, but revered by the right, and especially those who never experienced her leadership.
And who might be in the vanguard of the movement to effectively canonise the woman Norman St John Stevas once called “The Blessed Margaret”? As if you need to ask: step forward the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines of Guido Fawkes infamy. Yes, Mrs T is just the kind of leader favoured by a peddler of borderline Fake News whose CV includes running guns to aid and abet murderous régimes, backing Apartheid South Africa, a series of alcohol related convictions, a willingness to lie for his supper, and propensity to sell his services to the dodgiest of buyers (including the Russian Government).
The deeply unpleasant Staines has even started a petition on his increasingly piss-poor blog. But his choice is not shared by many others, with disquiet and even horror at the idea voiced across social media this morning. But there would be one advantage.
As columnist Gary Bainbridge mused, “I suppose if they put Thatcher's face on the £50 note it'll stop young Conservatives from burning them in front of the homeless”.
Seriously, though, there are more deserving candidates for the new Fifty than Mrs T. And any choice favoured by shysters like Staines just has to be opposed. End of story.
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