Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Money, Money, Money

This issue over Churchill replacing Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note received harsh condemnation off feminists, as it meant that there would  no longer be a woman featured on  the Bank of England's bank notes (They should have tried looking on the front!). This reaction sickened me, how anyone can argue that Fry achieved more than Churchill is beyond me and to use the inclusion of the greatest of them all as an excuse to highlight a petty feminist issue is a new low. As expected the feminist movement screamed sexism at the Bank of England, despite the fact that men have achieved far more than women in this country, partially due to social constraints of the past but that is no reason to include women just for the sake of having one. The people featured on our bank notes should be non controversial and universally loved by Britain, yet in order to appease feminists the Bank of England has decided to put Jane Austen on the £10 note as a token gesture, despite there being a huge list of candidates that have contributed more to Britain. Using the results of the BBC's top 100 'Greatest Britains' poll as a gaze of which Britains are popular with the public, I am going to explain why there just isn't a suitable female candidate for the bank notes.

The first woman to feature on the list was Princess Diana who came in the poll, but isn't suitable for the the bank notes for a few reasons. The first of these is that it would be incredibly odd to potentially have her on the same bank note as Prince Charles and would be rather insulting towards Camilla, not to mention I doubt that Charles would want the nation to be reminded Diana on a daily basis when Camilla is so unpopular in comparison. While she did a lot of work for charity I don't believe that act in itself is worthy of featuring on a bank note as many people contribute their spare time to charity, yet never receive the recognition that Diana does and it would be inappropriate for her to be the note simply because her position in society made her a constant feature in the press.

The next woman on the list is Elizabeth I who came 7th who can be discounted on the basis that she was a monarch and it is the reigning monarchs privilege to be on the bank notes.

Margaret Thatcher makes an appearance on the list 16th but is also unsuitable. The primary reason for this is the fact that she is like Marmite, people either love her or hate and she is far to controversial to be placed on the note. It would also have the potential of stirring up trouble in N Ireland were she as hugely unpopular and it would be highly irresponsible to risk causing violence just to put someone on a bank note. The final issue is that Churchill was also a Conservative PM and having Conservative politicians on  50% of the notes would not come across as politically neutral.

Queen Victoria came 18th in the poll but has the same problems as Elizabeth I.

The next woman on the list is Elizabeth II at 24 but she already features on every bank note.

Then on the list at 27 is the feminist hero, convicted criminal and arguably terrorist Emmeline Pankhurst. The question to ask  is that should someone with more criminal convictions than the notches on John Terry's bed posts be featured on a note that is supposed to represent the best of Britain? It gives a very poor message to the public and suggests to them that it is perfectly acceptable to break the law if you disagree with the government, which clearly judging by how the student protesters were treated in London a couple of years ago is not the governments line. If she had committed minor crimes then history may have been more forgiving of her, but arson, criminal damage and threatening behaviour are all very serious offences, particularly arson. While she didn't carry out all of these crimes her self, she has to take some responsibility for the actions of her followers and her refusal to condemn an attempt to blow up a theatre by one of her followers should see her removed from contention. There was also the famous incident were one of her followers committed suicide by jumping in front of the Kings horse and in doing so put the lives of the jockey and horse in danger and such grandstanding isn't something to be encouraged. It is even argued that the criminal activity at the time set back the women's suffrage cause as many men at the time thought it showed they were less rational than than men and it was in fact of a combination of Suffragists and WW1 that led to Women being given the vote and not Pankhursts group of thugs. Obviously there is no denying that her cause was just but this does not make it acceptable to break the law and certainly not in a way that puts others in danger.

Boudica appears at 35 on the list but doesn't meet the banks criteria as there is no portrait of her. She is also arguably a monarch.

Number 52 features Florence Nightingale but she has already appeared on the £10 note.

Dame Julie Andrews features on the list at 59 but ranks below the likes of David Beckham, Boy George and even Sir Cliff Richard. And is it really fitting for an actor to be a bank note when there are people who have saved Britain from invasion, invented things that have changed the world and changed man kinds understanding of science higher up the list?

Elizabeth Queen Mother featured at 61 and I have no real moral objection to her appearing on the bank notes but while universally loved she doesn't have any particular stand out achievements.  Just on a personal note I'd find it strange to have a former Queen Consort appear on the notes.

Then we finally reach the Bank of England's choice for the bank note, Jane Austen at a lowly 70, even Tony Blair proved more popular with the public at 67 and she only proved marginally more popular than Robbie Williams. She isn't even the highest writer on the list and is beaten by Shakespeare, William Blake and Charles Dickens to name but three. This suggests that the only reason one of these three was not chosen to feature on the bank note is because of the genitalia they were born with, which is blatant sexism. Without her books Britain would almost exactly the same, in fact we might not even have Twilight which would be an improvement. So how come she has been chosen above people who have changed the world like Nelson, Brunel, Alexander Fleming? Simply because they were born with the wrong genitalia and not only is it sexist towards men but also very patronising towards women.

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