02 June 2012

Big Ben for President!

There's a lot of these around today, but what do you call them? I bet you're thinking Union Jack, but some of you, or some part of you, is thinking No, that's wrong, it's the Union Flag, it's only the Union Jack when it's on a ship and the wind is from the west and there's an A in the name of the month.

To which I say Bollocks, it's the Union Jack. That's what we the people have decided to call it, whether it's on a ship, or in the design of boxer shorts, or tatooed on my hairy fat arse. That's how language works. It's the people who decide what words mean, not any experts. Most people - despite the whingeing of retired admirals - call this flag the Union Jack, so that, by definition, is what it's called. So, sod off with your "Union Flag" nonsense. You should be happy that we like the flag so much we give it a cute name.

The unusual amount of swears in this post may suggest that I'm not a happy boy at the moment. That's true. This weekend I'm feeling as lonely as a shy vegan in Buenos Aires, what with all the Union Jacks and red white and blue bunting around. These are hard times to be a republican. No-one wants to be seen to be attacking an elderly woman, and by the time her useless son takes over the business he too will be frail and old, and will have an excuse for his irrational and petulant ways. We'll probably have to wait for the next generation for an incompetent monarch to restore the institution to its natural state of being reviled.

But someone has to say it, this weekend of all times: having a royal family is ridiculous and wrong. It's the ultimate in social immobility, the clearest possible demonstration of the class system that means clever working class kids may, if they're lucky, become teachers or lawyers, while stupid - really stupid, too stupid to be entrusted with a real job - upper class kids end up in the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, what do you call this?

Big Ben, you probably think, unless you're a retired admiral, in which case you already penning a letter to The Times insisting that Big Ben is the name of the bell, and it's a terrible offence, worthy of hanging, to call the tower anything other than The Clock Tower.

Bollocks again, I'm afraid. If we want to call the tower Big Ben, that's what it's called. But today I've read that some lickspittle MPs want to rename it the Elizabeth Tower.

Oh, I give up. You call it that if you want to. You'll probably get your knighthood if you're the lucky MP whose name is top of the list of supporters. But I'll still call it Big Ben. So will most of the people in this country and billions of people around the world.

Grouch over. Enjoy the long weekend!


Andrew H said...

You really should come back to work and enjoy youself more! And yes, I can see the Clock Tower from here, and the Union Jack on the Victoria Tower.

And despite all monarchy's flaws "God Save The Queen" - President Thatcher / Blair / Boris anyone?

Brian said...

In my system, voting would be limited to people who listen to Radio 4. And I'm confident that President Toksvig will do a really good job.

(But the point is of course that if she didn't, we could get rid of her, without having to abolish Christmas again.)