The Bank of England recently announced that the new face of British £10 notes is going to be Jane Austen. If you are in the UK, you cannot possibly have avoided this news story, but for my American friends, let me summarise...
|Image from austenonly.com|
When the Bank of England announced that Elizabeth Fry was going to be replaced with wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, some people kicked up a bit of a fuss - there would now be no women on the bank notes chosen by merit (of course, the Queen automatically gets on every one of them!). One woman in particular - Caroline Criado-Perez - ran a campaign to make the Bank of England think again, and was naturally delighted to be told that Charles Darwin was going to be replaced with novelist Jane Austen. However, because of this effort, Caroline Criado-Perez was subjected to the most vile and vitriolic hate campaign, escalating to actual threats of rape and/or death made against her on Twitter. A man has now been arrested. All this because of a bank note!
Anyway, I don't want to discuss the campaign, as I'm pretty sure we can all agree that threats of sexual violence are never anything other than despicable, and I personally didn't have a strong opinion on the inclusion/exclusion of women on four different bits of paper. I am however, glad to see a writer on the notes again.
No, all I really want to ask, is - if you were in charge of your currency, who would you put on your bank notes? Are there any writers you think should be honoured in this way, or are there other people who would be first in line?
|Image from Wikipedia|
If I was being sensible my non-writer suggestions would be Sir Tim Berners-Lee (inventor - kind of - of the internet), the engineer Brunel, or the mathematician Alan Turing, but really, my favourite non-writer suggestion already on the list is John Cleese! In fact, why not lighten the mood after the latest debacle and just agree to have comic characters for a while - Basil Fawlty, Private Pike, Compo, Baldrick...