It has recently been decided that money in the UK will be receiving a bit of a makeover and, in the habitual British manner of never welcoming change ever, it has predictably sparked a considerable amount of controversy.
A particularly noteworthy change to the currency will be Jane Austen’s replacement of our dear old Charles Darwin on the ten pound note. As the scientists among us raise their arms in anger, the literary snobs and feminists alike cannot wait to spend their ‘victory’.
This conflict, I feel, is perfect in mirroring my own personal conflict- being both a lover of science as well as literature in a world where these career paths couldn’t be more divided.
However, my concern with regards to this matter is not with what they’ve chosen but why.
On hearing the news that the five pound note was ditching the ‘only woman’ featured on British currency, feminists became outraged (because lets face it, at this point in time they really have nothing else to bitch about) and so Jane Austen secured her own place on our dosh.
But they seem to be forgetting a certain lady who has featured on every single penny and pound since 1953.
Her sparkling whites are not only on our money but on our stamps, mugs and even cushions!
(although the latter two are not exactly compulsory.)
So does this mean, as a nation, we have decided that the Queen does not represent a successful woman? That she, alone, is not good enough to represent the females of our country and satisfy feminists?
That she is worth little more than the money she is printed on?
For those of you who have not become exclusively dedicated to news of the Royal baby, you may have heard the recent controversy regarding David Cameron’s plans to restrict pornography in the UK.
My Facebook and Twitter feed, for one, were certainly outraged over the decision which I certainly disagree with, however, it mainly strengthened my anger towards a different policy that the Conservative party are also introducing.
In 2015 it will be compulsory for schools to study a Shakespeare play and here lies the Conservative’s small, yet evident, contradiction.
Shakespeare is known for many things; his heartfelt poetry, being a magnificent playwright but also having a tendency to be a little raunchy here and there.
In fact, there’s a 300 paged book entirely dedicated to the scrupulous amount of sex that lingers amidst Shakespeare’s legendary lines.
So on the one hand we have to protect children from sex by forcing an entire country to become censored by default, but on the other hand we also have to force what is undeniably sexual down the same children’s throats in order to somehow protect their education?
I understand that I’m being a little pedantic here in comparing Shakespeare with porn (please note that’s not what I’m doing!), and you’re probably thinking that children won’t even understand the innuendos and questionable lines.
And that’s exactly where my frustration lies. Where is the logic behind forcing children to study Shakespeare when even students at university level can find it difficult to read let alone critically engage with?
By forcing the study of plays that my as well be composed of an entire different language, you are denying pupils their right to study literature.
I’m not for a moment denying Shakespeare’s importance, but when there is an entire world full of literary masterpieces it simply makes no sense for pupils to be constrained at all.
Today I received a notification from WordPress congratulating me on having been a member of the site for precisely two years! That’s certainly a long time- an eighth of my entire existence in fact.
A lot has changed since then; for one, I have discovered the extraordinary concept of ‘tagging’ posts. You see, for a long time previous to that discovery, I must have assumed that readers would simply appear magically. (Admittedly though it is pretty magical how many people have read my aging blog over the years! Man, I feel old just saying ‘years’ with an ‘s’.)
In a short time this blog has given me an unmissable amount of joy, in particular the time it was broadcast to my English class (on two occasions nonetheless!).
But of course with great anniversaries comes great sentimentality, which has inspired this short poem out of me-
If I shouldn’t see another
Sun-sodden field or sky of blue,
Think only this of me. Those days,
Spent in your arms, though few,
Were the greatest of any other.
O, how I loved you.
Happy Birthday Blog!
I’ve just realised that if you were a human you’d probably be walking by now… oh my!
It’s that time of year again…
The time when you start to regret all those nights spent doing everything except revision. The time when stress becomes piled up so high that you could metaphorically reach the Moon. The time when it becomes severely appealing to just give up with life’s aspirations and go to work at McDonalds.
(Of course I mean no offence to people who work at McDonalds; having my own intentions of doing a degree in literature puts me in a good chance of eventually working there myself!)
16 days marks the start of my exams.
It’s because of this I wont be posting for a while, (you want me to do well, surely?!) but I wish all the luck to those of you doing exams as well.
I just hope that the piece of paper at the end will be worth all this infernal suffering!
(That is, of course, a joke… an entire forest of paper could not be worth these nerves that I’m sure are determined to consume me!)
To one, she was a wife.
To two, she was a mother.
And to an entire nation, she was a leader.
Today marked the grievous end of Margaret Thatcher’s momentous 87 years. Her legacy, however, which still perseveres throughout the United Kingdom, will, undoubtedly, live on in a society indebted to her strength.
Perhaps more worldly recognised as the first female British Prime minister, I feel that it would be fair to say that this was the least of her triumphs. In only eleven years she lead her country to countless victories which leaders before her premiership would not have been prepared to achieve.
It was in 1982 when she led Britain to an unlikely victory in the Falklands, a victory that has been compared even to those of Winston Churchill, and it was also at this time she proved that ‘this lady is not for turning’.
Also notable was her leap towards peace between the countries of Ireland and Great Britain that had been amidst tension for hundreds of years. In the face of strikes and critics she remained strong and in turn led to what would become an end to the ‘troubles’.
Even to this day, however, her critics remain just as fierce causing what is, perhaps, one of the greatest divides in public opinion. Indeed, to some, she was considered evil but, to even more, she is a hero.
Although, what this split cannot deny is how Margaret Thatcher, undeniably, put the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain.