This week has been a fantastic week for Gordon Brown’s “Britishness” agenda, as two events have united the people of Britain as almost never before.
First, the people of Britain came together to support Barcelona in the final of the Champions League (with the exception of a small handful in the Northwest of England). Second, we are (almost) all of us delighted to welcome a dozen Norwegian beavers into the wild (with the exception of a small handful within fifty miles or so of the beaver-reintroduction zone in Scotland).
I’m feeling fairly patriotic this week, at any rate, certainly much more than usual.
In the same way that rich people who get exemptions from inheritance tax on their art collections have to make them available to the Great British Public, perhaps MPs who have spent taxpayers’ money on home improvements could add to the gaiety of the nation by being made to have visiting hours, so the Great British Public can go and take a proper look at John Prescott’s mock Tudor beams, Kitty Ussher’s new ceilings, or Keith Vaz’s nice cushions?
The annual intercollegiate tortoise race was held yesterday here at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Blue Peter showed up to cover the race, bringing the official Blue Peter tortoise. And, after being placed in the middle of the race circle, one of the tortoises successfully mounted one of the other tortoises.
Actually, I think the position of Poet Laureate is a silly one, and I hope Carol Ann Duffy doesn’t start writing dreadful poems about the royal family. (She may not, in fact, given her opinion that “No self-respecting poet should have to” write poems about Edward and Sophie of Wessex.) But her appointment is a permanent rebuke to those who struck Finisterre out of the Shipping Forecast seven years ago, and that’s a very good thing.