Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Five little words

I saw on Times Online yesterday that some bright spark is considering putting together a motto for Britain. As well as lacking a written constitution ("Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?"), we don't have some snappy phrase that talks about what this country is all about.

It is, apparently, a matter of some consternation in certain quarters that there is no "E Pluribus Unum" for the official letterheads, no "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" to go on the passports. There is a deeply-held desire to prove some sort of unity between the individual countries that make up Great Britain, despite the inalienable truth that we have, in fact, been giving each other a good shoeing for much of the past few hundred years.

I actually think it's quite nice that we don't have a motto. It's so terribly nouveau, isn't it? Although I am seriously fond of Luxembourg's quaintly existentialist, "We wish to remain what we are".

Before too long, the good readers of the Times were rising to the challenge of putting five words together that somehow denoted our national identity, captured several thousand years of history and talked about who the Britons are. You can perhaps guess at some of the attempts.

To be honest, after the first few I'd lost the will to live, although I did quite like "Britishness cannot be captured in....". Anyway, the Times website is so flaky it tends to crash whenever there's an "a" in the day, so I thought I'd give it a try here instead. Remember, it has to be five words, and say something meaningful.

Who knows, you could soon be reading one of these on the back of a ten pound note:

  • One Nation Under Some Pastry
  • Being Rather Uncertain Since 1066
  • Let's Not Make A Fuss
  • Please Form An Orderly Queue
  • Forgive Us For Simon Cowell
  • You Looking At My Pint?
  • Move On Down The Bus
  • He's Not Worth It, Darren
  • Not Everyone's Like Hugh Grant
  • Cod And Chips Twice, Please
  • Sorry, Was That Your Foot?

10 comments:

Dory said...

How about
Our accent, Americans are jealous

City Girl said...

How do you say, "Mind the gap" in Latin?

Dory: Manchester? Leeds? The East End? Not so jealous.

Anonymous said...

Can I report a burglary

fatboyfat said...

city girl: I can't remember the Latin for "Mind the gap" - I did take Latin at school but it was some years ago. "Quanti ille est canis in fenestra" is "How much is the doggy in the window?" if that's any use to you.

You are right about the accents, I'm afraid - there's as wide a variety over here as there is over there.

anonymous: you might be onto something

Rebecca said...

"What's all this, then?"

fatboyfat said...

Rebecca: Trust you to bring a much-needed efficiency to proceedings.

Rebecca said...

If you guys don't adopt something from Monty Python, then there's something wrong with the universe.

Le laquet said...

"The weather's been just awful"?

fatboyfat said...

rebecca: In which case, we must drop the five-word rule:

"Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."

le laquet: I was quite keen on "Turned out nice again".

Le laquet said...

Yep and I forgot ....

"And the price of bananas!!!"

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