Well in the words of the great Barrett Strong “Money (That’s What I Want)”*. Recently there has been some debate around the Bank of England’s plans to replace Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill in 2016 as the face on our £5 notes. However, it has also been announced that Jane Austen will be the new face of the £10 note in 2017, an attempt at counterbalancing the lack of women. People are right to scrutinize the individuals who are being considered-and that have appeared on previous notes-which clearly shows a lack of diversity, not becoming of a modern society. Now it is positive that Austen will indeed be seen on future currency but there will still be a lack of Black and Asian and other ethnically diverse faces. Tokenism some may shout, maybe, but visibility and presence are often the first steps in people understanding how British society has “no singular 'island story.'”
The Bank of England has a number of (some rather subjective) criteria: whether the person had made a lasting contribution which is universally recognised and has had enduring benefits; whether the person has broad name recognition (Sir John Houblon?); that the person should not be controversial; and that there should be good artwork upon which the Bank could base its pictorial representation. We do have a bit of a Catch 22 situation here, some for instance on the long list of Black Britons who are deserving of such an honour might not be widely known at the moment, and as such might not be seen as eligible, however, this debate has created such a media buzz that anyone suggested would get instant recognition! So with this in mind I wanted to gather people’s thoughts on some leading Black Britons who could be included on future notes.
I have listed a few of my own ideas, but have many more, and looking at our Facebook page we have already had some interesting suggestions. So if you want to join the debate and make a suggestion, we will happily collate the responses and contact the Bank of England Governor, giving him some food for thought before the next characters are chosen.
Bye for now,
PS * Other contenders for the title of this blog:
“Money talks” AC/DC
"Money, Money, Money" ABBA
"If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time" Willie Nelson
“What's the Colour of Money” Hollywood Beyond