BACK TO BASICS
I did an article a while back about the new £5 note, little realising the controversy that was about to surround it's release. We have now learned that small traces of animal fat are used in the manufacture of the new note. According to the Bank of England "there is a trace of tallow in the polymer pellets used in the base substrate of the polymer £5 notes".
Like you, I have no idea what that actually means although I do understand that animal fat, or substances derived from animal parts are used in many everyday items as diverse as plastic carrier bags, bicycle tyres, toothpaste and soap. I'm not aware of there having been any particular objection to this although, unlike the £5 note, you can always choose not to use them.
I have no particular sympathy for vegetarians or any other type of food faddist. I see it as a way for certain people to demonstrate their sense of smug moral superiority in a wealthy society where we can all be sure we know exactly where our next meal is coming from. And as for religionists..............
Still, the Bank of England is looking at ways to replace the offending material for something less controversial and make everyone happy again.
On a lighter note, using animal parts as currency does hark back to an earlier age when hard currency was hardly used and barter was the preferred method of exchange. Then, swapping your pig for a couple of chickens was considered quite normal and a leg of lamb could be exchanged for a dozen eggs without resulting in a debate about animal rights. Adding animal derivatives to our present currency is just an acknowledgement of those simpler times.
My South African Wife was once told by her Father that she was worth two cows. I don't know how many £5 notes you need to make up two whole cows, probably quite a lot.
I better start saving.
MAHARAJAH JAMMU & KASHMIR
In my Guide to the London Mayoral Elections back in May, I rather carelessly neglected to mention one of the candidates, self appointed Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir, Ankit Love of the One Love Party. I rather feel that this was the main reason for his poor showing on polling day and I've been trying to make up for it ever since. I did publish an apology in my next edition but by then of course, the damage had been done.
As in the London Mayoral election, Ankit Love once again went head to head with his arch nemesis, Zak Goldsmith in the Richmond Park by-election. Once again, both candidates were inevitably going to lose a Brexit vote in a constituency where the majority of voters don't need to move their lips when reading the ballot sheet.
Ankit did particularly poorly this time, being soundly thrashed in the popular vote by Howling Laud Hope of the Monster Raving Loony Party who also went on to defeat the homophobic, misogynistic Christian People's Alliance candidate Dominic Stockford. Even changing his name to Maharajah Jammu & Kashmir didn't seem to help and "the world's foremost emergency policy maker on tackling the air pollution pandemic" only managed to poll 67 votes.
The Monster raving Loony Party position on Brexit probably helped their cause, supporting as they do, an Al dente, as opposed to a hard or soft Brexit currently being debated by the other loonies.
The turnout for the election was surprisingly low considering all the publicity that had surrounded it, only 53.6%. I suspect this was the result of large numbers of Tory voters who were not going to support some anti EU loony whatever his political colour but couldn't bring themselves to vote for a Liberal Democrat.
A couple of days ago I had a request from Steve Peterson to use one of my pictures in his excellent site about the history of the Royal Woolwich Arsenal, imaginatively entitled "Royal Arsenal History". To be honest I hadn't come across it before and have been spending some time catching up on it.
Anyone with an interest in local history should really do the same as it is packed full of fascinating information about the Arsenal itself plus pages of stuff showing the development of the area following it's closure.
Oh, yes! it's also got one of my brilliant pictures in it. There may be a prize if you can guess which one.