Basil Fawlty’s insanity almost becomes Bank of England policy

I do believe that one of the funniest things ever shown on TV is the episode of Fawlty Towers (a show that ran from 1975-1979) in which Basil Fawlty welcomes four German guests to his seaside hotel.  He’s told not to mention the war, lest he offend the Germans, but he cannot help himself:

As is happening way too often lately, life in the 21st century has gone from amusing satire to dysfunctional seriousness.  This is the news out of England today:

Bank of England bosses thought twice about putting Sir Winston Churchill on the new £5 note – because they didn’t want to upset the Germans.

Officials warned Sir Mervyn King, then Governor of the Bank of England, that Churchill’s wartime record might make him highly controversial, documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday show.


In a memo dated April 11, 2012, Sir Mervyn was advised Churchill will be a popular choice because of his ‘broad name recognition’ and the public’s ‘very affectionate view’ of him as a wartime leader. But officials also warned him that ‘the recentness of World War II is a living memory for many here and on the Continent’.


Officials also warned Sir Mervyn of Churchill’s ‘disastrous’ decision to return Britain to the gold standard in the 1920s. Churchill’s critics at the time claimed the move, with the backing of the Bank of England, produced the mass unemployment, deflation and industrial strife of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Bank staff who conducted ‘considerable research’ into Churchill’s role in the debacle noted: ‘If academics do pick up on the move to the gold standard it is likely they will refer to the role of the Bank and Churchill’s own criticism of the Bank.’

We shouldn’t be surprised by this thinking, though. The same government body was worried about using Jane Austen’s image on a bank note in case something shady emerged about her private life.  (For those who are not fanatic Austen fans, she lived her whole life with her family; never married; wrote exquisite social comedies that were also strong morality stories; and left virtually nothing of herself behind other than her work, since her beloved sister Cassandra destroyed almost all of her letters.)

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  • Gringo

    One more indication that Britain is going down the tubes.


    Gringo: Any connection with their transit system and going off the rail?

  • Wolf Howling

    Well, if this is the new standard, can I register a complaint about naming the newest Prince, George.  Every time I ponder that, it makes me want to grab my musket and powder and start hunting redcoats.

    For the record, last I checked, Sir Winston is hardly discussed in British schools these days.  Far more time is given to the father of British socialism, Clement Attlee.  It really is horrifying.
    For my money, Winston Churchill was the premier historical figure of the 20th century.  Had we listened to his advice at the time, the West would have . . . 1)  Kept the Saud’s from taking over Arabia – and launching what is, today, radical Islam;  2)  Supported the White Revolution over the Bolsheviks, thus putting an end to Soviet Communism while still in its cradle; and  3)  Stopped Germany’s militarization about 1937, thus preventing WWII.  Churchill was nothing if not prescient.  
    Lastly, while I am happy to call the Germans friends today, I don’t think a day goes by that they should not be reminded of what their forefathers did in electing Hitler, than blindly following him into war and genocide.  Likewise, the rest of the world should daily remember the lesson of Britain itself – the nation that enabled Hitler with a treaty insuring “peace in our time.”  Indeed, we should think of it every time we hear the word “Iran.”

  • Ymarsakar

    Britain kicked out CHurchill from power once they got their use out of him. Don’t forget that convenient detail.