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The Jelly-bellied Flag-flapper gets his motto

Maverick streak makes mockery of hunt for a British motto - Times Online
The people have spoken. After a ground-breaking experiment in popular democracy, readers of The Times have chosen a national motto for Gordon Brown’s New Britain.

Or have they? For, the suggestion that attracted most votes in our poll on Comment Central, a Times Online blog, is perhaps better described not as a motto but as an anti-motto: “No motto please, we’re British”.

In other words, a resounding raspberry to Gordon Brown’s search for a statement of British values that underpin his constitutional reforms.

In truth, the entire outcome makes grim reading for Mr Brown. The two most earnest mottoes among the top ten, submitted from the minority who appeared to treat the exercise seriously, were never in the running....

My faith in the British is restored, who can resist a bit of Kipling at this:

And so he worked towards his peroration - which, by the way, he used later with overwhelming success at a meeting of electors - while they sat, flushed and uneasy, in sour disgust. After many many words, he reached for the cloth-wrapped stick and thrust one hand in his bosom. This - this was the concrete symbol of their land - worthy of all honour and reverence! Let no boy look on this flag who did not purpose to worthily add to its imperishable lustre. He shook it before them - a large calico Union Jack, staring in all three colours, and waited for the thunder of applause that should crown his effort.

They looked in silence...What, in the name of everything caddish, was he driving at, who waved that horror before their eyes? Happy thought! Perhaps he was drunk...

They discussed the speech in the dormitories. There was not one dissentient voice. He was further (I give the barest handful from great store) a Flopshus Cad, an Outrageous Stinker, a Jelly-bellied Flag-flapper (this was Stalky's contribution), and several other things which it is not seemly to put down.


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