Today I read an item in The Atlantic about an amusing story from the UK. Apparently Her Majesty’s Government has commissioned, at great expense, a state-of-the-art climate-research ship. The vessel needed a name, and so the public was asked to provide one. They did. The winner of the poll, by a large margin, was “Boaty McBoatface”.
This did not sit well with the Science Minister, Jo Johnson. (What is is with these Cabinet-level Johnsons, by the way? They’ve got ‘Jo’, and we’ve got ‘Jeh‘.) Mr. Johnson has announced that given “the serious nature” of ship’s mission, to wit, to “address global challenges that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, including global warming, the melting of polar ice, and rising sea levels”, the people’s choice is simply unacceptable.
This, in turn, has not sat well with the demos — who would like to know just who, if their collective will is to be so summarily ignored by some snooty toff named Jo, is supposed to be the sovereign around here anyway? From this little spat, it seems, has arisen a “national conversation” on the nature of Democracy, and more than a few people are starting to get the idea that the whole thing might not be everything it’s cracked up to be. (Which, of course, it isn’t.) The fancy red ship is turning out to be a big red pill.
Reaction is in the air, people. Suddenly it’s everywhere you look.