The Governments latest big idea to instil in us a sense of Britishness, reinforce the national identity and turn us all into unthinking automatons who wave flags and sing anthems to order is to give us a national motto. This would be emblazoned over the portal of every public building and printed on every official document. But what phrase would serve to remind us of our patriotic duty to fill in tax returns on time, uncomplainingly pay ten million pounds each to obtain an ID card that informs the authorities of our whereabouts at any moment and entitles us to have information gathering probes pushed up our arses if we are observed doing anything suspicious like breathing.
What could the national motto be? Mines a pint? Want salt and vinegar on em? Do you have a loyalty card? It will certainly be nothing to do with politics.
Other nations fare little better, their mottoes might sound cool in foreign languages but are crap when translated. America used to have E Pluribus Unum which was dropped in the 1950s as it means no mixed race buses. The motto was replaced with In God We Trust, which suggests that as a nation they are gullible enough to buy bottles of stuff that cures all known ailments, removes red wine stains and gets stones out of horses hooves.
France goes for Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, a motto so crap the are too embarrassed to complete it. The final three words, ou la mort. (or death) are an open invitation for any foreign tyrants to say OK then, death, and nuke France to oblivion.
Greece follows France in tempting fate and goes for Freedom or Death, while most popular around the world, mostly favoured by disunited nations is Unity is strength.
Here in Britain, traditionally riven by property price differentials, the North / South divide, class, religious differences and increasingly partisan political ideology, the various groups have managed to rub along for over a thousand years without a motto. Unless of course it is the challenge we usually issue to those who threaten us Come and have a go if you think youre good.
There have been many suggestions posted on the Governments message boards, but all fail to inspire.
We suggest the motto should be decided by lottery, a National Mottery in fact. Everybody has to write down their suggestion along the lines of those great British mottos No milk today; ere we go ere we go ere we go; did you remember to feed the cat? Newton was wrong, the earth sucks; Johnny Johnny Johnny Wil kin son; sixteen pints of lager and a poppadom; did you get that from Primark? McLaren out! Youre avin a larf aincha? Up yours. Delors; and so on. The British are not motto people so much as blotto people.
Boggart Blogs suggestion? Never Let The Bastards Grind You Down.