17 January 2012

A jubilee ship for the Queen? Why not a Beagle?

Much fluttering in the media dovecotes this week when Education Secretary Michael Gove suggested to Media and Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt that maybe a grateful nation should buy Her Majesty a new royal yacht to mark her golden jubilee.

The letter was leaked to the Guardian newspaper, leading the Prime Minister to initially hole the suggestion below the waterline. All sailors will know that leaks are bad for ships. Then, following an approach which outlines plans for a 600 foot, four masted multipurpose sailing ship (sail training, scientific research and with state rooms for her Majesty and retinue at the stern), David Cameron has today supported the plans. As long as it doesn't cost the taxpayer.

Might we suggest that we already have a set of plans, funds coming in (another £500 today, thank you), a builder in the blocks ready to start and a ship with a pedigree and some experience in honouring Royalty.

In July 1820 the newly launched HMS Beagle had the honour of being the first ship to sail under the new London Bridge leading a fleet review to mark the coronation of King George IV. Perhaps Her Majesty might find Beagle's stern cabin somewhat cramped, and it would be remiss of us to expect Royalty to indulge in the gymnastics required of the young Charles Darwin in wriggling his way into his hammock for the first time (oh for a time machine to have seen that moment). As Darwin wrote in his diary:
I intend sleeping in my hammock.- I did so last night & experienced the most ludicrous difficulty in getting into it. My fault of jockeyship was in trying to put my legs in first. The hammock being suspended I thus only succeeded in pushing it away without making any progress in inserting my own body.- The correct method is to sit accurately in centre of bed, then give yourself a dexterous twist & your head & feet come into their respective places.

But for a ship to take the nation's youth sail training, to take its scientists over the horizon, whose building would add excitement to the Olympic year and that of the Queen's Golden Jubilee?

It could only be our very own Beagle. She changed the world. Nothing less would add lustre to 2012.

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Andreas Kyriacou said...

Why on earth associate yourself with the self-acclaimed royals? They stand for nothing the Beagle stands for. Charles is an unteachable supporter of quackery, and Elisabeth has shown about as much interest in science as she has credentials.

The monarchy is a thing of the past, the Beagle wants to set sail into the future. It would be nothing but consequent to drop the HMS prefix.

lisamoab said...

Hear, hear! An excellent suggestion from our right honourable friend from Whitby. Spread the word!

Mike Haubrich said...

I am amused that a brilliant man such as Darwin seems to have had a hard time understanding how to berth in a hammock.

Yeah, I don't get it. What is England expected to be "grateful" for? Liz was cute in *The Kings Speech* as a character and all, but I am not clear as to why the UK needs to be grateful that she gets all the pomp and circumstance with no real leadership responsibilities.

Build a Beagle instead. People will respect that.