Fifty Ps for Refugees

Remainers haven’t reacted well to the repeated Government announcements of a ‘special’ 50p coin to mark the withdrawal from the EU. So that puts a grin on the face of every Tory and Faragist. The most common response of vocal Remainers is to say that they will boycott the coin, which is not an easy strategy in a crowded shop and, I imagine, might result in people having to forego their change if they won’t accept legal tender (and lead to wry smiles from those trying to use Scottish notes in parts of England).

Another response is needed, my friends. Let us adopt the little-loved coin like a refugee. In fact, let us call it the ‘Refugee.’ It’s a nice, snappy name which reflects its uncertain status and has the distinct advantage of rhyming with ‘Fifty P’. ‘Can I have my change in Refugees, please?’ I’m sure various refugee charities would be delighted to receive collections of the coins. ‘Fifty Ps for Refugees’, ‘Refugees for Refugees’. With the Tories in Parliament having just voted to stop unaccompanied child refugees being reunited with their families, they will certainly have work to do with this money.

There comes a point where a critical mass of people give something their own name and the original, official name becomes lost. Poll Tax and Bedroom Tax come to mind. So let us enthusiastically embrace the new Refugee coins and call them such. Mind you, it might not entirely end the boycott of the coins, but it will be the Leavers who would have to consider what to do: boycott the coins which were supposed to mark their triumph, snap them all up to get them out of circulation or just grumble but do nothing. Personally, I could live with any of these options.

* John Death joined the Liberal Party in 1974 and is a retired teacher.

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  • The critical mass of people will just call it 50p and probably make mostly contactless payments, unless they’re at a car boot sale, a market or in one of those small shops that insist on cash or that you don’t quite trust.

  • John Allford 9th Jan '20 - 11:43am

    On the Isle of Wight we need 50pence coins for most car parking payments. So any “Refugees” I receive will be well looked after until I find a home for them. Brexit coins will be kept out of circulation for as long a possible.

  • Peter Martin 9th Jan '20 - 11:51am

    If any remainers don’t want their 50p ‘refugees’ I’ll have them! I can give them a good home.

    Mind you, I’m not expecting any to come in. I started to make these kinds of offers when I started to hear complaints that the pound was “worthless” because of Quantitative Easing or that we’d decided to leave the EU or whatever. I didn’t get any takers 🙁

  • Malcolm Todd 9th Jan '20 - 12:37pm

    I haven’t heard anyone talk about boycotting the 50p (and almost everyone I know is a Remainer). It sounds very silly.

  • John Marriott 9th Jan '20 - 12:45pm

    Two things it would appear to be hard to avoid, namely Death and, in this case, Taxes!

  • Christopher Curtis 9th Jan '20 - 2:31pm

    Emotionally, I hate every hint of Brexit triumphalism and curse the coins, the various idiotic “festivals” and Big Ben bongs. We would do better not to celebrate our collective stupidity and even leavers should wait and see what Brexit is like in reality before deciding to celebrate it.
    Practically, none of it matters. What your passport does matters much more than what colour it is. What a fifty p is worth matters much more than what someone has decided to stamp on it.

  • Tony Greaves 9th Jan '20 - 2:42pm

    I will keep them in a bottle and in the end donate them to a good European cause – refugees would be a good place.

  • Better still, donate them to the Refugee Council.

  • Barry Lofty 9th Jan '20 - 5:12pm

    I hate this triumphalism also, it is like rubbing salt into an open wound and quite unnecessary when the country is so divided. I might also collect them and decide later where to stick them!!

  • Dilettante Eye 9th Jan '20 - 6:07pm

    “I hate this triumphalism also, it is like rubbing salt into an open wound and quite unnecessary when the country is so divided.”

    As a leaver I’m sympathetic to the idea that remainers find a celebration of our leaving the EU difficult to accept. There were talks in some leave circles that we should have some kind of annual ‘Independence Day’, but I don’t think that is such a good idea.

    That said, we are leaving the EU, and that (for me), is a very welcome democratic correction to the arrogance of John Major signing the Maastricht Treaty, without the common decency of asking the UK electorate first.

    I guess the main practical purpose of a celebration is for media consumption, and to create a ‘civic marker’, in the minds of the general public. It would surely be wrong to see an average Friday(31st) to drift into an average Saturday(1st), without some media event to make clear in the public collective mind that…
    ‘Yes… We have officially left behind our membership of the EU’
    No offence intended; let’s just try to accept it and move on.

  • There were pro-EU 50p coins released in 1973 (hands in a circle) , 1998 (starburst) and also a limited edition one in 1992 (EU presidency), which everyone else just got on with using. Maybe it’s best to let this one go.

    I must say this kind of talk, about how the EU is essential to people’s sense of identity, gives the lie to a lot of what was said by remainers in the referendum campaign and before, about how it was all about trade and stuff like that and not a rival identity. It seems there’s a a burgundy passport brigade just the same as there is a blue passport brigade.

  • I have no problem with the Lexi’s and Brexi’s having a party just as long as they understand that going forward when bad things happen I’ll enjoy asking them how their Brexi or Lexi is going and have they spotted any unicorns yet. Hard times ahead much to the horror of those unused to responsibility. Tick tock, every Brexi has their own personal Sunderland and they will happen.

  • Richard O'Neill 10th Jan '20 - 2:22pm

    I really doubt anyone ever looks at the coins they use, which are becoming increasingly obsolete anyway. Boycotting them is rather pointless. But yes, triumphalism is a bad look in politics and often comes unstuck.

  • Steven Whaley 10th Jan '20 - 8:16pm

    Or we could just all get on with our lives and not let the pointless triumphalism of the Leavers get to us? I mean I think Jane Austen was a tedious bore of a writer but I don’t refuse to use the £10 note. 🙂

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