A Modest Proposal for Currency Reform

Note to readers: this was a spoof post published on April Fool’s Day. It does not represent a serious policy suggestion.

The Government must do more to maximise the opportunities of Brexit.

We will be fobbed off no longer with blue passports.

Only the full restoration of pre-decimal currency can tame rampant inflation, solve the cost-of-living crisis – and bring back the days when a wealthy gentleman could live comfortably on an income of £10,000 a year.

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The decimalisation of British currency in 1971 was a gross betrayal of our national heritage. This heinous deed was, unsurprisingly, carried out under Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath – the same Prime Minister who would take us into what was then the European Economic Community two years later.

Now, post-Brexit, the time has come to reverse this travesty and restore the true glory of the UK’s pre-decimal currency: farthings, half-crowns, shillings and all. We will be fobbed off with blue passports no longer! Indeed, with inflation at a record high and the cost-of-living crisis continuing to bite, de-decimalisation by itself is not sufficient. We must carry out a full currency revaluation, at a 1:100 ratio – in other words, each new pound would be worth one hundred of our current pounds.

Following restoration and revaluation, a farthing (1/960 of a pound) would be worth approximately 10p in current money. There would be no smaller denominations; this is not a problem, as very little can be bought for less than 10p. A shilling would be worth just under £5 – a most convenient sum – and half a crown exactly £12. Median household income would be £320 a year, or approximately £6 a week, a far more convenient sum to handle on a day-to-day basis.

In addition to the clear cultural and historical benefits, there would be four main practical advantages:

  • Inflation would be solved at a single stroke. Rather than energy bills costing £2500 a year, they would cost a mere £2.50. Houses would become vastly more affordable, with the average price of a house restored to £3,650. The cost of living crisis would be ended.
  • A great boost to children’s mathematical skills, as they learned to tot up pounds, shillings and pence, calculate the number of ha’pennies in a guinnea, or how many thrippenny bits make half a crown. Mathematical achievement is one of the greatest predictors of future lifetime earnings, meaning this would pay dividends over the long run.
  • Great confusion for foreigners, who would be unsure whether two shillings was more than half a crown, or whether there were 12 or 20 shillings in a pound. This would create great opportunies for the English, a nation of shopkeepers, to diddle tourists out of a few bob, thereby boosting our balance of trade.
  • It would restore the days in which a wealthy gentleman of leisure could live in comfort on £10,000 a year. Today, that is a paltry income, well under minimum wage – and far below what is needed to maintain Pemberley. Under our new, post-Brexit currency, such an income would be worth a far more satisfactory million pounds a year in ‘current money’.

There is no time for delay! With inflation at over 10%, we must not take no for an answer: join the campaign for pre-decimal currency today!

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