Back­ing Bri­tain? What a Carry On

Daily Mail - - Moneymail: Comment - Com­piled by Charles Legge Anne M. Fo­ley, Lon­don N11.

QUES­TION What­ever be­came of the ‘I’m Back­ing Bri­tain’ move­ment of the Six­ties? THE I’m Back­ing Bri­tain cam­paign of early 1968 stemmed from a back­drop of a weak econ­omy, in­clud­ing wide­spread tax in­creases, a deficit of £1 bil­lion, high in­ter­est rates and the de­valu­ing of the pound from $2.80 to $2.40 in late 1967.

There were also anx­i­eties over national de­cline, loss of em­pire and the ‘ Bri­tish dis­ease’ of badly trained, poorly mo­ti­vated em­ploy­ees and medi­ocre man­age­ment.

The cat­a­lyst for the move­ment were the ‘fa­mous five’: five young typ­ists (Va­lerie White, 21, Joan South­well, 20, Chris­tine French, 17, Carol Fry, 16, and Brenda Mum­ford, 15) at Colt Ven­ti­la­tion and Heat­ing Ltd, a small com­pany in Sur­biton, Sur­rey.

Fol­low­ing a com­pany cir­cu­lar that stated ‘ the bal­ance of pay­ments deficit would dis­ap­pear overnight if the work­ing pop­u­la­tion of the UK worked a five-and-a-half day week with­out de­mand­ing higher in­comes’, they made a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion to work an ex­tra half-an-hour a day with­out more pay.

The typ­ists re­ceived thou­sands of con­grat­u­la­tory let­ters and calls. Prince Philip sent a tele­gram: ‘It was the best news I’ve heard.’ Harold Wilson wrote that the cam­paign ‘was a help­ful and ro­bust re­sponse to the gloom and near-de­featism af­ter de­val­u­a­tion’.

Within a week, the typ­ists were at the cen­tre of a me­dia storm, and t he I’m Back­ing Bri­tain Cam­paign was born. The coun­try was soon awash with badges, mugs, flags, car stick­ers and T-shirts.

The new Poet Lau­re­ate, Ce­cil Day-lewis, spon­sored by the Daily Mail, wrote a poem en­ti­tled Now And Then sup­port­ing the cam­paign, which it com­pared to the Blitz. It be­gan: Do you re­mem­ber those

morn­ings af­ter the Blitzes When the liv­ing went on liv­ing. And con­cluded with the

ral­ly­ing call To work then, is­lan­ders, as men and women Mem­bers one of an­other,

look­ing be­yond Mean rules and ri­val­ries to­wards

the dream you could Make real, of glory, com­mon wealth, and home. Nat­u­rally, there were voices of dis­sent, not least from the trades unions which saw the cam­paign as a back-handed at­tempt by em­ploy­ers to ex­tend work­ing hours.

By the end of March, the cam­paign had dis­si­pated and was some­what over­shad­owed by Robert Maxwell, then a Labour MP, and his Buy Bri­tish cam­paign.

It took a ter­mi­nal knock when a ma­jor Lon­don whole­saler ad­mit­ted his I’m Back­ing Bri­tain T-shirts had been made in Por­tu­gal, stat­ing: ‘We just can’t find a Bri­tish T-shirt that will give us the same qual­ity at a price that will com­pare.’

A Bruce Forsyth sin­gle I’ m Back­ing Bri­tain sold just 7,319 copies. By Au­gust, even the five typ­ists were only oc­ca­sion­ally com­ing into work early.

Press at­ten­tion turned to ridicule. The film Carry On Up The Khy­ber, made in the sum­mer of 1968, con­cludes with the rais­ing of a Union Jack with ‘I’m Back­ing Bri­tain’ on it. Peter But­ter­worth turns to the cam­era and says: ‘Of course, they’re all rav­ing mad, you know!’

Peter McAl­lis­ter, Rothe­say, Bute. jazz or­gan­ists? ONE of the most tal­ented ex­po­nents of jazz on the Ham­mond B3 or­gan is Bar­bara Den­ner­lein, born in Mu­nich in 1964, whose flu­ent im­pro­vised so­los and stun­ning foot-pedal tech­nique have put her among the best jazz or­gan­ists in the world.

Bar­bara’s CD record­ings can be heard on the Enja and Verve la­bels as well as on her own Be­bab la­bel.

Then there’s Amer­i­can Rhoda Scott, born in 1938, now liv­ing in

QUES­TION Are there are any fe­male France. Also a fine player of the Ham­mond B3’s ped­als, she is un­usual in play­ing bare­foot for a bet­ter ‘feel’. She can be seen duet­ting with Bar­bara Den­ner­lein on a YouTube video clip.

Be­fore that, the ma­jor fe­male jazz or­gan­ist was Shirley Scott (no re­la­tion to Rhoda), an Amer­i­can who per­formed world­wide in the Fifties and Six­ties. She died in 2002.

Tommy Sav­ille, Bottes­ford, Notts.

QUES­TION In Bri­tain, we use the ex­pres­sion ‘kick the bucket’ when some­one dies. In Hol­land, they ‘lay the piece of lead’ and in Poland, ‘they kick the cal­en­dar’. What other un­usual for­eign id­ioms are there? THERE are thou­sands. Here are some favourites. I n Cen­tral Amer­ica, to think you are the last Coca-cola in the desert means to have a high opinion of your­self.

In Puerto Rica, to have a face like a busy tele­phone is to be an­gry. In Ara­bic, an ant milker is a miser. In Por­tu­gal, telling some­one to ‘go to the fava bean’ means get lost.

In Turkey, if some­thing sus­pi­cious is go­ing on, a lo­cal might say: ‘It’s not fes­ti­val time, it’s not a plea­sure trip, so why did my brother-in-law kiss me?’ In China, to ‘smoke from seven ori­fices of the head’ means to be very an­gry.

Hindi-speak­ers call an un­in­vited guest a ‘squeezer of limes’.

In Ger­many, to ‘live like a mag­got in ba­con’ is to en­joy a life of lux­ury.

In Spain, when some­one ‘looks for a five-footed cat’, they are ask­ing for trou­ble. In Swe­den, ‘there’s no cow on the ice’ means not to panic. Fi­nally, from Ire­land: ‘May the road rise to meet you’ means have a safe jour­ney.

A. S. Barn­aby, Swan­age, Dorset.

QUES­TION How many char­ac­ters fea­ture in Charles Dick­ens’s books? Did he have a method for mak­ing up won­der­ful names such as Sweedlepipe, Honeythun­der, Bum­ble and Pum­ble­chook? FUR­THER to ear­lier an­swers, my fam­ily and I are de­scended from the orig­i­nal Moses Pick­wick. He was a foundling from Pick­wick, near Bath, and in 1694 or 1695 was taken to Cor­sham work­house, where he was given the name Moses. He mar­ried Anne Marsh­man in 1719 and had t en chil­dren. My fam­ily are de­scended f rom Miriam, the youngest daugh­ter.

Moses’s grand­son, Eleazer (17491837), es­tab­lished a Bath coach­ing busi­ness and took over sev­eral inns, in­clud­ing the White Hart Inn, op­po­site the Pump Room.

It was with this Pick­wick coach com­pany that Dick­ens trav­elled to and from Lon­don and Bath when he was a reporter for the Morn­ing Chron­i­cle. At the time, he had se­cured a com­mis­sion from the pub­lish­ers Chap­man & Hall to pro­vide the text to go with a se­ries of sport­ing ‘comic strips’ to ap­pear in shilling monthly in­stal­ments.

Eleazer sold the White Hart Inn to his nephew Moses, and this was the same Moses Pick­wick whose name Dick­ens said ap­peared in ‘gilt let­ters of a goodly size’ on stage coaches to Bath. (Chap­ter 35, The Pick-wick Pa­pers).

The I’m Back­ing Bri­tain girls at a 1985 re­union (from left): Brenda Mum­ford, Joan South­well, Va­lerie White, Carol Fry and Chris­tine French

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