Bank of England: It's Time for More Plastic Money
Last week the Bank of England announced the release of a new £50 note. The plastic note will feature the face of Alan Turing, widely recognised as the inventor of the enigma code-breaking machine, and the father of computers.
There has been fierce competition for places on the new polymer notes in the last few years. Hopeful candidates ranged from Larry the Cat to Jack the Ripper. Unfortunately Isaac Newton was rejected on the grounds that “he partook in hard-core sadomasochistic activities” when he repeatedly stuck needles into his eyeballs.
After failing to find historical figures that weren’t ‘cancelled’ or problematic, the government took the self-congratulatory route and instead forgave itself for killing Alan Turing.
Turing’s arrival on the £50 note had long precedent. In 2013 the government officially recognised that forcefully injecting chemicals into a war hero until he committed suicide may have been a faux-pas. The decision to forgive Alan came only 60 years too late.
Subsequently, the 2014 release of ‘The Imitation Game’ further peaked public interest in Turing. The film, where Benedict Cumberbatch Britsplains codebreaking to Polish people for 2 hours sparked outrage over how the government treated the closeted gay man. In celebration of his efforts in winning the war, Turing was treated to a luxury five-year subscription to chemical castration, which was not covered under the NHS at the time. The state repression of Turing’s sexuality led to his suicide in 1954.
But all was forgiven when the new line of money was announced. In The Guardian, the decision was proclaimed to be the final step in the ‘official rehabilitation’ of the scientist. It was unclear what rehabilitation there needed to be. Turing didn’t commit any moral crimes. Nonetheless, the Bank’s decision to print new plastic money with Turing’s face on it has righted the wrongs from decades of state-led homophobia.
The Bank of England clarified their decision to place Turing on the new £50 note. “We really wanted to reflect how society marginalised Turing during his lifetime by putting him on the least used bank note”. “By plastering his face on the £50 note, we wanted to stress that while we celebrate Mr Turing, his lifestyle might be offensive to some. It’s ok to have homosexual figures on money, but you shouldn’t force that down people’s throats.” The spokesman added: “It’s marginalisation beyond the grave, in polymer form”.
The spokesman concluded: “It’s what he would have wanted. To be immortalised and washing-machine friendly”. “After all, he probably invented that damn machine in the first place!”.
Let’s hope Alan Turing does appreciate the gesture. Whilst the man may have been torn apart by his ungrateful government, at least his £50 note won’t be. Instead, his face can be rolled up into a cocaine funnel for coked-up city bankers.