Currency: Can the nation decide who is truly noteworthy?


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The Independent Online

What does it take to make it on to a bank note? Besides being the Queen, one has to do something special to get on to one (like George Best's Ulster Bank fiver).

Previous stars of the Bank of England £10 note include Charles Dickens and Florence Nightingale; the current incumbent is Charles Darwin. But, in the next few years a new run of £10 notes will be released. So who'll be on the back? Thirteen-thousand signatories of a petition think it should be Alan Turing, the computing wiz and Enigma code-breaker who, after helping Britain win the war, was prosecuted for being gay.

The petition needs at least 100,000 signatories to be discussed in Parliament. But would that make any difference? Probably not. The decision, the Bank of England told us, is down solely to the Bank's Govenor, currently Mervyn King.

"It is usual practice to consider a number of probable candidates, all of whom have been selected because of their indisputable contribution to their particular field of work," explains the Bank's website.

Which still gives hope to Turing backers, even if their campaign ought to spread east from Downing to Threadneedle Street. One suspects he's got more chance than other figures the bank lists as being nominated by the public. They include Jimmy Savile, Robbie Williams and Jonny Wilkinson.

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