BUNHILL: Dead bulldogs society
Sunday 25 May 1997
If I were a foreigner, I would have two enduring but incompatible images of the UK: the classic British reserve of people who would never stoop to anything so uncivilised as being rude and outspoken; and the classic British defiance of those who would never aspire to anything other than being rude and outspoken. So how would you come up with a single identity for this lot? A bulldog crossed with a dead sheep, perhaps?
This wasn't Wolff Olins's approach, of course. Instead, it chose to emphasise all those positive qualities we've got going for us, but which we tend to underplay because of our low self-esteem. Among the values it pinpointed in developing the new brand were "welcoming" ("We've managed to turn round the football hooligan image since Euro 96," said a spokeswoman), "diversity" (a reference to our rich mix of ethic and cultural influences), "community" (the caring qualities demonstrated by the National Health Service and events such as Live Aid), and "innovative" (pioneering companies like The Body Shop). The overall brand image chosen by Wolff Olins, however, was "original" - a quality routinely demonstrated by our fashion, music and advertising industries.
It seems as good an identity as any, though I would have gone for "caring" because anyone who has fallen ill on the Continent will have been staggered at the conduct of doctors who behave like mechanics: "Right, we're going to treat your ear infection and that'll cost you 60,000 pesetas, but you've got a perforated bladder as well, so do you want us to patch it up or trade it in for a new one? By the way, do you fancy a part ex on a liver?"
But that's enough negative thinking because Wolff Olins wants to accentuate the positive, and this is the approach it has taken in designing a prototype logo for the nation: the single word "Britain" appearing on a red and blue background. You'll notice that the "Great" has gone, along with the Union Jack, because this is a sacrifice the consultancy feels we may have to make to kill off the Imperialist and Far Right connotations that dog our image abroad. The comedian Alexei Sayle looked at the problem in a different way: "Why Great Britain? I mean you don't get Average Italy or F*@!!** Brilliant France."
Wolff Olins's idea is still at the development stage, but it seems convincing enough. I can't help fearing, however, that one day the xenophobes will hijack this bright new image and turn it to our disadvantage. Look out for slogans along the following lines: "We're British: we're the most caring, cultural, diverse and welcoming country in the world. So the rest of you can sod off."
Cats and watchdogs
SO THE supervision of our financial services sector is to be taken away from the Bank of England and other City regulators and handed to a new all-powerful watchdog. Well, while the Government's about it, perhaps it could create a regulator dedicated to saving language from Square Mile savagery.
If you doubt the need for this, just recall the reaction of the Bank's Governor, Eddie George, to the creation of a single City policeman: "You can skin the cat in all sorts of different ways, and they all have pros and cons. The important thing is that you have to make it work."
Call me literal-minded, but there don't seem to be any pros in this procedure and it certainly won't work for the cat; all we'll get is a dead pet and enough screeching to wake up the neighbourhood.
You can see where Mr George is coming from, however, because cat skinning is a tried and tested proverb and like all tried and tested proverbs - "you can't have your cake and eat it", "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush", "the happy mongoose lays a mud pie" (okay, I might have made that one up though I'm pretty sure Eric Cantona used it) - we know what it means but don't ask us to explain it.
Perhaps what we need, therefore, is an updated proverb - and a perfect one suggests itself in the way the Bank gained a bit more control over monetary policy while losing all its clout in financial regulation: "There's more than one way to skin an Eddie George."
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Follow the latest events from this Champions League fixture
Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind"
Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Ukraine crisis: Donetsk 'tactical missile' explosion at factory sends blast wave across rebel-held city
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Oscar de la Renta dead: Legendary US fashion designer dies after long cancer battle aged 82
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments
iJobs Money & Business
£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...
£27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...
£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...