Hello and welcome to a new feature we like to call "Patriotism Watch". Ever since the EU referendum back in June of 2016, patriotism in the UK has become slowly more overt, widespread and absurd, so in this column we'll be documenting all the people who love their country so much it's made them say and do ludicrous things. God Save The Queen!
Who is being patriotic? Bill Etheridge, UKIP MEP, a man who was forced out of the Conservative party after he changed his profile picture on Facebook to one of him holding a golliwog in some sort of protest about political correctness. This sounds like a joke, doesn't it? It sounds like something I made up, as a joke. This is Bill Etheridge's life. It is not a joke.
How is he being patriotic? Bill Etheridge has sat down and looked very hard at Brexit, and all the various complex macro- and micro- negotiations and agreements that have to be made – he's printed off great wodges of paperwork, he's put on his bifocals and sat down at the kitchen table and looked very long and very hard – and he's gone "hmm" a lot and then gone: you know what we need? You know what we need, right now, in this country? Crowns back on pint glasses.
What is the deal? Big Billy Etheridge wants crowns back on pint glasses because… uh, well, hm. It's hard to tell, really: something about reclaiming our country and that unique British way we have of stamping our pint glasses with a small etched mark to prove that it definitely holds 568ml of beer (there were changes made in 2007 to replace the crown mark, which indicates a glass has been measured and checked, with a Europe-approved CE mark, which means the exact same thing, but presumably the only person on earth who noticed this change was CAMRA member and golliwog-holder Bill Etheridge, who then got mad about it).
Here's Billy: "All drinkers remember the Crown mark, knowing that it guaranteed them a full pint. Indeed there are still some around." Ah, yes. The crowd pint glasses were never formally phased out, which is why you still seen them. Also, because who cares about a crown mark? Here's where he gets really patriotic: "Reintroduced gradually, as replacements, they are not a throwback to a nostalgic era, but a move to put us back in control of the production and specifications of our own pint. Across the whole range of manufacturing we have to look at returning to our own systems of British Standards as we unravel ourselves from EU red tape."
British Standards, for British People! I don't want some nancy European foreigner telling me my pint contains 568ml! A pint's not a pint until a British glass inspector – with a British hat, and a British suit, and a fine British flag motif on his underwear, and a British sausage in his top pocket, the way the British wear them! – stamps my pint glass with a barely noticeable mark of a crown! What do Europeans even drink pints of, anyway! Wine? BRING BACK IMPERIAL, BERYL, NOT THIS EU METRIC NONSENSE. THEY CAN CLAW THE FLUID OUNCE OUT OF MY COLD, DEAD HANDS.
Patriotism rating: On the patriotism rating this is a little bit under "tattoo of a bulldog in front of an English flag with the caption 'these colours don't run'", and a little bit over "getting quietly mad when a Hungarian dance troupe wins Britain's Got Talent". Thing with the crown mark is: it literally doesn't matter, at all, even one little tiny bit, and the idea that the change would facilitate an upturn in the British glass industry – thousands upon thousands of men and women working around the clock in a sweltering factory to stamp crown after crown onto pint glass after pint glass, and the country is back again; oh yes baby we're back: putting crown marks on pint glasses is the biggest industry in the UK; it's estimated that one in two adults are employed in putting crowns on pint glasses now, this country is bucking the worldwide economic downturn by putting lots of crowns on things that don't matter – is a bit of a push. So yes, I think on the whole this is a solid "three St George's crosses out of five" situation. Tune in next week for more!
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