Hurrah! The United Kingdom is finally catching up with the Third World. I mean, the Developing World. What’s the correct term for today? The Economically Challenged World? Who knows. Anyway, we are, like I said, catching up. We will soon be joining the likes of Fiji, Vietnam, Romania, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Samoa, Singapore and Zambia.
Pound Sterling notes will, from 2016, be printed on plastic. Or more precisely, polymer. Of course, there are a few ‘advanced’ countries already printing on polymer. Australia has been printing on plastic for decades. Their early adoption, no doubt, was to prevent counterfeiting, being a country full of thieves, bandits and no good varmits.
Am I being harsh on the poor Aussies? I’ve never been there, but they have just given us a good thrashing at cricket, so it seems to me that a bit of slander and abuse is entirely appropriate. Indeed, questions regarding their parenthood are very much on the table. Besides, there’s a bridge nearby which spells out what sort of stock they are made from.
Canada too has polymer notes. Presumably plastic freezes better than cotton paper. I’m a little surprised that Israel made the jump. Surely all that plastic must confuse the explosives detectors? Unless they use the ingenious British made bomb detectors that <sarcasm> proved themselves so effective </sarcasm> in Iraq. I wonder if they ever did bring out the version with flashing lights?
But I digress. Back to the plastic notes. Will the British public approve? Begads, why even consult them?! That’s just asking for trouble. Half of them believe in aliens, the other half are struggling to work out who fathered who’s child. Have you not seen Jeremy Kyle? It’s scary viewing. Decision making should be kept well away from them. But consult them they did. What was the feedback? Who knows, but they are going through with the plasticisation of our currency. So Joe Public either gave the whole thing his thumbs up, or the powers that be decided to ignore him and get on with it anyway.
Besides, anything new is inevitably controversial. There’ll always be some haters, especially in the UK. Less so elsewhere though. I was in Mexico when polymer notes were introduced. I didn’t notice any great amount of objection. Perhaps because half the population aren’t rich enough to trade in notes. Another 49% were just pleased to have some money of any sort and weren’t about to question its merits. The final 1% probably professed confusion about what exactly bank notes are and declared that they will continue to buy things the old fashioned way, with gold ingots.
I liked the polymer Mexican pesos. I thought they looked modern, felt tough, and I can confirm through experience that they do survive a spin or three in the washing machine. It’s the way forward. Are you listening Mr Obama, with your ridiculously highly counterfeited (and frankly very dull looking) dollar bills? I suspect he would face an altogether different set of issues in introducing plastic money though. The internet would provide a thousand conspiracy theories overnight, Alex Jones would declare it to be unconstitutional and part of a secret plot to take everyone’s money away from them, Pat Robertson would call it the Devil’s money and blame the next high school shooting on it whilst dear Sarah Palin would probably stage a protest at a war memorial, because ‘vets died for our paper money’. Pft.