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Urgent help required

Though most of our readers will doubtless be unaware, the BBC has been running a competition to find the ‘All-time Greatest Briton’.

I have, thus far, been indifferent to the whole wretched exercise but it has been brought to my attention that, currently, Lady Diana is topping the voters poll.

I am no longer indifferent. If Lady Diana wins, it is not just a victory for sentimentality over reason but a gross insult to this country’s glorious history. I cannot allow that to happen without let or hindrance.

So may I please urge all contributors and readers to go to the BBC vote page and vote for Cromwell, Brunel, Shakespeare, Newton, Churchill or anybody except Lady f*cking Diana!

I thank you in anticipation of your kind and worthy assistance.

[My sincere gratitude to Hadrian Wise for the alarm bell]

30 comments to Urgent help required

  • lpdbw

    Stop. Take a deep breath. Repeat after me: who and what I am is not defined by a BBC poll.

    As a Briton, you should be proud of the many things your culture has given the world. And ashamed of the many errs along the way.

    And realize that you are you, no matter what BBC watchers vote and think.

    In a way, as an American, I can even be thankful for George III, since his reign forced the creation of the country I am proud to call home.

    You are not talking about a panel of experts picking the most outstanding contributor to civilization here; the BBC is running a popularity contest.

    On those terms, Diana is, in fact, very competitive. The fact that her “greatness” is not the sort that has a lasting effect is offset by the fact that this poll is happening so near her demise.

  • Philip Chaston

    They also allow you to rate her after voting for another candidate. Numerically low for most of the criteria.

    The Greatest Briton should not be breeding stock.

  • David Carr


    Thank you for helpful and interesting comments.

    I have taken your views on board and, after some considered thought and a pause for reflection, my response is……BOLLOCKS!!

    ‘Hilary Clinton’ as ‘Greatest Ever American’? Over your live or dead body, may I ask?

  • Have you noticed how the BBC has cunningly split the right-wing vote by giving us: Elizabeth I, Brunel, Cromwell and Churchill to vote for while lefties have only got Diana and John Lennon to choose from? If there was any honour they would have a run-off.

  • With all due respect for the fine folks at Samizdata, if Princess Diana wins then Americans will have a quick STFU answer to those in the UK (You know who you are) that regard us as uneducated rabble. It’s something to consider. Just don’t tell the French.

  • David Carr


    I have considered it.

    I know exactly who ‘those people’ are, Michael, and you’re quite right to tell them to STFU as often and as loudly as possible regardless of who wins the vote.

    We do.

  • Russell Whitaker

    How annoying… I vote for Darwin, and I’m still required to render an opinion on Saint Di:

    “Rate Diana (even if she’s not your Greatest Briton!)

    Thank you, your vote has been sent. You can vote again after the next programme.

    Throughout the series, we’d like you to rate each Great Briton for certain criteria of greatness. Diana is next to be rated.

    We would like you to rate Diana even if you didn’t vote for her.”

    As an American, I’m still entitled to say “Bollocks!” too.

  • Paul Marks

    Well I voted quite some time ago (for Brunel), but I must say I find the idea of Lady Diana winning most amusing.

    Such an event would bolster my contempt for modern Britain and the modern “Brits”. I must confess that, at times, I would greet with joy the news that a great rock from outer space was heading towards this country.

    Certainly I would die, but that is no great loss – and all these scum would die to.

    I only feel like this some of the time. However, the victory of Lady Diana would be strong evidence that a great rock from outer space crushing this country would be (generally speaking) a good thing.

    Paul Marks.

  • Darwin has had and will have the greatest impact throughout the world of those ten. After millennia of believing we were made by god/s it’s bracing to be told that, actually, you’re the son/daughter of a monkey.

    St Diana can bite me.

  • Snide

    Missed your meds again, Marks? If there is a meteor coming, I hope is it very small and that you have your ‘meteor attractor hat’ on Paul.

    I know many people who pour scorn on the idea of the blessed Di even coming up to the ankles of the likes of Newton. If you think the sceptred Isles do not still have a large sampling of the bulldog breed, I suggest you widen your circle and discover there are millions of us who did not vote of Blair, hate the EU and know that the Union Flag does not belong to the BNP, it belongs to real Brits of all colours like us.

    But why oh why is that proto-fascist English Ayatollah Cromwell on the list?

  • David:

    I voted for Churchill.

    I’m just sayin’ …

  • I would like to offer you all some pumpkin pi:

    Happy Halloween!

  • David Carr

    Certainly I would die, but that is no great loss – and all these scum would die to

    Good grief, Paul, that’s a bit desolate even by my standards!

  • Paul Marks

    Fair point David.

    Paul Marks.

  • While Thomas Crapper may not have not have invented modern sanitation, he certainly made it a household (or household and a half) reality.

  • While Thomas Crapper may not have not have invented modern sanitation, he certainly made it a household (or household and a half) reality.

  • Last time I voted for Newton or Darwin, I can’t recall which one. This time voted for Brunel (the #2–the man with greatest chance of winning). It’s sad enough that she even made the list, but winning? That would be a sad time for humanity, not just the Britons.

    The proper American equivalent of this would be JFK’s wife Jackie Onassis winning the Greatest American contest. JFK himself would probably win, which is almost as bad.

    As for the leftist vote, my leftist friends would probably vote for either Newton, Darwin or Shakespeare. They would both think that John Lenon and Di making the list was moronic. Now the idiot vote, that’s another story.

  • I voted for the Bard of Avon, with Churchill being a close second.
    How can Cromwell be on the list?! What about King John with his Magna Carta?
    Or even Liz I plus Henry VIII for the emergence of the Church of England? King James and the Bible?
    As for scientists, what about Crick and Watson who discovered the DNA Double Helix?
    Or that Brit (Sinclair?) who “invented” the computer?
    Maybe too many of the Brit populace are Diana-addled idiots now (some of them apparently, anyway) but Britain has given us many, many Great Human Beings.
    And now…SAMIZDATA!
    P.S. If Diana’s on there, I *demand* that other style-makers like Twiggy, Laura Ashley, Mary Quant, and Vidal Sassoon be added as well!

  • molly

    I voted for Brunel

  • Jennie: Cromwell represents the English revolution, where parliamentary authority was asserted and the monarchy was not allowed to raise taxes except through a representative body.

    The monarchy was abolished as “useless, burdensome and dangerous” and England became a Commonwealth and a Free State.

    Of course, within six years the rule of the major-Generals within the Protectorate destroyed this promise, especially as Cromwell invoked an income tax, the decimation, on defeated royalists.

    Cromwell was a Good Thing but a Bad Lord Protector (A bow to W C Sellar and R J Yeatman)

  • w.H.M.Jewell

    Queen of cringe.

  • Christopher Pellerito

    Isaac Newton was the greatest Briton of them all. But how can they leave Pete Townshend off the list of nominees?!

  • Thanks, Philip, I know.
    But don’t we have Cromwell to thank for the Massive Mess in Northern Ireland?
    And that nullifies any governmental reforms he might have made.
    James I didn’t appreciate losing his head either!

  • It would be a disgrace if the People’s Princess won. I’m voting for Fergie.

  • I am sorry Turing is not in the top ten. Certainly he is much more worthy than Diana or Lennon. I voted for Darwin.

  • Paul Marks

    I did not understand that someone could vote more than once (i.e. vote each time one of the shows was broadcast).

    Clearly I should be less self indulgent (glorying in my despair) and pay more attention.

    Paul Marks.

  • Michael Lonie

    That was Charles I, James I’s son, who lost his head. Northern Ireland was planted in James I’s reign, so it antedates Oliver Cromwell. He has plenty of other affronts to the Irish on his plate, though.

  • If Diana wins I’m leaving the country.

  • Hadrian Wise

    Now at last Brunel has overtaken Diana. Others no doubt will disagree, but I can’t get too excited about this: Brunel was little more than an ingenious vandal, but at least he had talent & vision & actually achieved things, which is more than can be said for Diana.

    I have voted for Shakespeare, our greatest genius, several times, & once or twice for Nelson, our greatest hero.