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In these highly partisan times I’d rule out any politician, with the exception of Clement Attlee. Attlee’s role in winning World War Two and setting up NATO & the NHS marks as him as a truly great politician that transcends normal politics.
I expect the campaign to get Mrs Thatcher as the face of the new £50 note will be doomed despite her worthy qualities, sadly there’s parts of the country that would sooner burn a £50 note with Mrs Thatcher on it than use it.
The other campaign that seems be gaining traction is for Noor Inayat Khan, The Telegraph report
The new £50 note could become the UK’s first to feature someone from an ethnic minority, as the Bank of England begins its call for submissions from the public.
Historians and politicians are among those who have called for the first British Muslim Second World War heroine, Noor Inayat Khan, to be the “face” of the highest-denomination note, which will be reissued in plastic from 2020
The campaign, started by activist Zehra Zaidi and backed by historian and BBC presenter Dan Snow, as well as Tom Tugendhat MP and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, had already gathered hundreds of supporters in its first day.
Ms Zaidi said: “Noor Inayat Khan was an inspirational and complex woman who was a Brit, a soldier, a writer, a Muslim, an Indian independence supporter, a Sufi, a fighter against fascism and a heroine to all. She navigated complex identities and has so much resonance in the world we live in today.”
A Muslim Sufi pacifist, who began her career as a children’s writer living in Paris with her family, Ms Inayat Khan was perhaps an unlikely candidate to spy for Britain against the Nazis.
However, after escaping to Britain following the fall of France, she trained for the Women’s Auxiliary Airforce and was later recruited as a secret agent for the Special Operations Executive (SOE). She became the first female radio operator sent into Nazi-occupied France in 1943 – aged just 29.
The spy, born to an American mother and a father of Indian royal descent, ran the Prosper network of resistance communications in Paris, which was commissioned by Winston Churchill to “set Europe ablaze”.
She was shot and killed by the SS at Dachau concentration camp after being betrayed by a French woman and suffering 10 months of starvation and torture at the hands of the Gestapo. For her bravery, Ms Khan was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1949.
Whilst I can understand the support for Noor Inayat Khan and other women in this era of #MeToo my tips are for two former alumni of the finest university in the world, Stephen Hawking and Alan Turing. Both changed the world in their own way, the latter generally being regarded as the father of computing as well as helping to win World War Two whilst the former changed our understanding of the world and universe.
Choosing Turing would go in some small way in further correcting the horrific injustice perpetrated by the state against Turing for the crime of being a homosexual, that injustice ultimately led to the end of Turing’s life.
The Bank of England say about who they might choose: “UK characters who are widely admired and who have made an important contribution to our society and culture. We also avoid fictional characters, or people who are still living”.
At 16/1 and 33/1 it is worth putting money on both Hawking and Turing in my view, they’d be worthy choices as well as being relatively non controversial and fitting the Bank of England’s parameters.
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