If you’re a US Republican with a capital R, it means that you are rather conservative, religious and believe in traditional values (click the graphic), whereas in the UK, being a republican with a lower case R marks you as a lefty liberal rebel.
This sprang to mind because in the same week that US politics is in the news, so is the campaign to buy the queen a new royal yacht. In their different ways, both stories rattled my own republican sensibilities, but the yacht in particular.
The idea was floated by some obscure member of the government last weekend, which was apt, so that his more senior members at the decision-making end of the cabinet table could test the reaction to this £60 million vanity project. And as there was no rioting on the streets, Cameron went public with his support.
By this time, the cost had risen to £80 million, which doesn’t bode well should it get the go ahead, but the PM was at pains to say that this would be met by private subscription and sponsorship with his bagman lining up with a cheque for £5 million in his hand.
The whole idea seems ludicrous to me for all sorts of reasons, but it set me thinking about who might be appropriate sponsors for the project.
I suppose any corporate body might subsidise the main mast so they could run a flag up it to see who salutes, and companies like Admiral Insurance and the Compass Group came to mind, so you can see that my comic creativity really wasn’t up to it.
However, that brings me to the title of this post. While looking for inspiration, I discovered that the phrase ‘by and large’, one that is used rather a lot, is nautical in origin.
It was used to indicate a ship rigged for all possible situations where by means into the wind, while large means with the wind, as in “the ship handles well both by and large“.
So the new royal yacht idea hasn’t been a complete waste of time.