RRS Sir David Attenborough is a Terrible Name For a Ship

David Attenborough

“I voted for Boaty McBoatface myself,” a top scientist has told a UK parliamentary inquiry into the naming of a £200 million research vessel.

Boaty McBoatface was the name the public overwhelmingly voted for after the decision was thrown open to a competition. But as we know, Boaty McBoatface was the name they were denied by Science Minister Jo Johnson – who decided it was too silly for anything but a poxy midget submarine. The big ship, meanwhile, is going to be given a name that barely anyone wanted or asked for: RRS Sir David Attenborough.

Johnson is an ass. And a po-faced ass at that.

There are lots of reasons why he was quite wrong to diverge from the public’s preferred name. Here are some of them.

Johnsons are supposed to be funny

Even their name is a bit rude, sounding like a euphemism for the membrum virile, as Jo’s Classicist brother Boris would probably call it. Boris, sister Rachel and Dad Stanley understand it, even if Jo does not: the job of Johnsons is to add to the gaiety of nations not act like boring grown-ups with pokers up their arses. Jo’s decision was a betrayal of everything his family stand for.

It is unlucky to give ships male names

This is a fact. We once had a boat named John Peel. It sank. After that we gave our boats girls’ names, as is proper. Short of naming a boat RMS Titanic II, it’s hard to think of a better invitation to collision with an iceberg than calling your Arctic research vessel after a man.

Democracy, anyone?

Yet again the remote elite demonstrates its utter contempt for the masses by giving them the illusion of democratic choice – a free vote on the name of a ship which, after all, they have paid for out of their tax money – only to snatch it away from them when they make the “wrong” decision. This is just how the European Union conducts its referendums – so perhaps we shouldn’t be at all surprised that, unlike his big brother Boris, Jo Johnson is very much a “Remain” man.

On at least two occasions, he has prostituted his ministerial prestige to argue that Britain should remain shackled to the EU corpse – alleging that it would threaten Britain’s financial sector  and that it would damage UK science. Neither claim bears the slightest scrutiny. Tosser.

Boaty McBoatface was the perfect Wankers’ Litmus Test

No seriously. I checked on Twitter. When Boaty McBoatface won the competition, you could scarcely move for tweets from pompous, self-righteous gits telling anyone who’d listen how disgusted they were that so frivolous a name had been picked, and what did this tell us about the state of modern Britain that a vessel conducting research so magisterially important could be treated so lightly by the common herd, etc. And every one of them was a wanker.

David Attenborough is a Malthusian loon

A loveable, whispery-voiced, gorilla-hugging, National Treasure of a Malthusian loon, maybe – but a Malthusian loon, nonetheless. As patron of the Optimum Population Trust – an organisation which, up until 2011, was quite up front about its goal of reducing the world’s population to a “sustainable” 5.1 billion (making you wonder what its plans were for the other 1.7 billion around at the time) – he subscribes to the dodgy, junk-scientific superstition that population growth must be curtailed (How? And more scarily by whom?).

He has also done more than almost any public figure to promote the similarly bankrupt, unscientific scares about “man-made global warming”, polar bear extinction and “ocean acidification.” Sorry but I do not want a British scientific research vessel named after so dangerous, divisive and frankly unscientific a figure.

It will probably engage in ‘research’ related to ‘climate change’

Well it will being as it belongs to the National Environment Research Council, whose branches include the British Antarctic Survey. The BAS is probably the most militant offshoot of the global warming cult anywhere in the UK scientific establishment. So you can bet your bottom dollar that its research will all point in one direction: the poles are melting; we’re doomed; it’s all our fault. A name like Boaty McBoatface would have put this ‘research’ in its proper context.

Scientists are far too up themselves these days

I blame CP Snow. And more recently the BBC’s – and most especially Radio 4’s – endless arse-kissing of anyone who might ever have worn anything resembling a white lab coat or felt the hot end of a Bunsen burner. Memo to the BBC (and the Guardian; and the New York Times; and the liberal media generally): scientists are not gods; they are certainly not infallible. See eg the Climategate emails to understand why those engaged in ‘climate research’ especially need to learn to take themselves less seriously. Boaty McBoatface would have helped greatly in this regard.


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