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« In the news today - Josh 370 | Main | Money to burn - Josh 368 »

Democracy poll toll - Josh 369

Here is a delightful story:

After Internet users overwhelmingly voted to christen Britain’s new $300 million research ship “Boaty McBoatface” in an online naming poll, a government official suggested the name wouldn’t be used.

“There is a process now for us to review all of the public’s choices,” Science Minister Jo Johnson told the BBC Monday, per Newsweek. “Many of them were imaginative, some were more suitable than others.”

BBC host Nicky Campbell exclaimed that the government would “ride roughshod over democracy” if it did not go through with naming the ship “Boaty McBoatface,” which garnered 120,000 votes — four times that of the next closest choice.

More at the BBC, Graun, Mirror and, well, everywhere.

Cartoons by Josh and thanks to my friend Sue who came up with the Jo's new title.

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Reader Comments (103)

Eh bah gum Golf Charlie

thee nows mi nebor from Yorkshire, ol john was always a rum un. Ne'er trust a bu88er as fiddles wi gears ah seeze. Nah wats this aboot a boat name, its nowt but a bl88dy hole in watter that some dumb bast88rd throws money inta.

Apr 21, 2016 at 2:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike SIngleton

At Jo Nova

“The Illusion Of Debate”: A History of the Climate Issue—Part 1

A truly impressive history of climate science expertise, and it's finest moments. It is a brief article, but well worth it.

Apr 21, 2016 at 3:15 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf Charlie, you speak with falsehoods. The beloved Ayla comes from no distant planet - although it may oftentimes seem that way. Her pronouncements have deep wisdom and she adheres to the true faith. A faith, false prophet, beyond your feeble understanding and one that you repeatedly harm with your blasphemous commentary. Her texts are not encrypted, merely impossible for you, unbeliever! to comprehend.

The mighty Met Off Climate model has been deployed to unravel Ayla's most recent tantrum. Fear not gentle folks, all will become clear. Meanwhile shun the imperfect one.

Apr 21, 2016 at 6:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Not unlike when Waitrose asked people to complete the phrase: 'I shop at Waitrose because...'

Apr 21, 2016 at 7:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

When you look at the ship it is a weird shape - it kinda looks like a boot.
How about

Apr 21, 2016 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterMickfrumoz

here in Norfolk, BOOTY has a quite different meaning and we would be questioning your artistic sensibilities.

Apr 21, 2016 at 8:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall


And suspicions of your affection for boot furniture.

Apr 21, 2016 at 8:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

I search Josh's product for hidden meanings - many (most?) cartoonists include them. My eyes alighted on the subtitle "Jo Johnson faces pole dilemma". This previously has been attributed to our plumbing friends (perhaps Josh believes the ship will be built in Gdansk) but I think this erroneous.

I looked more carefully at the depiction of our esteemed minister: note the pursed lips (drewling?), the intense cross eyed stare, the boat being offered as a gift to someone. Is Josh implying that Jo, like another recently outed Tory minister, is meeting a pole dancing lady of dubious pleasure. In this light Josh is perverting us by supplying disgusting imagery. Shame, shame, shame.

I do realize that all this lies in the eyes of the beholder, so don't confront me with my pecadillos.

Apr 21, 2016 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

The whole business could stand as a parable about the utter and complete trivialisation of our culture and history, or the pathetic ignorance and shallowness of our public discourse these days. I could add some more remarks about the attention-spans of gnats and the childish stupidity blah blah blah but you probably get my meaning.

Perhaps it was ever thus, but I doubt it.

Where are the grownups when you need them?

Apr 21, 2016 at 9:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

GC: that is true, but one never knows – he might have ended up between two slices of bread, himself, as the Sandwich Islands was where he met his demise, as the local ambassadors felt they had to make their opinions known a bit more forcefully. He got the point, so to speak.

Captain Cook also discovered and negotiated round the Great Barrier Reef; there are still Pacific islands in the Admiralty chart catalogue from his original surveys – indeed, there was one correction of a whole island, which was along the lines of, “Move this island 2 miles westwards.” An indication that Harrison’s chronometer was not only pretty accurate (2 degrees longitude equates to ~8 minutes in time) with no time signal to check it against after so many months; it also validates Harrison’s idea that longitude can be determined by time.

There are also areas of the Pacific charted by Captain Bligh, a phenomenal seaman (though not so popular with all of his crew), who charted coasts while in the lifeboat he was cast adrift in from the Bounty. Despite several months in the open boat, the only crewman he lost was to injuries sustained in the mutiny. The likes of the present day Cook, Mann, et al are not so much known by their deeds as their actions.

Apr 21, 2016 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterRaddy McRodentface

Raddy McRodentface. Coming from Whitby, Cook developed an urge to travel. I have never visited Whitby UK, to know whether this is a reason to recommend Whitby as a place to visit.

Cook charted the St Lawrence river, and this helped General Wolfe develop UK tourist policy.

Cook demonstrated the benefits of decent chartwork, made possible by accurate timekeeping. Long after his death in the 1830s(?) the Royal Navy did not have much to do, and decided to chart the rest of the world, to improve trade and communication, and make sure we had not missed anything else worth having. Another reason for the Franklin expedition!

Much of that charted info is still in use today. GPS has enabled updated charts to have errors straightened/rounded out due to the nonperfect spherical nature of the earth, but I have sailed in the Med with charts based on 1830s surveys, I presume much of the rest of the world is the same.

Meanwhile John Cook pretends that nothing happened until Mann invented the Flat Line of recorded temperatures, to make his Hockey Stick handle.

There is a Whitby in the Turks and Caicos Islands

Apr 21, 2016 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I recall Gordon Broon asking for a motto to capture what makes Britain great. He got Dipso Fatso Bingo Asbo by popular acclaim.

Broon then dropped the whole idea. Perhaps the funding of this climate science yacht could also be reconsidered now that we all know one is being built.

Apr 21, 2016 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

We have to be thankful that Cook did not discover anywhere in early January. Otherwise people would be asking to this day why they were going on holiday to the "Leftover-Christmas-Turkey Sandwich Islands".

Apr 21, 2016 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Sorry gC Cook came from Marton, not Whitby - both in Yorkshire though. Don't think there's a Marton in the Turks &c.

Apr 21, 2016 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Does said Science Minister actually do science? Just asking!!!

Apr 21, 2016 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton

golf Charlie. There of course are scads of Turkey Islands all over the place, even one in East Sussex. I'm sure there's at least one left over off Turkey that you could visit in your concrete yacht in early January, thus fulfilling your weird dream.

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Just completely OT.

Does anybody know if Andrew is OK? He hasn't been seen for some time around here. Josh is holding things together by the looks of things.

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Mr K: Captain Cook might have come from Marton (he was the son of a farm worker – or “ag lab” as genealogists know them), but he moved to Whitby, where he studied navigation – there is a small museum where he lived. To date, he holds the record for taking a ship the furthest South. It was the cold that forced him to turn back, not ice; however, it is ice that prevents anyone challenging his record. Odd, that…

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:19 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

The government is making a complete meal out of this.

Just call it Boaty McBoatface. Is it going to end the world as we know it?

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Dagnamit! I forgot to log out for my nom de plume for this thread!

Geckko: good point. I, possibly in line with everyone else, had just assumed that he was taking a well-earned rest. Now, you have put doubt in my mind; not comfortable, as it is a small mind, and that is a big doubt.

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaddy McRodentface

By mid January, Cook was looking for the "I-Can't-Believe-They've-Got-Easter-Eggs-in-the-Shops-Already Islands"

It does make you wonder what was the original name of the tiny and useless outcrop know known as "Rockall"

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@golf charlie: I think somebody miss heard what was said about it!

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Geckko, this is one of those issues where the Government have been made fools of, by those trying to sell a message. I am quite happy for the Government, and it's civil and uncivil servants to learn a few embarrassing truths about the consequences of listening to what the public really thinks.

If I am asked again by a pollster what are my concerns about the perils of global warming, the correct answer now, must be "Boaty McBoatface". In fact, the temptation to answer anyone trying to fill out a questionnaire to massage someone else's ego, with the same answer, is big.

It may be too late for BoatyMcBoatFace to be elected London Mayor this time but......

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Rr is that last statement true? If so we couldall use it.

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

golf Charlie. Could it be a contraction of rock-is-all? As for those other islands. - Don't belev yah.

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

I suppose so... never really thought of it that far. Anyway, your perfect nom de plume for this thread would be Minty McMintCake.

Apr 21, 2016 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaddy McRodentface

Slap me now.

Andy McBadAndrewFace

Apr 21, 2016 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy McBadAndrewFace

Climate Research: Adaptation & Prevention

Apr 21, 2016 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames

From the Daily Mash:

ADULTS are violently arguing in an office this morning because of the public’s decision to give a boat a stupid name.

Staff at the National Environment Research Council are at their lowest ebb after an online poll to name one of its vessels produced the winner Boaty McBoatface.

Managing director Tom Logan grabbed marketing manager Roy Hobbs by the collar and pinned him against the wall, shouting: “This is all your fucking fault, you weren’t supposed to let them come up with the names. We were going to give them a list of names, you absolute fucking tit.”

Hobbs replied: “It was only supposed to be a bit of fun. Look on the bright side, it’s encouraged thousands of people to engage with science.

“You’re hurting my throat.”

Logan said: “They don’t even know what this boat is doing, it could be delivered nuclear warheads to ISIS for all they care. They just like taking the piss out of things because they are idiots.”

Scientist Mary Fisher, who had been sitting at the boardroom table anxiously chewing a pencil, put her hand on Tom Logan’s arm. She said: “Maybe Boaty McBoatface isn’t that bad a name. Remember the other suggestions included Huge Dog Penis and Tits Bucket.”

Logan responded by letting go of Hobbs’s collar and punching the wall.

Apr 21, 2016 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Something is ratten in the state of antipodean rodent geography.

Cook's Whitby cat was not the southernmost sailing ship for long- a Yankee whaler, name of Weddell, pushed three drgrees further in 1823, and Capatin Ross, of Ice Shelf fame set the sailing record that still stands in 1841.

Apr 21, 2016 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Well, I stand corrected. Who knew that I could be wrong?! So, the record was set in 1841 - near the end of the Little Ice Age. Hmmm... all that global warming... Never mind. Luckily, the ice shelf is now melting (so we are constantly being reassured), so the chance to set a new record must be fast approaching. Prepare the Ship of Fools, once more!

Apr 21, 2016 at 9:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaddy McRodentface

Fracky McFrackface sallies forth 'n all

Wiltshire residents will be treated to his "Hunger Strike" Tour next week

Apr 21, 2016 at 10:03 PM | Registered Commentertomo

No, Ratty, it's the pack ice what stops ships.

Ever since the Titanic unpleasantness, sailing ships into ice shelves or even pieces of them has been reckoned downright lubberly.

Apr 21, 2016 at 11:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Raddy McRodentFace, that is a startling admission from vvussell, about ice loss records set in 1841 remaining unbeaten to this day. A lot of blogs would have censored such a Hockey Stick debunking comment. It is really lucky that vvussell posted the details here.

More information on Captain James Clarke Ross on Wikipedia. Quite a lot of history around him, including the ships HMS Erebus and Terror, and the search for the Franklin expedition, and my favourite ship HMS Investigator.

Why hasn't vvussell highlighted this before to Real Climate, it could have really helped educate the Hockey Team about the history they choose to ignore.

Apr 21, 2016 at 11:08 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Ever since the Titanic unpleasantness, sailing ships into ice shelves or even pieces of them has been reckoned downright lubberly.
That’s as maybe – why are they still trying to find the Northwest Passage? The continuing number of ships getting beset should indicate that it remains as much a fool’s errand today as it was in Franklin’s day.

Apr 21, 2016 at 11:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaddy McRodentface

vvussell, history books indicate the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank in 1912, which was quite a few years after Captain Ross died, and according to currently understood medical biology, even longer after he had sailed, alive, in the Antarctic.

It is my understanding of science, history and biology, which leads me to conclude that lessons learned from the Titanic disaster could not have influenced Ross, despite Leonardo de Caprio's best efforts, and Michael Mann's most lucrative imagery.

Apr 21, 2016 at 11:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Turn up the idiocy GC, a court jester of Josh's caliber needs one of his own to keep the audience from nodding off.

Apr 22, 2016 at 3:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

ZBD ALERT!!!!!! Over at Uncharted.

Apr 22, 2016 at 6:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Perhaps ZBD read your 3.26am plea to gC and decided to help us.

But, confused as usual, went to a dormant thread.

Apr 22, 2016 at 7:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

A rather petulant comment, Russell. Can you refute any of what GC said? If so, let us hear it; if not, return to the playground, and continue your game of tig with the other children.

Apr 22, 2016 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterRaddy McRodentface

President Obama why Britain should stay in the EU to help combat Climate Change and get 40 thousand British Steel Workers sacked

PS hope he brought his birth certificate with him

Yep Trump 2016

Apr 22, 2016 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJam Mc Spid McGloaty I luv Nige Face

Just in the last couple of days I came across a peculiarly apposite name for a vessel operating in the Antarctic - Stultifera Navis. This first appeared in Plato's Republic Book VI, so the name has got philosophical grounding, and is in Latin, so should appeal to all those scolars out there. . .

Apr 22, 2016 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Causley

George Causley, Stultifera Navis is not uncommon as a yacht name. Ship of Fools was the polite term for the disastrous pleasure cruise to the vanishing ice, arranged by expert Chris Turney.

They got stuck in ice that wasn't there, so did the rescue ship. None of the experts foresaw this outcome, as they were all relying on each other's propaganda, and the lure of fame and fortune, for not finding any ice.

This ability to find solid evidence, that they know is not there, says a lot about the skills required to be a climate science expert.

Apr 22, 2016 at 10:19 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I would be VERY proud to be a citizen of a country which could operate a boat with a name like Boaty McBoatface.

The crew may not be as tickled. They are going to be the objects of all sorts of humorous assault every time they need a bridge lifted, lock passage, or have any other need for radio communication. But that's not all. Via AIS, the name will appear on the plotters of every ship within 10 miles, many of whose operators may not understand the joke.

But WTF, there is more than enough pretension in government operations, why not do something fun, just this once.

Apr 22, 2016 at 11:08 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

jferguson, I think you are right. After all, so many Green Blobbites would be willing to crew the ship for free, just for the honour of working on such a prestigious vessel, that labour costs would be cheaper than if the vessel was registered in Liberia or Panama.

Apr 23, 2016 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC: good idea. However, could a ship operate with the skill levels that would be available? Also, the labour costs are not really a factor in flag of convenience registration.

Apr 23, 2016 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterRaddy McRodentface

None of you have said a word about the acute embarrassment to the good men who will sail and work her - and the insults they will have to bear in the hard world of polar sea-farers. To call ship a boat - beyond belief.

Apr 23, 2016 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

Actually, Vernon, seamen do often refer to ships as boats (e.g. box-boat = container ship, size irrelevant); however, as is common in many specialised fields, they do object to non-seamen doing so.

Apr 23, 2016 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaddy McRodentface

Boat names compared to ship names: Row V Wade on transom of dinghy. Eine Kleine on transom of Nachtmusik's dinghy,

Rime, trawler operated by couple in Annapolis who are 97 and 90. RubiYacht, etc. and yes, BoatyWoaty, named by the granddaughter.

Apr 23, 2016 at 1:02 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

Churchill wrote a note during the war on the subject of naming operations. He thought choice of names a serious matter. They couldn't be silly. Someone might have to write a letter to the parents of a casualty reporting that he had been killed in operation daffodil. or lollipop.

Ah, the good ship ...

Not all ships make it to the breakers, so this could apply here as well.

but still ...

Apr 23, 2016 at 1:29 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

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