Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Adam who ?

The new £20 note featuring Scottish economist Adam smith was unveiled yesterday ... leaving critics furious. The choice of Smith - who died in 1790 - was branded too "obscure".

And they called for better known Brits, such as wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, to be honoured instead.

Mark Field, Tory MP for Westminster, said: "While I recognise Adam Smith as a great supporter of capitalism and a world renowned economist, perhaps it would be better if he was on Scottish banknotes.

"The Bank of England note should have a great Englishman or woman on it.Someone like Winston Churchill would be more appropriate."

Sunder Katwala, of the Fabian Society, a leftwing think-tank, added: "Adam Smith is the first Scot on an English banknote, which is good. But we need a greater public debate about how our bank notes should represent Britain as it is now, in all its diversity."

Smith will replace composer Sir Edward Elgar on 1.2 billion notes from spring.

The Bank of England said it considered many suggestions of who should go on the note, but the final choice rested with Governor Mervyn King. Other nominees included authors Agatha Christie and Jane Austen, Navy hero Lord Nelson and even The Beatles.

Mr King said Smith was chosen for his contribution to British society. He said: "Smith's insights into human nature, the organisation of society, the division of labour and the advantages of specialisation remain at the heart of economics."

Stewart Hosie, SNP Treasury spokesman, said: "Adam Smith is an ideal choice to be commemorated on a banknote of any denomination in any country of the world. And that this 'Little Englander' attitude should raise its ugly head over honouring a great man is a sad and pitiful gesture."

Adam Smith was a Scottish political economist and moral philosopher. He helped to create the modern academic discipline of economics and argued for free trade, capitalism, and libertarianism

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