Mike Rawlins sent me a link to the Boaty McBoatFace public consultation on Faceboook, probably a day or two before it became front page news.
I chuckled. For hours. It’s one of those things that made me randomly burst out laughing for days afterwards. It hit my funny bone, and it hit the nations.
Today we’re told that the ship will be called RSS Sir David Attenborough. According to the minister responsible, Jo Johnson, the underwater unmanned vehicle (submarine drone) on the ship will be called Boaty McBoatyface. What a bore. Perhaps it should be called Droney McDroneface.
There’s something else about this that isn’t funny…
Besides the obvious, that you asked our opinion then ignored it, it’s how glib government is about consultation. Formal government engagement or consultation with the public has long been mostly a lip service exercise.
So the one clear lesson from this is: ask us about things that matter! If you consult us on something essentially trivial, we will either ignore it or quite likely have fun with it. If we do, respect that. Better still, why not preserve our attention for things that matter?