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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)

Name of Vessel: 'Empty'!

Apr 20, 2016 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Sounds like an overwhelming consensus in favour of one solution.

Could start referring to Cook, Lewandowsky et al, as "Boaty McBoatface". It would be quite apt for a ship designed to crash into increasing ice.

Apr 20, 2016 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Not so much as increasing ice, GC; more of not much change in ice. This NOAA publication, on page 61, indicates that we could have started 5 years earlier. 1979 seems anomalously high, so it a curious time to start the measurements. Could there be a reason for starting in that year, not 1974?

Anyhoo… I suspect that, no matter what they decide to paint on the bow of that ship, she will be forevermore known as Boaty McBoatface. Johnson Minor will just have to suck it up – the yolk's on him!

(sorreee… couldn’t help myself…)

Apr 20, 2016 at 4:19 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Just wait till the British public vote to leave the European Union.

Apr 20, 2016 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJam McSpid Face

Is cross-eyed Jo going to sport that luvly little eggy fascinator number at Ascot?

And will he retain the copyright on the Boaty McBoatyface boat toy. I can see those Chinese factories spinning up to meet demand. Don't think it will matter much what the climate scientist's cruise ship gets called - no one will want a toy of that ship.

Bet they reject the public's choice because its not a boat, but a ship.

Did anyone come up with the name - Jo's Folly?

Apr 20, 2016 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Terrific cartoon. Public input only when provides what poly's want. Not otherwise.

Apr 20, 2016 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

I would have thought that naming it the "Sir John Franklin " would have been appropriate. It matters not what they call it now as it will be forever known as Boaty McBoatface.

I seem to remember that no-one wanted the " RMS Queen Elizabeth 2nd" to be referred to in official literature as QE2 but it stuck.

Apr 20, 2016 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Alan Kendall,

Bet they reject the public's choice because its not a boat, but a ship.

Shippy McShipface.

Apr 20, 2016 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R


Apr 20, 2016 at 5:36 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Alan Kendall, they could call her "Shippy McShipface", but the 'scientists' on board, would be Shipfaced for life. Novelty memorabilia could be very profitable though, provided Chinese manufacturers got the spelling right or wrong. A bit like sea ice predictions, the more wrong they are, the better the money.

Apr 20, 2016 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Sorry, joke may be brilliant but made before fWUWT?)

Apr 20, 2016 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

I'd go with "The Lie-Sinko," if it's used to promote AGW nonsense.

All those in favor of making Josh the ship's cartoonist raise their hooks .

Apr 20, 2016 at 5:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

While I can appreciate the concern of serious officialdom, I am nevertheless glad to live in a country where this response to a naming competition is still possible.

It would result in punishment in North Korea or China. It would never happen in Germany or France, where 'National Pride' would forbid it. It would just not be appreciated in America. Only in the UK - possibly in Australia, Canada or New Zealand - would this idiocy be appreciated....

Apr 20, 2016 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Has anyone noticed that Josh may be enumerate, either that or he lives in a community where people lack the required number of fingers. Or perhaps he gets tired of drawing all those digits - why do we have to have just so many of them? Disney never bothered to give Micky a full set.

Apr 20, 2016 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Or Bart Simpson!

Apr 20, 2016 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

Love the cartoon and subject, but how did the conundrums of eastern Europe get into this (the subtitle, although I'd prefer conundra :-)?

Apr 20, 2016 at 6:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterOldUnixHead

I seem to remember that in the 1990s the Canadian government wanted a new name for one of its regions and when put to the public vote "Bob" was the overwhelming favourite.

Apr 20, 2016 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

@OldUnixHead: Jo Johnson is beyond the Pole?

Apr 20, 2016 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

How 'bout Graf Boaty McBoatface?

I don't get it. Just call the ship Boaty McBoatface and get on with life.

Apr 20, 2016 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

Gamecock, it doesn't matter what the ship is actually called now. They say there is no such thing as bad publicity, and this ship is more famous than the Titanic, before it was launched.

Apr 20, 2016 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

? Hook duly raised....

Apr 20, 2016 at 8:02 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

This is just another blatant attack from BigOil's heteropatriarchical war machine.

They won't succeed.

Apr 20, 2016 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAyla

Phil R:

Shippy McShipface.
That's one heck of a good spellchecker you have there, Phil!

Apr 20, 2016 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Goodness Ayla, your latest epistle is nearly indecipherable - you are nearing perfection..

The Delphic quotient is off the scale, so the methane seepage level must be set much too high.

What we can't fathom is why Popeye's girlfriend (Big Oyl) has weapons. Does heteopatriarchal refer to her two salty boyfriends?

We are adrift.

Apr 20, 2016 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

As a Nantucket biofuel heiress, Captain Ahab Oyl's daughter Olive probably got a lot of sailor's valentines.

Apr 20, 2016 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

NCC 1701E :

The vessels name shall be Empty McVoidface.

Apr 20, 2016 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

what happened with "the gravy boat" ??

Apr 20, 2016 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenuscold

Alan Kendall, I think Ayla was referring to the father of the splattered egg, which at the time of cartooning, had yet to be beaten up.

Apr 20, 2016 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"Just wait till the British public vote to leave the European Union.
Apr 20, 2016 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered Commenter Jam McSpid Face"

Then you can call me 'Gloaty McGloatFace'!

Apr 20, 2016 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

I think there may be some anti Scottish racism going on here. I must write to Nicola McFishface.

Apr 20, 2016 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMorrissey McSmiffFace

OK so after a few beers, some adolescents decided it would be a good laugh to do this.

But remember that the people who suggested public consultation to name the boat have now got their fingers badly burnt!

The next time it is suggested that the public be consulted or involved in any way, there will be a great reluctance to take a chance on the more immature elements of the public making them look stupid again.

I think this is a bad day for responsible adults with a valid point, who would like their views heard.

Just sayin'.

Apr 20, 2016 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil-M

Phil-M: in the more verbose days of Dickens, your comment could be boiled down to: "Bah! Humbug."

Apr 20, 2016 at 10:19 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Jo Johnson.
Boaty Boatson.
Floats your Goatson.

Apr 20, 2016 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

No matter what it's official name will be, I'll bet the crew will refer to it an "Boaty"!

Apr 20, 2016 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon


It's so pathetic, I think it's the masses ridiculing an increasingly patronising and authoritarian system.

Let's refer to the Climate Change Act as the Weather Abatement Act because that's as close to a democratic choice as you're likely to get.

Apr 20, 2016 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

The Natural Environment Research Council launched the campaign to whip up support for science. The public have shown contempt.

In recognition of his outstanding achievements in demonstrating contempt for science, the ship should be named RSS Stephan Lewandowsky.

Apr 20, 2016 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie

Exactly, pure contempt.

How about RSS Captain Cook (Skeptical Science)

Apr 20, 2016 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

'reluctance to take a chance on the more immature elements of the public making them look stupid again.'

That's the problem. It didn't make them look stupid. It's their reaction that made them look stupid. If they just named the boat what the people said to name it, there'd be no story.

Okay, maybe a little one.

Apr 20, 2016 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

golf Charlie. I am unable to follow your understanding of Ayla's latest script. I know not if you truly have understanding or if you've been at the sauce. I can make no sense of it, who is the eggy patronomic of whom you write?

Apr 20, 2016 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kendall

Smiffy! How dare you besmirch the name of one of my greatest heroes! The original Captain Cook was a man of honour and integrity and great courage – he was probably the first captain whose crew never suffered the effects of scurvy, and had a crew who were fiercely loyal, such that at least one committed suicide when he felt he had let the Captain down. How very different from the Cook that you wish to label the ship with.

Apr 20, 2016 at 11:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaddy McRodent

In UK government funded research establishments it is known as, RRS Grant Seeker. They see no other reason for its existence.

Apr 20, 2016 at 11:28 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Alan Kendall, it is vital that Ayla's encrypted messages from the planet Thaarg, are treated with true reverance, otherwise there is the risk of an inadvertent double glossectomy, which is always a risk for those who fall off a chair laughing with a forked tongue in both cheeks.

Apr 20, 2016 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

It's obviously daft to ask the public to name stuff like this.
Unless they get the option to name all the rest, like
military operations
police operations
great institutions

my vote would be to rename the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia
from CRU


C McCRU face

Apr 21, 2016 at 12:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

EternalOptimist, if you are going to rename CRU, it should become the Climate Research Unit Department, and then it's purpose and output would be more self explanatory.

Apr 21, 2016 at 12:25 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The Weather Astrology Unit.

Apr 21, 2016 at 12:35 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

“So you want a name that fits the gravity and the importance of the subjects that this boat is going to be doing science into,” he said, according to the magazine.

They got that, but they "were not amused". LOL

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

Raddy McRodent, by a bizarre coincidence, Captain Cook was also the first man to find the Cook Islands. Sadly, what he was eating between two slices of bread, when he found the Sandwich Islands, history does not relate.

Finding the fabled southern ocean continent, was only the second of Cook's mission objectives, the first had been to observe the 'Transit of Venus', a versatile, and well known local load shifter, thought to be useful in tracing the navigated routes of things that had fallen off the back of a lorry.

In the 1770s he had used a copy of John Harrisons chronometer to test and evaluate it, and had even volunteered to search for the North West Passage from the Pacific end, some 70ish years before Franklin's ill fated expedition.

Meanwhile, in the 21st century, failed cartoonist, John Cook is a top climate science expert, famous for bodging repairs to Mann made science.

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:16 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Cook isn't a failed cartoonist, he's just a philosopher who needs recaptioning.

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Golf Charlie, stoppit! My sides can't take much more of this thread!
For ever and a day, people will smirk when this ship heaves into view.

Apr 21, 2016 at 1:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterClunking Fist

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