CHARLES GRAHAM - An idea to be scuppered straight away

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BY far the most interesting part of a trip to Edinburgh my family and I made a few years ago was a tour round the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Permanently moored in the city after being pensioned off, it manages to be intimate, impressive and of great historical value all at once.

We all know that the Queen was deeply upset by the loss of the ship, in fact some wryly observed she seemed to shed more tears for the craft than she has done for departed relatives.

But we all have sad partings to put up with during our lifetimes and it’s not like she’s short of a lift if she wants to get about.

Education Secretary Michael Gove, however, this week proposed that a £60m replacement be found for Britannia in this Her Majesty’s Jubilee year.

Perhaps he thought this a well-timed call as we all get caught up in the pomp and pageantry not only of patriotic fervour but also the Olympics. Perhaps he didn’t think £60m was a lot of money. But in all honesty I can’t think of a more ill-timed and tactless suggestion. When thousands of people are losing their jobs and millions are having to make all kinds of serious personal sacrifices, the idea of awarding the richest woman in Britain a new boat beggars belief.