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Winston Churchill cashes in on British vote

Would you rather be saving Winstons? On the eve of Adam Smith replacing Edward Elgar on the new £20 note, a poll on behalf of Virgin Money shows that three-quarters of us have no idea who Adam Smith is - or what the Scottish economist's achievements in the dismal science were. Britons have instead called for classic British icons Winston Churchill and Emmeline Pankhurst to be immortalised on our money.

One in ten Brits believe Smith, 'the father of economics' who will appear on notes from 13 March, was a politician and 15% think he was an artist. Some more bizarre guesses on Smith's claim to fame included that he was a footballer, a landscape gardener or 'brother of John Smith - the beer maker'.

Britain's greatest statesman, orator and Second World War leader Winston Churchill won more than 52% of the vote, comfortably topping the male list. He swept the board, beating other much-respected greats including Stephen Hawking8%, John Lennon7% and Spike Milligan 7%.

Churchill of course had a great understanding of the value of financial planning, "Saving is a fine thing. Especially when your parents have done it for you." Milligan took the more existentialist view, "Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery."

First in the female list was Emmeline Pankhurst26%, who led the movement to win the right for women to vote and would no doubt welcome the current Equalities Review. She topped the list of females finishing just ahead of Diana, Princess of Wales 23%, with Jane Austen 12%, Margaret Thatcher 11% and Beatrix Potter 9% also polling highly.

The Governor of the Bank of England makes the final decision on who appears on new banknotes. The Bank has celebrated the lives of eminent British personalities on the back of bank notes since 1970. A spokesman for the bank said,"It is usual practice to consider a number of probable candidates all of whom have been selected because of their indisputable contribution to their particular field of work and about whom there exists sufficient material on which to base a banknote design."

Older heads may remember the last pound note on which Newton appeared - it was known by many colloquially as an Isaac. When it was replaced by the Thatcher government by the pound coin, the latter was nicknamed a Maggie - Mrs Thatcher as she then was did not appear on the coin but the nickname was said by wags to be because the coin was "thick, brassy and thinks its a sovereign". Further back in time, in the 1970s, some may recall the diplomatic triumph of putting the Duke of Wellington and a depiction of the battle of Waterloo on the £5 note just as the UK joined what was then the European Economic Community.

Moneyextra.com recommends you take independent financial advice before acting on any article

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2007-03-13 09:31:15 © Moneyextra.com

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