Good morning as the sun rises on a bold new dawn for Britain's currency. Today we right the wrong of decimal currency, introduced 50 years ago, and revert to proper coinage using traditional numbers.
Undecimalisation Day is here, restoring the shilling to its rightful place and inspiring pride in a shopkeeping nation.
The Chancellor didn't announce this up front, obviously, because whingeing woke millennials would only have complained. Instead he's taken advantage of the pandemic and introduced the change overnight as a fait accompli. Given that hardly anybody is using cash at present and everything's gone contactless instead, 2021 is the perfect time to turn back the clock.
Before the travesty of decimalisation on 15th February 1971 Britain's currency was a simple matter of 240 pence or 20 shillings to the pound. Today we bring back a proud denomination with a long and glorious history, and restore mental arithmetic to its rightful place in the curriculum. No longer will Europe dictate the coins in our pocket as common sense takes back control.
One pound will now consist of 20 shillings rather than 100 pence. The official symbol of the shilling will once again be the slash-hyphen (/-) or the solidus (s) depending on context. For example one liquorice bootlace will now cost 3/-, a single Creme Egg 10/- and your copy of the Daily Express 13/-. Meanwhile an Arctic Roll now sells for £2 4s, your black and white TV Licence costs £53 10s and a refreshing cup of Nescafe Gold Blend from your local coffee bar can be had for just £1 19s.
To convert from previously new money to newly old money simply divide the number of old new pence by five. You'll soon get the hang of it. If you're under 55 your parents and grandparents coped perfectly well with the reverse change in 1971, and if you're over 55 it'll all come flooding back.
The new 10 shilling coin is already in circulation because we cunningly introduced it under the guise of a Brexit commemorative last year. The design never specified '50', merely displayed an uplifting date and phrase, so we can now all shift to imagining it represents ten shillings instead. For those who refuse to pay with a pro-Brexit coin a ten shilling note will be made available, which we hope will prove unwieldy, fragile and impractical to use.
Updated versions of the crown, the florin and the shilling have been minted and will start appearing in your small change from today.
The crown, or five shillings in old money to you guv'nor, features the Union Flag reimagined as a heart to signify our patriotic pride. The denomination has been written in Roman numerals as a nod to the one European invasion we all feel comfortable with. The new coin should be readily counterfeitable - a specific request from some of our key party donors - and has been specially designed to be the right size to unlock supermarket trolleys.
The florin depicts a nice pot of tea. Our focus groups chose this image just ahead of a fishing trawler, a cute little pug and a two-fingered salute. The denomination has been written in Comic Sans as a further nod to middle-of-the-road aesthetics.
The shilling has gone all bling since you last saw one. The previous design has been updated with an evocative red, white and blue background - a colourful change which requires that the coin now be made from plastic. The iconic Gillick portrait of the Queen's head from 1953 has been reused as a reminder of our nation's greatest era.
This morning all schoolchildren will receive a special commemorative pack of the new coinage to help indoctrinate them into the new system, and for them to flog on eBay in ten years time when they become collector's items. Please note that this offer is only available to schoolchildren attending today in person and that existing half term dates are non-transferable.
The current 20p coin has been withdrawn overnight as it represents four shillings and this is not a retrospective value. Meanwhile 10p and 50p coins will remain legal tender until one week after the pubs reopen as part of a cunning plan to turbocharge the hospitality industry.
Please note that smaller denominations of coinage are not being revived due to the escalating cost of living. The scourge of inflation under previous Labour governments has made our farthings and thruppeny bits obsolete, much as we'd have loved to weigh you down with handfuls of nostalgic small change.
All previous decimal prices have therefore been recalculated to the nearest 5p, which should be a perfectly practical subdivision going forward. Rest assured that shops and businesses have been urged to round up to the nearest shilling in all circumstances, thereby giving Britain's hard-working entrepreneurs a welcome inflationary boost.
Pound coins have also been withdrawn overnight due to the return of the much-loved pound note. These are still at the printers, sorry, thanks to an ongoing debate about which Great Briton should grace the reverse of the design. The banknote's postponement may cause issues with everyday purchases, not to mention vending machines, but contactless cards and apps can of course continue to be used by all.
Winston Churchill will be making a long-awaited return to the £5 note, while it's a toss-up between Dame Vera Lynn and Sir Tom Moore for the tenner. The twenty-pound note is to be sponsored by the highest bidding global multinational corporation. Meanwhile the £50 will display a portrait of the current Prime Minister, and definitely not Alan Turing because that was a disturbingly woke idea which needed stopping in its tracks.
Any obsolete decimal coins in your possession can be donated to one of a select group of charities promoting British Values, including HM Treasury, Wetherspoons and the Daily Telegraph. The Royal British Legion kindly requests that you do not hang onto your old coppers until November in lieu of payment for a poppy. At a later date we intend to reintroduce the half-crown, the groat and the guinea, but not just yet as we don't want to overwhelm the system on day one.
Those of you who make all your purchases online should see no immediate difference, other than prices being written in a denomination you no longer readily understand. We've been working with e-commerce sites behind the scenes for several weeks to introduce the new post-decimal system and expect the changeover to have occurred seamlessly.
Those of you who use contactless or phone apps won't even notice. You're so used to waving through every transaction that it won't matter these are now being described and calculated in a completely different format. Indeed this is all part of the government's long term strategy to encourage the general population to swipe and go for every purchase because this allows businesses to charge whatever they like without anyone noticing until the payment's gone through.
A leaflet explaining today's shift to undecimal currency is winging its way to you via the Royal Mail so should arrive halfway through March. In the meantime celebrate with us the reintroduction of a Great British cultural tradition as we finally end half a century of needless counting in tens.