How would we feel if Big Ben were permanently transplanted to Athens?
By Sarah Baxter
An occupying army has laid waste to London and the houses of parliament lie in ruins. The clock tower and Big Ben still stand, but the façade is crumbling and the great bell no longer chimes. The ambassador of another foreign power offers to cart off some of the rubble to his own country, and the insouciant occupier signs a loosely worded bill of assent. The next thing you know, nearly the whole clock and bell are removed abroad, never to return.
Years later, England’s national pride is restored. We want Big Ben back. But no! It belongs to another nation now and we are constantly chided by its subjects for being unworthy of its keep.