My perfect national motto | Matthew Parris
“Let us not climb up our own bottoms.”
An MP and archetypal young thruster of a Government minister, Liam Byrne, had recently bewailed what he called the West Midlands' “malaise of modesty”. Modesty a malaise! How very new Labour. A pleasantly low-key attitude to themselves is one of the great assets of West Midlanders. So I suggested a new motto for Birmingham, which the audience seemed to like.
Philip Howard, the classicist of The Times, has helped me to translate it into Latin, and the five-word motto would be splendid, in fact, for Britain itself - except that it undermines the whole Brownite constitutional project.