Anyone who’s ever studied old maps of the world will remember the phrase that would crop up at random points. Here there be dragons. It was typically used to cover up for the mapmaker’s ignorance of the area so listed, or to discourage readers from visiting there.
Now it seems the phrase is set to make a comeback in British atlases. New government-approved post-Brexit atlases will be including the phrase “here there be dragons” a lot. The phrase will initially be listed over every single EU country, and if the move proves popular, added to every single country in the world except the United Kingdom.
Boris Johnson announced the move at a press conference last night, couched as usual in Latin and Greek metaphors, which was more than a little ironic as both Italy and Greece are to be listed on the new maps as containing dragons.
Critics of the scheme fear the move could further shore up the established undercurrents of xenophobia in the country and turn us even more into the North Korea of the western world, and Boris Johnson’s speech did nothing to allay those fears.
“Let me be absolutely clear,” he began, before launching into the usual unintelligible tirade, eventually concluding, “and that is why we need patriotic British maps for British people, boo sucks to you Johnny Foreigner, these are our maps and we can say what we like about your pathetic little countries in them.”
Meanwhile, to nobody’s surprise, Nigel Farage was quick to shout his support for the plan. “Absolutely – every other country in the world is just full of dragons, except us plucky British Lions,” he told LCD Views just now. Nobody asked him to, he just shouted it at us from outside – oh well, at least he’s not getting into the building any more.
With the impending breakup of the United Kingdom still a major possibility, there are already a couple of revisions pencilled in for future editions. Scotland will be represented with the phrase “here there be Sturgeons”, and the regular dragons line will also be applied to Wales if they too break away. Ironically the Welsh are a little irked at the lack of dragon references to them in the atlases given that their flag boasts an impressive red dragon.
The first editions of the new atlases are expected to be in bookshops by Easter.