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Don't be Stroked by name change.

Byline: Maurice Fitzmaurice

I KNOW how to solve that age-old dilemma over Derry/Londonderry once and for all. RenameLondon.

I firmly believe it would be a lot less hassle.

Forcing nine million people to learn a new name for their city would be less torturous than the never-ending debate about our Maiden City, population 80,000.

Not a lot of people know this, but both Derry and London have Celtic roots. Derry means "oak grove" while London derives from the Celtic word meaning "shadowy waters".

So it's almost natural that the cities should find themselves partners in a forced marriage.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter what what Derry/Londonderry is called.

People who want to call it Derry will call it Der ry and people who prefer Londonderry call it Londonderry - especially when they're interviewed on radio.

Do you think either side will stop just because the officials rename it?

All the equality impact assessments in the world won't alter the fact people will call Stroke City whatever the hell they want. An idea that would probably cost the same as an equality impact assessment might be to change a few road signs to reflect the fact there are two views on the Maiden City's name.

At the very least, think of all the money saved not having to clean off the spray paint that covers the London part of the name on roads near nationalist towns. The Sinn Fein Minister for Road Signs would hardly object and at least it would reflect both sides of the argument. But changing the name from one to the other is simply going to annoy one raft of people.

Surely a touch more imagination is available in this place to deal with the legacy of a past where we can't even agree on a placename.

I'm sure London Mayor Boris Johnson would see the big picture here and help solve one of the world's longest running problems by renaming London.

I'll tell you what Boris, I'll even supply the spray paint.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 30, 2009
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