Changing Rainbows

For many years schoolchildren have learned the mnemonic “Richard Of York Gave Battles In Vain” in order to learn the order of the colours of the rainbow. This gave rise to much confusion as to whether the G was for ‘Gave’ or ‘Gained’ which is also frequently used. The other aide-memoire, which I found more helpful, was to say that the rainbow was invented by a man named Roy G Biv.

All that may be about to change, however. Increasingly, the words indigo and violet have dropped out of common usage and replaced by the more catch-all term, purple. Under plans which are set to revealed by Michael Gove later this week, the national curriculum for young children is to be changed to reflect the more modern terminology.

The government’s position is backed by a MORI poll commissioned by the Liberal Democrat party. People were shown a series of colours and asked to identify them, followed by what they thought each symbolised. It is understood that the poll was initially commissioned as a way of researching how to rebrand the party in time for the next general election, when the party is expected to lose at a third of its seats including the Sheffield Hallam constituency of its leader [sic], Nick Clegg. However, the poll showed that the majority of people did not distinguish between indigo and violet. Instead, purple was, by virtue of Cadbury’s identified with chocolate.

An unnamed source within the Liberal Democrat party was quoted as saying, “Most people like chocolate, so it will be helpful for the party to be associated with something they like.” When it was pointed out that UKIP already use purple as one of their main colours, the Liberal Democrat noted that UKIP also incorporate yellow into their colour scheme, which the Liberal Democrats have no intention of using beyond 2014.

The planned move has not been without its critics, however. Many horticulturalists are adamant that indigo and violet are wholly different colours. A spokesman from the Royal Horticultural Society, Draco Romper, said, “Indigo and violent are from completely different ends of the spectrum. They are nothing alike.”

What other changes might this cause? I’m sure the makers of Parma Violets may be given cause for concern, though I don’t think Parma Purples sound too bad. If only they could make them taste nice.

As for the mnemonics, please feel free to post suggestions.

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