In some ways, the idea of a Royal Yacht is an effective metaphor for Britain. We have all but given up on the Royal Navy, once a symbol of British innovation, adventurousness and power, but we might invest in a Royal Yacht: a pretty, quaint and rather pointless little plaything for the rich.
I will give Boris Johnson a little credit for suggesting that it could be funded by donors and not the state. But, regardless, this could be the clearest case of what I call poundshop patriotism: a nationalist attitude that is less concerned with the health of our institutions that with little novelties: a Royal Yacht; a Blue passport; a poppy that demands and signifies less than a handkerchief. It might play well with the papers but it’s useless.