Your latest wheeze is to seek commercial sponsorship for London Underground stations. I suppose that Sloane Square will be renamed to include Peter Jones, and Harrods and Harvey Nichols will fight it out over Knightsbridge. In the bunfight for Baker Street, Rank Hovis McDougall could well take the biscuit. Imagine Holland Park station blossoming with sponsorship from the Dutch Tourist Board, while Tesco makes Westminster a home of its own. And I do like the sound of Russell & Bromley Square, Old Holborn, B & Q Gardens, Basildon Bond Street and Angel Delight.
But why stop at Underground stations? Now that we are no longer citizens but customers, we ought to encourage commercial sponsorship in every aspect of our lives. We already have the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, the Cornhill Test Match and the Coca-Cola Cup. Even the time is sponsored by Accurist. So let's get a new, go-faster, wash-whiter grip on our unprofitable lives.
The NHS is on its uppers? No problem when we have the Guinness Health Care Programme (because "Guinness is good for you"). The Department of Transport is worried about finance for the new Severn Bridge? Well, here's the "7-11 Bridge" to the rescue. Drive on to Birmingham through "Heinz Spaghetti Junction" and pay homage to Port Sunlight, squeaky-clean home of Heritage sponsorship. If you break down on the way, hop on a "Chanel No 19" bus.
These suggestions are, of course, just the tip of an iceberg (sponsored by Fox's Glacier Mints). As we are all now customers of the United Kingdom, Pontins or Thomson will be delighted to sponsor our passports. And why should the space behind our heads in passport photo booths go to waste? Revlon, Lancome or Vidal Sassoon will fight to place their messages there.
The Queen's head (sponsored by Allied Breweries) could be chopped off deregulated postage-stamps, and instead of using these tiny advertising opportunities to promote weedy nonsense like National Nature Week, we could have "This Week's Special Offer at Safeway" in full colour instead. In a bid to save on school fees, our children might be sponsored by Mothercare, Ready Brek and Farley's Rusks, each toddler sporting a tag around its lucrative neck.
Parliament must not be closed to this brave new world of sponsorship, either. Some of the arcane job titles are ripe for rewording (Black Rod is just waiting to become Dyna-Rod), Madam Speaker's chair ought to be provided by an innovative furniture company, and the backs of MPs' order papers could carry a slogan, which would cost advertisers more during particularly vociferous debates when papers are likely to be waved more often.
All of these new sponsorship measures will, I hope, be announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, standing on the steps of Number 11 on Budget Day and, in traditional fashion, raising his briefcase for the cameras. This will be labelled "Sponsored by Samsonite".Reuse content