A small puff for a great sponsor

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The Independent Online
AT A time when the press is increasingly under attack from all quarters, I am glad to announce today that the future of this column has been assured by a most magnificent act of sponsorship. I believe this is the first time a column has been sponsored, and I am proud to be associated with the company that has made this possible.

Light up a Thatcher] The cigarette that's really kind to the environment. Say to yourself: I am now entering Thatcher country. I am smoking for the world.

It needs to be stressed that the independence of this column will in no way be compromised by sponsorship by a commercial company. There is no way in which, for instance, we would condescend to mention the product or incorporate any form of advertising for it. The agreement expressly stresses that all monies accruing from the sponsorship shall be used for future investment in a Kington Foundation and not in any way for the personal enrichment of myself.

In these international days, why not switch to Thatcher, the internationally minded cigarette that gets everywhere? You'll find Thatcher in the House of Lords, Washington, Paris, everywhere - even Brussels] Thatcher: something British that all the world recognises]

The tobacco industry has increasingly come under fire recently for its involvement in, well, smoking, but if there is one thing that this column has noticed over the years, it is that the worse the image an industry has, the cleaner the objects it tries to associate itself with. What could be more malodorous than the tobacco industry? What more fresh and innocent than this column? The partnership could have been made in heaven.

Light up a Thatcher and feel it working. If your voice doesn't sink an octave over the years into a slinky, persuasive sort of contralto (that's bass/baritone if you're a man), you get your money back. Can we say fairer than that?

But just in case there should be any reader resistance, let me stress that the sponsorship money won't vanish into some unstewarded pension fund or inexplicable expenses sheet. It will ALL be used for geopolitical research. What is geopolitics? I am glad you asked me that. Geopolitics is a new, politically correct, environmentally sensitive discipline that takes a good hard look at the interdependent world we live in and asks such questions as:

Why do big tobacco companies need such high-profile PR?

Does it take anyone in?

Doctor, why am I coughing so much in the mornings?

Hi, there] Have you tried a Thatcher yet? Try one today - we think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the way it gets everyone's attention within earshot and then clears the room instantaneously.

Research shows that even those who are offended at first by sponsorship soon get used to the idea, and that for every person who objects to 'Cornhill' being painted in the outfield just in front of the TV cameras, 20 have ceased to see it and 20 more actually quite like it. So if at first you find the Thatcher logo on this column obtrusive, stay with it] We think you may come to like it.

Stressed? Uptight? Can't take any more today? Whisper the words 'Time for a Thatcher' to yourself. You'll be surprised at the difference it makes.

'Is there anything I, as a reader, can do to help to make this sponsorship deal really deep and meaningful?' That is the question I want you to ask. I am glad you asked that question. Yes, there is something you can do - and indeed have to do, under the terms of the deal - and that is to wear a Thatcher T- shirt at all times, and especially when reading this column. We now have a full supply in, so simply send off a blank cheque and tick the slogan that you would like to have on your manly, or womanly, chest.

'Accept something else rather than Thatcher? Not federal likely]'

'No smoke without noise.'

'From No 10 - to No 1]'

'Thatcher - it's bigger than Europe.'

'It's queen-size - it's a


'The lady's for burning.'

'Thatcher. An idea for the Eighties - and a name for the Nineties.'

'Who would want to put a Thatcher out?'

'Thatcher leads while others drift off to the pub and don't come back.'

'Listen to me when I'm talking to you]'

This column is Thatcher- driven.