The Third Leader: Brand values

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Sympathy for our governors is rarely fashionable, but sometimes you do have to fight it. De Gaulle pondered on the difficulties of running a country with 265 kinds of cheese; now, I see, our Prime Minister has to contend with a nation whose top 20 favourite brands include Aston Martin, eBay, Tate Modern and Virgin Atlantic.

It's possible to conclude from the appearance of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Ducati as well that Aston Martin's pole position is the result of a combination of patriotism, aspiration and admiration for speed achieved with elegance and excellent engineering. But, no: according to Superbrands, the survey organisers, it's because Daniel Craig drove one in the last James Bond movie.

So, many of us want to be spies. This, besides demonstrating the difficulties also facing Shami Chakrabarti, seems a difficult one to deliver. Fortunately for Mr Brown, the listings for Nintendo, iPod, PlayStation, iTunes, YouTube, Bang & Olufsen and Agent Provocateur indicate that a lot of people won't be paying much attention.

All the same, given our reputation for gentle humour, discernment, warmth and a hefty measure of eccentricity, I'm disappointed to see no place for Pot Noodle, Fisherman's Friend, Vimto, Victory V, Cif, Bartons Pickle, easyJet, Eno's Fruit Salt or New Labour.

And, I hardly need add, should you be looking for a brand name which shuns the assertive brashness of the top 20 in favour of an understated authority, old-fashioned elegance, disproportionate influence, and remarkable modesty considering all that, raise your eyes now to the larger type just above. Thank you.