The Third Leader: Bean counting

Share

Significant news: there's not an awful lot of coffee in Brazil. Nor anywhere else, for that matter. Poor growing conditions last year have severely affected production. Prices are set to soar this month. Now you might think this a minor matter, compared to, say, the price of oil. We in The Third Leader department say: think again.

Significant news: there's not an awful lot of coffee in Brazil. Nor anywhere else, for that matter. Poor growing conditions last year have severely affected production. Prices are set to soar this month. Now you might think this a minor matter, compared to, say, the price of oil. We in The Third Leader department say: think again.

For this, as I'm sure you've noticed, particularly if you're from the West Midlands, is the post-industrial society; and the post-industrial society runs on coffee, not oil. Summon up an image of Tony Blair, for example, in relaxed, trust-me, shirt-sleeved mode: what's that in his hand? Exactly. Alexander Pope had it right: "Coffee, which makes the politician wise."

Tony Blair's mug is as much a prop as Harold Wilson's pipe, Margaret Thatcher's handbag, or John Major's underwear arrangements. At election time, though, association with a big price-hike could be highly counter-productive.

Solution? Well, tea needs a boost, but the cuppa is rather Old Labour, folksy, rather, well, Bennite, isn't it? No, we suggest a substitute which would be fashionably retro with edgily stylish connotations: snuff. A perfect prop, allowing both the easy expression of disdain and time to think, once you've conquered the involuntary sneezing.

Let's not ignore the potential problems for the country's coffee houses, leading feature of both our pre- and post-industrial societies, with the difference that people used to tarry and talk in the old ones, while we tend to get out fast before they force us on to one of those stools. Still, they could always stop serving coffee and just charge for the mental stimulation of all those multiple choice questions.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Read Next
An image grab of journalist John Cantlie taken from a video released by the Islamic State (IS) group through Al-Furqan Media via YouTube  

John Cantlie: He was caught while going back to see the fighters who freed him

Kim Sengupta
Isis fighters celebrate in Syria’s northern Raqqa province in June after capturing territory in neighbouring  

Islamic State: ‘The world cares nothing’ for Syrian city under Isis siege

Patrick cockburn
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week