Go against the grain and cash in by countering the latest faddery

So it’s back to Belgian bacon and eggs! Or it would be if I didn’t believe in buying British. Over the years, I’ve chomped my way through Chernobyl lamb, listeria cheese, salmonella egg and BSE beef as one ridiculous food scare has followed another. I would now be eating GM foods if, for once in the march of food faddery, I did not believe, along with Prince Charles, that legitimate questions are to be asked about the effects of speeding up genetic modification and, more especially, of transporting genes across species.

So it’s back to Belgian bacon and eggs! Or it would be if I didn’t

believe in buying British. Over the years, I’ve chomped my way through

Chernobyl lamb, listeria cheese, salmonella egg and BSE beef as one

ridiculous food scare has followed another. I would now be eating GM

foods if, for once in the march of food faddery, I did not believe,

along with Prince Charles, that legitimate questions are to be asked

about the effects of speeding up genetic modification and, more

especially, of transporting genes across species.



There is much to be said for a counter-cyclical approach to life. It has

tremendous PR potential in an ageing country and developed world where

pensioners will start to outnumber the under-16s from about 2008. Older

folk view all this food hysteria, not to mention whatever became of Cool

Britannia, with amused contempt. What’s more, many of them have a lot to

spend. I came across ordinary pensioners on a recent cruise who were

simply out to enjoy their money before the Grim Reaper, the inheritance

taxman, got his filthy hands on it since, they said, their children

didn’t need it. Shrewd PROs these days might usefully sniff the

fashionable wind and point their campaign in the opposite direction.



Take BA. It wasn’t just that old girl, Margaret Thatcher, who wrinkled

her nose - and hankie - at its ethnic and abstract tailfin designs,

swapping a patriotic gilt-edged livery for a gimmick allegedly to appear

more global.



BA just made itself look daft - and ignored the domestic 40 per cent of

its market who take some pride in the flag.



Then there is Amanda Platell, Tory communications director, telling

Conservatives to get out of pin- and chalk-stripes into the sharp suits

in which Labour routinely demonstrates its contempt for Parliament.

There has never been a more undemocratic post-war Government than this.

Clothes do not maketh the man - well, not political ones, though a

certain tidiness is to be desired. The Tories these days clearly dig up

their PROs from the same place as Labour - the Daily Mirror - since

Alastair Campbell took the view that presentation mattered as much as

missiles in the Balkans by intervening to beef up NATO

communications.



Which finally brings me to Lord Tim Bell, who has been engaged by the

Tories to bring some order, not least presentationally, to

Euroscepticism.



It sounds a splendid idea, given their anarchic tendencies. But what’s

the point? The euro is sinking, the Europhile politicians panicking -

witness the Cologne summit where they just thrashed around on their

single currency - and British public opinion is becoming ever more

anti-euro.



Counter-cyclical PR requires Lord Bell to do nothing. If I were you,

Tim, I’d sit tight, and just take the credit.



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