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Politicians always think the same way. If only we could get through to the kids via a role model, they think. And sometimes, of course, it works; the right athlete on the right promotion, as long as they’re not too horribly stilted in the adverts and/or aren’t later discovered mainlining monkey testosterone, can significantly boost awareness of a product or a campaign and instil in some underprivileged kids the idea that they really can one day get the hell out of their shitty part of town.

Too often, however, the kind of campaign they envisage has the potential to be paralysingly embarrassing. To that end, who would be the most unlikely celebrity to star in the kind of campaign Earl Howe has in mind? I’ll start the ball rolling with 50 Cent, mainly because at this point in the noble Earl’s speech I suddenly imagined Fiddy riding around on a tiny circus-bear trick bike, and it’s a hard image to shift.
Earl Howe: There is an inherent problem with cycling: it is not exactly cool. It will probably not be seen as cool until we have role models who promote it in a way that resonates with those disadvantaged groups in society who most need to get on their bikes. At the moment being on a bike is an image associated with white middle class men, like my honourable friend Mr Boris Johnson. Far be it from me to suggest that Boris is not cool, but if you live on a council estate and have not been brought up to take much exercise—and you have nowhere to store your bike, even if you were to get one—it will take more than his example to encourage you to start pedalling. At the moment it is the relatively affluent and educated sections of society who cycle, and we need to get the message to those at the opposite end of the social spectrum.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 3rd, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC)
Perhaps Lenny Henry could, you know as he's, well, you know. Lenny Henry? No?
Apr. 3rd, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC)
Kerry Catona.
Apr. 3rd, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC)
Drunk Kerry Catona.
Apr. 3rd, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)
Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

Tim Westwood
Apr. 3rd, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
Tim Westwood's DAD!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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