This morning on the Today programme there was a piece about the RSC and National Theatre stopping the sponsorship they receive from BP and Shell. The reason is because groups of children have written letters to both organisations saying that both companies continue to develop, dig up and generally endorse the use of fossil fuels. The children maintain that the world they inherit is in their hands and demand better from the adults.
There was a chap on the Today programme from the RSC. He was, obviously, defending the decision. The interviewer put forward the argument for the continued production of sponsorship money being that it helps pay for reduced ticket prices for the same children who, otherwise, wouldn’t be subjected to any of the Arts. (This debate is for another post.)
That was batted away by the RSC guy who said it was an initiative before BP sponsorship and that it would continue after BP. He cited other examples of arts organisations finding other sponsorship alternatives that could fill the fossil fuel gap.
The person who was arguing the other side was Matthew Parris. Matthew is a journalist and sometimes presenter on Radio 4. I have no idea what his credentials are for being the defender of the oil people but that was his position this morning. His argument was that because the chap from the RSC had probably taken a bus or a car or a diesel train to the studio he was clearly condoning the use of fossil fuels and, therefore, cutting off the cash cow teat was clearly hypocritical.
Meanwhile, in our extension, I was yelling at the radio “WHAT ABOUT TOBACCO? TALK ABOUT TOBACCO!” I might as well have been miles away from the studio for all the notice they took.
I remember back when the tobacco industry sponsored sporting events. The big Malborough McLaren F1 car racing around the tracks of the world looking like a big red and white packet of fags. I remember the Embassy World Snooker Championship where the players were flanked by numerous advertising hoardings imploring people to smoke – because smokers make better snooker players, I suppose. (I even remember the days when players would smoke and drink a pint while they played but that was a LONG time ago.)
Then, because tobacco is bad for people, the organisations who benefited from their largesse decided to stop it and find alternative advertising. Which they successfully did. Okay, the snooker is now generally sponsored by a bookmaker but gambling addiction is a bit different to something that could cause your lungs to stop working.
Now, even though people still smoke and tobacco products are still available for those that want them, all advertising, worldwide, has been banned. Which means, of course, that there is no longer any sponsorship money for any organisation. To use Matthew Parris’ argument, it would be very hypocritical for a smoker in F1 or snooker’s governing bodies to reject sponsorship money. And, in fact, anyone who is subjected to second hand smoke is obviously a hypocrite as well.
Of course, that’s stupid. Money at all costs can be very costly indeed.
The photographs in this post have absolutely nothing to do with the content. They are because I noticed how many flowers there are in the garden which is odd at this time of year. It’s like we’ve had a second flush of colour.
Mind you, if a late blooming garden is the result of climate change then maybe the photos do have something to do with the content.