Shush a minute

If ever there was a time for the sentence “If ever there was a time for a country-wide poster campaign promoting discretion and lip-buttoning”, then that time is now.

The practice of shutting up and keeping schtum used to be a national discipline. There must be dozens of poster prints, or at least stencil sets, gathering dust in a warehouse on the edge of a town somewhere that could easily be pressed back into service.

With 25 million bits of personal identification floating around and nobody quite sure who knows what about whom, some co-ordinated tongue-holding is clearly in order.

Bob Hoskins could front the campaign, in the guise of jovial Detective Inspector Ivor Difficulty (D.I. I.D. – do you see?), accompanied by David Mitchell as his sidekick PC Ben E. Fitz. The pair would journey around the country on the back of a flatbed truck, acting out skits and being interviewed – in character – on local news bulletins.

Jimmy Young, Joan Shenton and Rolf Harris would host a special telethon to raise money for the appointment of an Information Commissioner in every political constituency, operating out of small customised cubicles in shopping precincts.

Peter Kay could dress up as a giant child benefit form (anything to rob the man of some more dignity), and Danny Baker could do a few radio public information broadcasts.

Finally Simon Bates could organise a awareness-raising walk (plus accompanying charity single) from Tyne and Wear to London, along the route those two missing computer discs should have taken, hosting his Classic FM breakfast show from a different local council drop-in advice centre each morning.

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