Saturday, 5 February 2011

A Wodehouse inspired idea to raise money to support libraries

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Stuff and Nonsense by Amy Cockram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

After my last post on saving libraries, I have just had an idea.

I have recently listened to a podcast reading of P.G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves and the Hard-Boiled Egg." In this story, Bertie is in New York and is visited by a friend in dire financial need, Bicky. Bicky is reliant on an allowance from a miserly uncle, the Duke of Chiswick, and he is facing the withdrawal of his funds. Jeeves comes up with the idea of charging a group of luminaries from Birdsburg for the chance to shake hands with a genuine Duke.

This, combined with my idea in the last post that I would rather money be spent on libraries rather than the civil list, has given me an idea. One of the primary justifications for the existence of the monarchy in this country is the revenue from tourism. Why not take it further? If people visit London to see Buckingham Palace or to see the Changing of the Guard, maybe we could also offer them the chance to meet or shake hands with a minor royal for a fee (becoming more expensive, the closer in line to the throne)? The income from this could either be used to replace the civil list and become self-supporting, or else this income could be diverted to support other aspects of British culture (such as libraries).

In P.G. Wodehouse's story Jeeves' idea is not a success, but I think that this could work. I might now have to try and come up with other solutions inspired by great works of literature....

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