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Saturday, February 3rd 2007

1:53 PM

Can you picture James Bond in HULL?

First we get a marina full of shiny new yachts.

Then comes a very dramatic-looking building with a big pool full of sharks.

Now we are about to have a Government-approved large casino (somewhere between a super and a small if you're still struggling to get your head around the concept) on our doorstep.

Of course, this can only mean one thing - our dear old pals at Hull City Council are set to launch an audacious bid to host the next James Bond movie.

I can almost picture the scene in a nouveau trendy smoke-free room in the Guildhall.

"Forget Thunderball, what about Humberball? We could get John Godber to writethe screenplay and Joe Longthorne to sing the theme tune. It's bound to be a vote-winner," declares council leader Carl Minns.

"But what about the £25m shortfall?" asks a brave Lib Dem backbencher.

"No problem," continues Cllr Minns, "If we put the price of ice creams up at the New Theatre by another £1.50p, we will easily bridge the gap and still be able to afford a decent special effects budget."

"But what about the plot?" asks another backbencher.

"We could have James Bond quitting M15 to join us delivering Focus leaflets in the Drypool ward in the run-up to polling day," suggests Cllr Dave McCobb, the party's resident election boffin.

"Excellent idea!" declares Cllr Minns, stroking a fluffy white cat and laughing manically.

"With Bond on our side, we will smash Labour and rule the world. Ha, ha!"

"So, who gets to play Bond?" asks another voice at the back.

Suddenly, the cabinet portfolio holder for economy, regeneration and planning steps into the spotlight, clutching a cappuccino shaken, but not stirred.

"Thanks to my common sense and pragmatic route at the second stage - linking a casino licence bid to a wider city centre regeneration development - I vastly increased the appeal and the position of Hull's bid.

"And as the rationale to link a casino-driven investment to a broader development, enticing the private sector to help us finance the development of facilities that we clearly lack and ought to have in a city of our size was clearly mine.

"I think the question has already been answered. The name's Sloan, Andy Sloan."
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