A PR firm, charged with improving Gordon Brown's public image in time for the next general election, has proposed to make him more "assassinatable".
ProScope Media, which represents the successful hate figures Simon Cowell and Peaches Geldoff, has recommended that the prime minister work harder to antagonise demographics with proven track records in political murder, including Islamic terrorists, anarchists and ambidextrous American actors of the 19th century.
Brown has a lot of work to do: the Killodex, a biannual league table of the world's top 50 candidates for assassination, currently features him at number 44. This is the weakest showing by a British premier in the publication's history, and bookmakers are offering 4-1 odds that the next instalment, due in April, will see him slip from the rankings altogether.
A recent Al Jazeera poll of nearly 1000 Mujahideen found that 73% of respondents either failed to identify Brown or mistook him for the American writer Susan Sontag, who is at number 36 in the table, despite having died in 2004.
According to Lee Hammerstein, a researcher for the Killodex, "Gordon Brown is just too dour to appeal to international assassins. He doesn't have the knack for exciting people that Tony Blair had, for better or worse." (Blair peaked at two in the table, during the run up to the invasion of Iraq.)
"Another thing is that he's a slow-moving target. The fashion for the modern assassin is to use a sniper rifle or bomb, and that's just no challenge with someone who moves as slowly as Brown. It'd be like shooting an elephant in a milk float."
Although the reasoning behind the proposed strategy is still unclear, there is an implication that it is intended to generate sympathy for the embattled prime minister. A junior member of the consultancy team is reported as saying that "if there was an attempt on his life it'd be good if he can sustain an injury of some kind. Go for a Reagan-type deal...is it possible to get the guy who shot him?"