In these days of enforced budget cuts and national austerity, any idea for raising additional cash for government departments is welcome. One intriguing possibility was raised by the Conservative MP for Portsmouth North, Penny Mordaunt, in a Commons debate yesterday on the allocation of departmental budgets. She questioned the principle that departments and public sector bodies should be able to supplement their income without losing taxpayer funding, and had an unconventional example to illustrate her point:
A second scenario might see a Department creating an income-generating activity that failed to deliver value for money or came at the expense of the statutory service that that Department was charged with carrying out. I will give the House a quick example from real life, not "Yes Minister", although it could well have been used for that. When I was a director of Kensington and Chelsea council, I discovered that one of our local hospitals was hiring out one of its closed, but fully equipped, wards to a film company to use as a film set. To add insult to injury, the movie was a pornographic one. Although I cannot claim to have seen the final picture, as I understand that these things are no longer claimable on parliamentary expenses, it was a big-budget affair and it generated substantial income for the hospital-but apart from cheering up a few of the in-patients, it could not be said to be contributing to the objectives of the primary care trust.
I don't really understand Ms Mordaunt's criticism. It doesn't appear that the "fully equipped" ward was needed for patient care, in which case it was lying idle and was a drain on resources. So its utilisation in another capacity strikes me as very much contributing to the objectives of the PCT - the money raised was presumably spent on better healthcare for patients. It sounds like an excellent idea, and it's nice to know that there is (or was) sufficient money in the British porn industry to make big-budget films and, indeed, to pay top price for the use of locations.
There must be many opportunities for such creative use of resources. Perhaps it would create political controversy if under-used schoolrooms were hired out to makers of corporal punishment videos, but what of all our courtrooms or, for that matter, prisons? The Palace of Westminster itself - no stranger to sexual hi-jinks - would make an excellent venue. Indeed, one enterprising former Labour MP, Nigel Griffiths, starred in his own impromptu Commons set photostory last year (though was admittedly unaware that his antics were being recorded by the News of the World).
Indeed, Government and the porn industry already have much in common: they're both based on screwing people for money, after all.
But which was the hospital, and what was the film? According to the BBC report (which quickly went viral) the incident referred to must have happened before the present health trust was formed in 2002. Nicholas Cecil of the Standard, moreover, has "established" that the location was St Charles Hospital in Ladbroke Grove. But I'm most indebted to "Paddy the Greek" commenting on the Standard article, who thinks that the film may have been Pirate Deluxe: Xtreme desires, directed by the pioneering female pornographer (and fetish specialist) Tanya Hyde. It was originally produced in 1998, which fits. I've no proof, but I did find the following synopsis of the production, which starred Monique Covet, Silvia Saint and Laura Angel:
Already an icon on the busy British fetish scene, newly acquired Tanya Hyde proved a timely shot in the arm for the Private porn emporium with this inaugural effort for their Pirate Deluxe line.... The first of several high voltage fetish features Hyde bestowed upon the company before she took wing with her own Harmony Concepts label, XTREME DESIRES provides half a dozen vignettes of varying intensity, albeit usually on the high end of the scales, highlighted by the director's imagination and ingenuity, which in turn seems to have inspired the female cast to perform well above and beyond the call of duty....
"Doctors" finds beautiful bespectacled nurse Silvia Saint pleasuring patient Laura Angel, in stir-ups for easy access, until medics Kevin Long and Tony De Sergio (the notorious British bisexual performer billed as "Jay Alexander" on gay projects) join in the fun.... Revisiting medical territory, "Nurses" has French John B. Root discovery Fovéa and the returning Mona resplendent in latex nun's habits, exchanging less than pious glances over supine patient Frank Major's bandaged physique, then draining his vital fluids with doc Mike Foster providing an additional appendage before death bells solemnly and irrevocably ring out.
I've omitted descriptions of the non-hospital related scenes, but the full information can be found here. And here's the rather explicit back-cover photo. You have been warned.