Trying to do my blogger's duty and following up on David Blunkett's claims about Radio 4's The Food Programme, where His Lordship said that the programme had “lost its connection with the ordinary cook” by focusing on the “interests of those making the programme, rather than those of the wider public,” I listened to last week's edition...
...at least for as long as I could stand it.
It marked the moment when the winners of the BBC Food and Farming Awards 2021 were announced at a ceremony at London's Broadcasting House.
I made notes, but soon realised it was pointless. The agenda was openly stated. The programme was selecting winners who would be ''models for others'' [their words].
Social responsibility, BBC-style, was one key factor. The other was helping radically transform the means of food production in favour of things like farming cooperatives, organic farming, sustainability, local-sourcing - and lowering the amount of meat-eating.
For a 'food' programme it was strikingly 'political'.
A classic line from presenter Sheila Dillon came when one prize went to a small-scale, local-focused butcher who wants us all to each smaller amounts of meat: ''We [the judges] concluded that meat is such a controversial thing right now, but if you're going to eat meat this is the way you should do it''.
There's quite a lot of agenda in that one sentence.
This very blog has plenty more on this, including Sheila Dillon declaring that a previous set of BBC awards was about "changing the culture" and Sheila Dillon on a 'Wild Boar' Christmas special suggesting that wild boar "does seem to embody a kind of masculinity that seems kind of old-fashioned". And more goodies besides.
UPDATE, 29/11: And here's Lord Blunkett again, expanding on his criticism of the programme in the Daily Mail:
Every aspect of the station now seems obsessed with preaching at me. Even The Food Programme devotes most of its slot to criticising British tastebuds for being too staid and monocultural. If Radio 4 thinks that the very food on my plate must be co-opted into the culture wars, I almost wonder why I bother switching on at all. Increasingly, when I do, the station gives me another reason to grumble.