Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Sun Sets On Scrotum Burgers?

Jamie Oliver's series on school meals seems to have had more impact than any programme since Cathy Come Home. The Government's provision of a limited amount of more money is welcome.
But there's an elephant in the room that almost nobody is mentioning. It's the profits being made from school dinners by the private companies that are contracted to supply them. It's profit margins that have been a major factor in driving down quality and serving what Jamie memorably called 'scrotum burgers', by which I don't think he meant a kind of nut cutlet. If only the Government would accept that there are areas of life like health and education that should be ring-fenced from the market and the profit motive.
And why can't the Government be honest and say that they're responding to a brilliant and revealing television series instead of pretending that it's entirely coincidental and that they were always committed to this policy?
And why do so many people think that calling for Jamie Oliver to be knighted is a more appropriate response than meeting his demands for more money in full which, unless I'm mistaken, would give him more pleasure.
And (that's enough ands - Ed) let nobody argue that we can't afford the money to stop poisoning our children. So far we've spent nearly £5 BILLION in Iraq.


The documentary on Windsor Castle shown over the weekend started from the premise that of all the Queen's homes this was her favourite, the one she regarded as 'Home', her very own 52 Acacia Avenue, albeit without the need to ever wash her nets or mop the kitchen floor.
Strange that. Over the years I've read exactly the same statement about Balmoral and Sandringham.
Similarly, one reads claims that the Queen is secretly quite 'left wing' or alternatively that, like her mother, she's slightly to the right of Adolf. I think the latter is nearer the truth because the only time in 50 years that the Queen was caught uttering a political opinion was in a previous royal documentary where she was chatting to Ronald Reagan. The Queen was heard to say "welfare payments have bankrupted all the democracies." To say this was a bit rich would be an understatement, coming as it did from a woman whose family receive welfare payments of millions from the taxpayer.

Charlie Brooker in The Guardian wrote one of his trademark pieces of bovver boot journalism about the Windsor programme so there's no point me trying to compete with him. Younger readers might like to know that 40 years ago, in the unlikely event that such a piece had been published, it would have created a national uproar with calls for him to be horse-whipped. There's not much in it that I would disagree with although I think I'd stop short of hoping that Windsor Castle burns down again. American tourists have got to go somewhere.

The documentary focused on a State Banquet for President Mitterand. Such royal banquets feature in the book by Janet Jones, wife of the former Leader of the House of Lords, that I've been quoting recently. (I'll review it properly when I can be arsed). She mentions one banquet at Buck House where ladybirds flew out of the elaborate floral displays and settled on the tablecloth and on the men's white shirts. Another oddity was that, because the royal family were often short of women, Janet Jones was sometimes required to become an honorary royal and process into dinner on the arm of Angus Ogilvy or another junior royal, revert to commoner status for the meal, and then join the royal procession out of the room towards the coffee and Ferrero Rocher. One feels quite sorry for our politicians and their wives that they have to suffer all this nonsense in their busy lives.


At 1:52 PM, Blogger mike said...

It was for Chirac, actually.

Totally agree with your Jamie Oliver points. We finally watched an episode of the programme yesterday; I think it was #2. I nearly cried at one point.

At 3:09 PM, Blogger zaphod said...

I duuno Willie. I wouldn't trust that mockney munt as far as I could throw him.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Mike, thanks for spotting that. I've apologised today.
In one of the programmes Jamie cries himself. As does Nora and just about everyone else.

zaphod, is 'munt' a real word or were you just alliterating with 'mockney'?
I'm not an unreserved admirer of Jamie myself, since he said that it was unthinkable that his children would go to a state school.

At 8:04 AM, Blogger zaphod said...

I s'pose I should have just come right out and called him a mockney cunt. I have a deep distrust of Oliver.

My grandchildren inform me that his dinners are horrid.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

If he wasn't an Essex boy he could be a Cockney cunt. Big-tongued tosser is another option. Run those past your grandchildren - you're surely not old enough to have grandchildren!
I think one problem is that Jamie's recipes require a commitment and attention to detail that you can't expect people on the minimum wage to give. But I still think the programme did a valuable service. The sad thing is that others had been campaigning for years and been ignored.


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