In general, I am neither a fan nor a critic of Jamie Oliver. He is not marmite as far as I’m concerned. But I just don’t like his latest tack in this Guardian article:
I think he’s absolutely right that in general we are tempted to spend our incomes on the shiny things we don’t need rather than on essentials such as food. We want everything as cheap as possible and Oliver is right that supermarkets are evil in this respect, luring us with bulk buy bargain offers which later rot in our fridges and cupboards. Farmers’ profit margins are squeezed, corners are cut, pesticides applied, chickens crowded into dark sheds with bowing limbs and bedraggled feathers and all because we want to pend our money on the latest tablet rather than the thing which keeps us alive. We perpetually confuse what we want with what we need and prioritise the wrong thing.
But these twisted priorities are not the reserve of the poor. This trait runs through society with our status wars. And it is Oliver’s demonisation of the poor in his interview that I object to. He plays straight to current political rhetoric and those who wish to believe that all those in poverty are feckless, workshy and have no idea how to manage their finances.
So yes Jamie, great idea, I think teaching cooking skills and shopping on markets is all great, but you characterisation of those on low incomes, not so much.