Mmmmmmm…. a nice academic essay called The enduring culture and limits of political song by Simon Cross – I learnt a few things from this and you might enjoy it too:
I’ve posted links to Melvyn Braggs ‘In Our Time‘ podcasts/radio shows a number of times on this website but it has to be said that I’ve always been a little weary of them… something about the fact that the large majority of the guests are Oxbridge academics and the number of massively posh accents always leaves a little bell of warning ringing somewhere that I’m getting the official ruling classes imperial spin on history.
I remember having a post show email disagreement with his academic guests after their ‘Putney Debates’ show managed to completely ignore the issue of land during the civil war period which still seems a critical oversight from other things I’ve learnt and read.
I’ve had a number of people email me the recent episode on the Highland Clearances (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09tc4tm) which seemed quite revisionist to my mind when I listened to it. I thought nothing more of it at the time, but then someone posted a fine response via Bella Caledonia which I think is worth bringing to your attention:
There is a good series on BBC Radio 4 at the moment called ‘Against The Grain’. They are 15mins each and worth a listen.
Below are links to two of them i listened too and a few of my notes and comments
>>>>>>against the grain – farming westminster – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08bb9wk
new labour = defra – word agriculture removed from government department – upset a lot of farmers and people who lived in rural areas
90s – grain mountains and food lakes – BSE – foot and mouth – farming perceived as a problem – farmers go on a PR offensive
farming a more important sector for french politicians even though it is still relatively small 2-3% of population
UK agriculture is tiny = 0.7% GDP produced by farming even though 70% land is farmed
an EU perspective – problem with UK is voting system first past the post leads to very little coalition government so marginal votes and voices such as farmers cannot make a difference
>>>>>>against the grain – the CAP years – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08bb202
professor tim lang
1840s repealed corn laws fixing corn prices – decision made to import cheap food from the empire rather than support our own farmers = farming declined
WW1 shock can britain feed itself then 1920/30 recession again + WW2 – WTF
By 1947 never again – let’s support our farmers – subsidies = protecting farmers via productionist approach
over generously – horrific surpluses of food – export subsidies to get rid of the stuff
CAP bundle of contradictions – good vs bad
1960 70 80 bad for nature
since then = paying farmers to do some nice things whilst allowing them to be brutal
professor allan buckwell
CAP stop market intervention
change to pay farmers to provide things market wants but doesn’t pay for
CAP has kept people on the land longer – moderating or slowing rate of out flow from agricultural sector
to keep UK competing in the world commodity market you need scale no a few tens of acres
a tale of two halves
farmers given money for things they produce even if this is a disaster for nature
separating subsidies from production – environmental land management
CAP encouraged specialisation which brought problems around environmentalism and sustainability
CAP holds back the forces of consolidation and industrialisation
danish are farming mink – raised for fir – need high quality feed – dry warm nest
CAP to stabilise farmers income and prevent corporations taking over
small farmers are the lifeblood of the countryside
This is some of the best TV documentary journalism I have seen in a long time.
Hats off to Jacques Peretti – @jacquesperetti – https://twitter.com/jacquesperetti
Jacques Peretti investigates how the super-rich are transforming Britain. In part one, he looks at why the wealthy were drawn to Britain and meets the super-rich themselves.
Jacques Peretti investigates how the super-rich are transforming Britain. In the final part, he looks at how inequality was pinpointed as a business opportunity.
This is a great hour of radio – Ask the Fellows That Cut the Hay – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rv8yk
In this BBC Archive On Four, historian Alan Dein celebrates the centenary of his mentor George Ewart Evans, collector of Suffolk farming tales. Evans began by chatting to his neighbours over the fireside in the 1950’s and transcribing stories about poaching, shepherding, smuggling and ditching.
The talk was of a hardscrabble life, of leaky roofs and meals of pea soup and pollard dumplings and beef only at Christmas with occasional festivities like the Whitsun fair.
Evans came from a Welsh mining village and he sympathised with the labourers’ stories about the tyranny of the trinity of the parson, squire and farmer. He was a sympathetic listener who asked allowed his community to speak for itself and he captured the stories of people whose traditions had been unbroken for generations, who worked on the land before mechanisation and who believed in magic and folk wisdom and had intuitive understanding of working with animals.
Evans’ eleven books about the working lives and folk stories of Blaxhall are a portrait of every facet of his village and paved the way for books and programmes, both fiction and not fiction, about British agricultural life.
This is a brilliant hour long documentary by Melvyn Bragg on John Ball and the Peasants’ Revolt – connecting it with the English Civil War, the Diggers, the Levellers, and Blake’s words which became the song ‘Jerusalem’.
If this is not left online anywhere I have a personal audio copy which I would be happy to share with you.