BBC Radio 2 producers are said to be still in a state of shock after a caller to Friday’s Jeremy Vine Show expressed balanced, well-thought-out and compassionate views when put on-air today.
The topic under discussion, Can Pensioners make ends meet in austerity Britain? was proceeding in the normal manner and all seemed fine. Gary, an Estate Agent from Staffordshire, had just advocated the mass cull of everyone over 75 unless they are still in paid work, when Jeremy thanked him for his robust views before innocently saying: ‘Next we have Alan on the line from Frodsham.’
Britain then almost came to a complete standstill as Alan told Vine that he ‘sympathized’ with pensioners and that it must ‘shocking for so many to be struggling after working all their lives and paying into the system, to now be in such dire straits’, before finishing controversially with, ‘I for one would gladly pay another 2p in the pound on the basic rate of income tax to see pensioners better provided for.’
Clearly thrown into a complete panic by one of the first moderate views to be aired on the show in years Vine quickly played a Smiths record.
When the record finished it was back to business as usual when the next caller, Suzy, a care professional from Droitwich said: ‘I think they (pensioners, Jeremy, not The Smiths…ha-ha) should stop bleating and get on with things. If they’re too cold then put on some more clothes, and if they’re hungry, what’s wrong with these food banks? Most of them are Spanish or Portuguese anyway. They’re decrepit and smell of garlic and wee-wee don’t they? Just living off our state into old age and bleeding the country’s resources dry. I just can’t wait for Brexit!’
Speaking later after coming off air Vine said: ‘I was really shocked. I’m so used to far-right fascist nutters hijacking nearly every phone-in we do, no matter what the topic is, that it took me a while to realise that here, just for once, was a lone voice of reason amid the normal clamour of sickening selfishness and bigotry from retired Magistrates, Army Colonels and people from Tunbridge Wells called Roger.’