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The Spectator Podcast: food fights, religious splits, and the politics of wood-burning stoves

25 January 2019

5:41 PM

25 January 2019

5:41 PM

What do you do when a vegan friend comes over for dinner? Panic first, probably. After all, how can you make a meal out of lettuce and carrots? But these days of stress are numbered. Perhaps you’ve already noticed – more and more people are becoming vegan or vegetarian. Supermarket shelves and even the pasty favourite Greggs are offering more vegetarian and vegan options. The numbers back up the trend too – according to the Vegan Society, demand for meat-free food increased tenfold in 2017.

In this week’s cover article, Jenny McCartney notes the identity politics that has – perhaps inevitably – piggybacked this dietary change. The first victim of the war between carnivores and vegans (or more strictly, omnivores and herbivores) was William Sitwell, then-Editor of the Waitrose magazine, for some badly judged emails to a vegan freelance contributor. Then came the battle over the Greggs vegan roll. But do the vegans have a point? Jenny writes about why she finds their arguments persuasive in this week’s cover – and joins us on the podcast, together with Dominika Piasecka, a spokesperson for the Vegan Society (who say they coined the very term, ‘vegan’, in 1944!) Tune in for the anti-dote to Twitter hysteria surrounding the subject:


We also get a chance to talk about Fraser Nelson’s interview with Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. What struck Fraser most about the conversation was Archbishop Welby’s acceptance – or even, celebration – that many Anglicans are converting to Catholicism. He says, ‘God called the church into being. We, as human beings, have managed to mess that up and split it up.’ So have Anglicans and Catholics finally put aside their centuries-long feud? Perhaps not quite – on the podcast, Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens (Anglican) goes head to head with Damian Thompson (Catholic), presenter of our Holy Smoke podcast. It gets a little fiesty.

And finally, we tackle another hard-hitting issue – are wood-burning stoves really a bannable sin? James Delingpole writes in this week’s magazine that he was disappointed in his stove, but not as disappointed as he is in Environment Minister Michael Gove’s crusade against them. He’s joined by Fraser Nelson, a staunch stove defender and fair Gove critic, to discuss the politics of heating your home.

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