BBC Radio 2 producers are said to be still in a state of shock after a caller, appearing not to be a total nut-job, phoned in to today’s Jeremy Vine Show and expressed balanced, well-thought-out views.
The topic under discussion, Can Pensioners make ends meet in austerity Britain? was proceeding in the normal manner; 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 Norwich.’
Middle Class Britain then almost came to a complete standstill as Alan told Vine that he ‘sympathized’ with pensioners’; 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 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 track.
However it was back to business as usual when the next caller, Suzy, a care professional from Reading said, ‘I think they (pensioners not The Smiths, Jeremy ha-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 round our way. They’re decrepit and smell of garlic and piss don’t they? Living off our state and just bleeding us dry. it’s all bloody Corbyn’s fault!’
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 realize that here, just for once, was a voice of reason amid the normal clamour from retired magistrates, army colonels and people from Tunbridge Wells called Nigel.”