Dr Ben Pitcher, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Westminster, says the panel show is ‘saturated’ with racial language.
From debates about native and non-native plant species to advice about the purity of different soil types, the programme’s resident green-fingered experts are secretly feeding nationalist and fascist fantasies, he claims.
Speaking on another Radio 4 programme, Thinking Allowed [but obviously not required – ED] , he said: ‘Gardeners’ Question Time is … layered with, saturated with, racial meanings. The context here is the rise of nationalism. The rise of racist and fascist parties across Europe. Nationalism is about shoring up a fantasy of national integrity. My question is, what feeds nationalism? What makes nationalism powerful?’
Dr Pitcher said there is a ‘crisis in white identity in multicultural Britain’ caused by the fact that ‘white culture’ is historically associated with racism and far-Right views.
White people are therefore forced to find other ways of talking about white identity – such as through gardening – so they do not appear to be racist.
Speaking on the same programme, Lola Young, a crossbench peer and former professor of cultural studies, agreed with Dr Pitcher’s argument. She added: ‘I remember back in the late 80s-early 90s when rhododendrons were seen as this huge problem, and people were talking about going out rhododendron-bashing.Dr Ben Pitcher said he believes the programme is saturated with racial language
‘That was at a time when Paki-bashing was something that was all too prevalent on our streets. This kind of slippage of language into alien and native is a thread in our language.’