‘What on Earth made BBC Countryfile’s John Craven start accusing us of rural racism?’ blasts Kelvin MacKenzie

BBC Countryfile’s John Craven

‘What on Earth made BBC Countryfile’s John Craven start accusing us of rural racism?’ blasts Kelvin MacKenzie

Kelvin Mackenzie

By Kelvin Mackenzie

Published: 26/03/2024

- 16:45

Updated: 26/03/2024

- 17:55

Kelvin MacKenzie blasts Craven following an article published in BBC’s Countryfile magazine

Why after 25 years of wandering around our green and pleasant land as BBC’s Countryfile presenter has John Craven suddenly decided that we have a rural racism problem?

Craven, at 83, has been an ever-present on our screens. Calm and ageless. Nothing was a drama, with even manure being treated as a marvel.

That has all changed. He decided, possibly because he wanted to be still ‘relevant’ at his age, or was prompted by some dim-witted producer, that all was not well from the Cotswolds to Cumberland. There was racism out there and he was the one to shine a spotlight on it.

So he wrote an article for the BBC’s Countryfile magazine. Didn’t know they had one. In it, he says that “although many white voices would insist there is no racial prejudice in the green acres” researchers at the University of Leicester had found examples.

Apparently, with bugger all else to do like educating students or finding a cure for cancer, the university is carrying out a two-year survey to discover the “true extent of rural racism”.

Academics come up with mad research projects like this because they are paid for it. This lot went to the Leverhulme Trust, who dole out up to £500,000 a time, normally for ideas which they know will attract good coverage in the Guardian, but more importantly, will annoy the white majority.

As part of the article, Craven spoke to a Dr Viji Kuppan, one of the academics leading the study. He makes his money in this way, currently working at the Centre for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Leeds Beckett University.

The books he has published give you a clue where he’s coming from. One of them is Narratives of Disabled People of Colour from Slavery to Trump. I don’t have to read it to know what his view might be.

BBC Countryfile\u2019s John Craven

BBC Countryfile’s John Craven


Anyway Craven doesn’t go into his career details (journalistically that was poor) but does quote Dr Kuppan as saying some of the study results are “disturbing”.

He tells Craven of two women who live in rural areas, one black, one brown, who were subjected to racist taunts, spat on in one instance and weapons with intent to harm produced in another. Serious stuff, both being criminal offences and therefore should be the subject of charges.

Who are these women, where do they live (rural United Kingdom is a big place) and why didn’t they go to the law? All questions Craven didn’t put to Dr Kippan.

Dr Kippan said racism can also appear in “mundane ways” such as mutterings, stares or laughter. On that basis I must be the subject of racism as on the Underground of South Western Rail I get quite a lot of uncomfortable stares.

Craven then became reflective and questioned “what it is about rural Britain” that puts many people from ethnic minority backgrounds off from visiting the countryside?

Frankly, I think that’s tosh. Even Dr Kippan, who has made a career out of the diversity business, accepts that when walking in the country he was met with nothing but smiles and warmth.

Articles like Craven’s do nothing for harmony but do quite a lot for divisions. If somebody wants to enjoy the countryside simply get in the car and go there. No car? Have you heard of a train? It’s a simple pleasure, made even more enjoyable with a picnic.

Has nothing to do with colour and it’s a disgrace that the Leverhulme Trust thought it was worth investing £500,000 of their money (the trust is run by academics which probably explains it all) to cause an inter-racial issue.

Really poor.

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