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Farmers Bring Potato Protest to London

By london_will Last edited 142 months ago
Farmers Bring Potato Protest to London
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It isn't exactly the Poll Tax Riots. But Britain's proud potato farmers appear to have a chip on their shoulder*, and are planning to voice their anger in the heart of our fair city.

The farmers are apparently boiling over the phrase "couch potato", which they say gives the humble and "inherently healthy" spud a bad image by connecting it in people's minds with fat, lazy people who just sit on the sofa all day watching the tuber. Sorry, I mean watching the tube.

A campaign promoting use instead of "couch slouch" is being led by the British Potato Council, representing 4,000 growers and processors.

Protests are due on Monday outside dictionary publisher Oxford University Press and in Parliament Square, London.

"We are trying to get rid of the image that potatoes are bad for you," said council head of marketing Kathryn Race.

"Of course it is not the Oxford English Dictionary's fault but we want to use another term than 'couch potato' because potatoes are inherently healthy."

Londonist gets the feeling that the British Potato Council - which presumably consists of representatives elected by Britain's 800 million potatoes - might have picked the wrong fight here. And we're not the only ones:

[OED] Chief editor John Simpson said: "When people blame words they are actually blaming the society that uses them.

"Dictionaries just reflect the words that society uses."

All the same, you have to respect that these latterday Chartists are bringing their poorly thought-out publicity stunt protest to the heart of democracy before it gets sealed off by the Blairmacht/blown up by the Wachowski Brothers. Spudrearers, we're rooting* for you.

* I'll get my coat.

Last Updated 20 June 2005