In his widely acclaimed speech at the Confederation of British Industry conference, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Boris Johnson declared in a soaring rhetorical defence of free-market dynamism that the childrens’ cartoon Peppa Pig would never have been invented by the state.
“No government in the world, no Whitehall civil servant, would conceivably have come up with Peppa,” he told his mildly concerned audience.
“The government cannot fix everything, and government sometimes should get out of your hair.”
The Chatterer finds this ironic, given the UK government’s own £60m fund to… yes, find “the next Peppa Pig”.
In April 2019, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced a “multimillion pound” fund in a search for “the next Peppa Pig, Art Attack and Desert Island Discs”.
And before eagle-eyed readers point out that Johnson wasn’t yet PM when that funding was announced (he entered No 10 in July that year), this search for the next Pippa Pig – via the Young Audiences Content Fund and Audio Content Fund – has continued under his government, with programmes receiving the funding as recently as October 2021.
So it turns out Whitehall is deemed worthy – according to Johnson’s government at least – of finding us the next Peppa. But perhaps it can release a bit more cash to help us afford a ticket to the PM’s favourite Peppa Pig World…