It is not the first time culture wars have been fought over pastry and pork products. Is the launch of a vegan version the latest salvo – or a chance for a divided country to heal itself?It is the controversy that nobody understands, while at the same time understanding it utterly: the Greggs vegan sausage roll. Launched on 3 January, presumably to coincide with Veganuary, it got off to a flying start thanks to the ire of Piers Morgan, who tweeted: “Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage, you PC-ravaged clowns.” There is quite a lot packed into that tweet, if we want to go psychoanalytical on his ass: he has substituted “I wasn’t waiting for … ” with “nobody was waiting for”, signalling an ego out of control, then elided a dietary choice with political correctness. So, in Morgan’s world, you can police what other people eat by accusing them of trying to police what you think, which arse-on-backwards argument distills almost everything that is obnoxious and distinctive about our current politics.It was an culture-wars classic overnight: Angela Rayner, the MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, agreed with Morgan, as did Julie Bindel. Greggs sent a salty reply, a lot of people went on Twitter to despair of other people wasting their time on Twitter, and a few vegans asked: “Why do people hate us?” Which is fair. It was all so hotly contested that two things happened: first a conspiracy theory that, since Greggs was represented by the same PR agency that once did a book with Piers Morgan – Taylor Herring – it was probably all a concoction (it wasn’t – the PR for the roll was handled in-house); the second was that the vegan sausage rolls sold out. All over the place, from Brighton to Manchester. I had to walk a mile and a half to get one this morning, nearly a week in. You have to conclude it is creating a deliberate scarcity; you don’t get to be Greggs by failing to adapt to pastry demand from one day to the next. But here I go again, with the conspiracies. Continue reading…

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