On Wednesday evening Channel 4 News aired a, for them, long piece about the split at Botton Camphill Community. This has previously been covered on this site but in essence the split came about because the Care Quality Commission found some issues with the management at Botton and as a result changes are being made to the employment status of carers there. Some die-hard Camphill “co-workers” object to becoming employees and the impact this has on the nature of their benefits and responsibilities.
What was remarkable about the piece was the total absence of any mention of Rudolf Steiner or anthroposophy. All the warm words about the “uniquely caring environment” and the dedication of the co-workers was taken at face value, and of course accompanied by beautifully filmed images of smiling residents baking bread or making furniture. Indeed it was hard to see even on C4 News’s own terms why they had bothered covering the story since one was left with the impression that it was just a choice between two slightly different models of care both of which were simply wonderful. The nearest we got to an indication of anything out of the ordinary was a brief shot of a “mealtime blessing” with hands held high around the table and chanting – at the very least patronising for adult residents.
Why is it that broadcasters will not address the nonsense at the heart of this movement? We have seen it before with the Radio 4 Food Programme’s visits to Camphill praising the food and the Biodynamic agriculture which produced it. The food may well be good but it is not unreasonable to expect the programme to also consider the social implications of the production. After all it quite rightly addressed the impact of Israel’s continued destruction of Palestinian olive groves and expropriation of land. But no, Steiner is not too be touched. The silliest example came up recently on Woman’s Hour where in a piece about knitting the presenter quoted Steiner as saying “thinking is knitting with the cosmos”. She clearly thought it was profound rather than flatulent drivel.
It isn’t just broadcaster’s who seem reluctant to address the core concerns of Steinerism. Even when criticising a specific manifestation, such as the Steiner Free School in Stroud, politicians and others are unwilling to say it is undesirable in principle, merely that it is unnecessary in practice.
Maybe it’s ignorance of the facts or misplaced fear of seeming politically incorrect that stops them speaking out. Until they do we will merely be dealing with the symptoms of the Steiner cult and not the cause.