Blog: A Blackberry isn’t a fruit, stupid.

Allan Swann
March 8, 2013

A new survey conducted by DEFRA (the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has found that 82% of those between the ages of 16-24 thought a blackberry was a phone, rather than a fruit.

This isn’t a terribly big deal (although DEFRA seems to think it is) and the rather awkward phrasing of the question doesn’t help – ‘When asked what a blackberry was’ respondents ‘instantly thought of a mobile phone.’

Who wouldn’t? I would probably do the same. I suspect most of you would.

Sorry DEFRA, but blackberries remain a rather exotic fruit, usually only consumed by dessert connoisseurs and the middle classes up (if I may throw in a few of my own stereotypes).  It’s hardly the kind of fruit that appears on the estate, or in my kitchen for that matter.

Blackberry smartphones, on the other hand, are near ubiquitous (although that is coming to an end).

To be fair, DEFRA is trying to raise heckles concerning the division of city and country, and supposedly to encourage more kids to look at farming as a career (apparently just 11% do, versus 51% who want to be teachers, doctors or lawyers). This is what happens when you live in a country where eight out of ten citizens live in the city.

I would be more worried about the Government’s limited investment in the tech sector. More specifically, the atrocious broadband availability in London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’. BT’s long promised high speed broadband lines still haven’t been installed, which has stifled the appeal of the UK’s supposed tech hub. Several companies in the area already looking elsewhere, and the London Assembly held an ‘inquisition’ into the situation late last year.

“London’s broadband is becoming the 21st century equivalent of tin cans on a string. There is no doubt that this is having a detrimental effect on the capital’s competitiveness and is hampering both old and new businesses, as well as many residents,” said the Chair of the Economy Committee, Andrew Dismore.

A BT staffer we spoke to recently said the company is still struggling to get fibre into the ground (even though it is running from the cabinet) ‘ meaning the UK’s home of tech innovation is still based on copper, and will never compete with Silicon Valley, California (let alone closer rivals, such as Berlin).

DEFRA’s Yougov also seems to think that its a problem that 55% of the UK population haven’t been to a farm in 10 years. What possible reasons do the majority of the population have for visiting a farm? Unless you’ve been raised on one (or your family is tied to one ‘ mine is, for example) what’s the point? Would farmers even want groups of random city-folk popping in for a cup of tea? Would they want school tour groups visiting 3 times a week? I doubt it very much.

Perhaps the government might want to get back to focusing on the dire state of our tech infrastructure.

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