What I love about McDonald’s

Ignore the snobs – Maccy D’s is a sociable, diverse and nice place to hang out.

Patrick West


Like the village inhabited by Asterix and Obelix, the British county of Rutland styles itself as the last part of the country to have resisted invasion and occupation by a mighty empire. For Rutland is the only county in Britain not to have a branch of McDonald’s, in a Britain that boasts 1,249 outlets, ever since the first Golden Arches arrived on these shores in 1974.

Until now. McDonald’s could soon achieve total domination. Rutland County Council is now considering plans for a drive-through McDonald’s restaurant in Oakham, the pretty market town. And not everybody is happy about this. The plans have attracted more than 50 objections from locals, with many fearing McDonald’s would not be in keeping with the farmers’ market and gourmet restaurants.

Others have complained about the ‘obvious eyesore of a high-profile golden arch’ or the detrimental effect on house prices. One protestor told The Times: ‘It’s a shame the council have bowed to the big corporations. It doesn’t suit our town and our way of living . It will be an eyesore and attract the wrong sort of people.’

Whoa… Say that again? ‘The wrong sort of people’? This man’s comment may not be representative of your average anti-McDonald’s type, but it does hint at a truth: that behind all the fine anti-corporation sermonising, certain posh, middle-class, usually left-wing types dislike McDonald’s because it is where poor people go. That’s where the ghastly proletariat hang out and gorge on their revolting, greasy fare.

I often wonder whether people who make fun of Wetherspoons have ever been to one. Likewise, I ask myself whether people who berate and demonise McDonald’s have been in one of the restaurants. I often go to McDonald’s in Canterbury, Folkestone and London’s Shaftesbury Avenue, and, while the restaurants can get smelly, the atmosphere is usually genial and with a mixed demographic. You see office workers, builders, schoolkids and tourists, all eating side by side. You see all races. The staff are nearly always unfailingly polite. The coffee is great value. In a society that purports to celebrate tolerance and inclusivity, McDonald’s is an exemplar.

In a society that also constantly frets that teenagers spend too much time alone on social media, getting bullied, being prematurely sexualised or being made to feel ever-more insecure about their bodies, it is worth keeping in mind that McDonald’s functions as a social arena for teenagers to interact and hang out with each other. This may be a pain if you’re trying to get a good value coffee at 4pm, but surely it is overall a good thing.

The well-to-do, health-conscious middle classes will point you to the deleterious effect to one’s body of eating McDonald’s and other fast food. The chain is still recovering from Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary Super Size Me, in which Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald’s three times a day for 30 days, with dire effects upon himself. Conclusion? Fast food is junk food.

Yet this was false science. If you ate nothing but salad for a month, or nothing but fruit for a month, you would also emerge a sorry state, deprived of protein and iron. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional McDonald’s as part of a balanced diet. There is no such thing as junk food. There is only junk diet.

Sure, a McDonald’s probably wouldn’t be in keeping with the appearance of Rutland’s pretty market towns, but the planned outlet is on the bypass in Oakham, which isn’t going to affect traffic.

Rutland’s well-to-do should really lighten up and lose the snobbish Asterix complex.

Erasing old Birmingham

With its fifth season about to reach its denouement, it is safe to conclude that Peaky Blinders is becoming one of the cultural events of our times. It has certainly had a boost for Birmingham’s status. The 1920s gangster series is credited with having pushed visitor numbers to the city to a record 43million last year – a 26 per cent increase since 2013 when the series was first broadcast.

The irony is that much of Peaky Blinders is shot in Manchester and Liverpool. A tour guide even offers a Peaky Blinders location tour to these two north-western cities. The reason for this is because nearly all of 1920s Birmingham was demolished either in or after the Second World War.

Sure, Manchester and Liverpool were victims of the Luftwaffe and town planners, but much of what was old still survives. Birmingham, on the other hand, had the unique misfortune of being run by a neophiliac fanatic who sought, and succeeded, in destroying nearly all of the Victorian parts of the city. This, indeed, is what united all town planners in the 20th century: a loathing of everything Victorian and ‘old’.

His name was Herbert Manzoni, who from 1935 until 1963 was city engineer and surveyor of Birmingham. He had an unhealthy obsession with the motor car, which by the 1920s had become the emblem of Birmingham’s success. By then he had proposed a great inner ring road and even before 1939 he had drawn up plans to demolish most of Victorian Birmingham. The Second World War and the post-war Town and Country Planning Act opened the way for his plans.

‘I have never been very certain as to the value of tangible links with the past’, he once said. ‘They are often more sentimental than valuable. As for Birmingham’s buildings, there is little real worth in our architecture.’

Believing that everything new is good and everything old is bad: there madness and destruction lies. There also lies pulling down statues, banning 19th-century novels, and – to paraphrase Jo Swinson – condemning conservative or socialist values because they are ‘old’.

Gender rules

‘Parents keep baby’s sex a secret to avoid gender bias…’

A couple are bringing up a gender-neutral child by keeping its sex a secret, even from their close family.

Bert Coleslaw, 35, and Doris Schopenhauer, 31, call their 15-month-old, Anthrax, by the pronoun ‘they’ and dress them in both boys’ and girls’ clothes.

‘We wanted to let our baby develop its own interests regardless of gender. So while they love having a dolls’ tea party every morning, they also are really fascinated by motorbikes and big machinery. Eventually, once Anthrax is old enough, they can decide what they want to be. If they decide to be a man, they can be a train driver, factory worker or prime minister. If they decide to be a woman, she can be a secretary, prostitute or housewife. These gender roles are important, inviolable and eternal.’

Patrick West is a spiked columnist. His latest book, Get Over Yourself: Nietzsche For Our Times, is published by Societas.

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Eric Lauder

25th September 2019 at 12:42 pm

“McDonald’s is good even due there’s a lot of diversity”
Are you really using political correctness talking points to defend McDonald’s?

Hugo van der Meer

21st September 2019 at 6:18 pm

Great if you want to eat graces encrusted food don’t mind murdering defenceless sentient beings and you’re a bit of of a cupid stunt. Big business is killing people let’s all shout and scream and say those who hate McDonald’s are wrong and they must be insane or mentally unwell. What total guano. McDonald’s are a pestilence for the Xbox buttons and those who can’t or a too slobbishly lazy to cook for themselves. McDonald’s exploit and the exploited love it.

Hugo van der Meer

21st September 2019 at 6:22 pm

That’s faeces not graces and generation not buttons…am I being sabotaged by a zero hours McDonald’s robot?

Jerry Owen

25th September 2019 at 8:48 am

What a load of old crock, as I have stated I enjoy my odd Big Mac, I also love cooking and take great pleasure in it, I cook more than my wife and I am prepared to experiment with new recipes.
Your snobbish bigotry is clear for all to see

Hana Jinks

26th September 2019 at 6:46 am

Jerry Oven-Kraut.

You are what is known in Australia as a pommie-whacker, and obviously a cuck with it. You let McDonald’s past your lips, so one only imagine with mirth what your cooking muat be like.


DonS Regalado

20th September 2019 at 5:55 pm

good post

Danny Rees

20th September 2019 at 1:33 pm

Those who oppose places like McDonald’s and Tesco opening in their posh areas are often portrayed by the left wing media and anti capitalists as brave little warriors opposing and fighting against big corporations.

But in reality they are just crass snobs who oppose these places opening because they believe they will attract the “riff raff” to their area.

Ven Oods

20th September 2019 at 5:31 pm

They may well be crass snobs, but equally, they may just not want the shit and litter that accompany fast food outlets. I’m not anti McD,
per we, but how many do we need?

Ven Oods

20th September 2019 at 8:17 pm

Bugger that auto-correct!

John Millson

20th September 2019 at 10:37 am

Cannot really comment on McDonalds except to say there are security guards at my local. These days not that shocking I suppose. As a late Boomer-Post-Materialist, just hard-wired to avoid…
Re Whetherspoons. Again our local can be a violent place. My guess is there are probably quite a few erstwhile remainers who drink there – best not to ask. The staff seem happy and have been there ages. Appreciate the lack of music. The tables & chairs tend to be wobbly though…

Danny Rees

21st September 2019 at 9:23 am

To be fair my local McDonald’s attracts a certain kind of up youths who climb up on the tables , shout and generally are as rude as fuck.

Hana Jinks

20th September 2019 at 9:42 am

Anthrax Coleslaw is obviously a gee-up. If it isn’t, then it’s gone way past time for a leftist round-up.

Instead of pandering to these purveyors of non-food the story could’ve been about the support that we should have for people that are keen to reject any further damage to their towns and cities from these global-corporate menaces. I remember 1974, and can recall cities and suburbs with lots of interesting and niche shops since lost to price-undercutting. They shouldn’t be allowed to have more than four Tesco’s. And if you eat only nuts, seeds and plants it might take you thirty years to get sick as opposed to thirty days…uuurrrgghh.
And “the wrong kind of people” has nothing to do with class, but rather street-scum that have nothing better to do than shake other kids down.

Jerry Owen

20th September 2019 at 8:52 am

Fab article on MacDonald’s and spoons. We visit spoons most Friday nights. Excellent fayre for the money, great mix of people. Beers better than most pubs, the out of date beers they are accused of selling is a myth.The bonus of course is that Tim Martin bats for Brexit !
As for MacDonald’s, we go there about once a month while out shopping. In moderation it’s perfectly good.
The new paper straws are a disaster withe the milkshakes. Surely in a market town a burger joint is more in keeping than say a Mr Timm’s sweet shop, or Rick Stein fish restaurant !
As for the odious couple experimenting with a child I Mengele would be proud of them.

Jerry Owen

20th September 2019 at 8:53 am

Typing abroad on my phone, hence the grammar errors !

Janet Mozelewski

28th September 2019 at 3:06 pm

We has a spoons back in Cheadle, Staffs. They did a cracking job of saving a fine old georgian coaching inn that was in danger of becoming derelict. They spent money on it and there were some really good pieces of art, photos, craftsman-made light-fittings used in the decor. All of which was themed to highlight the contributions to our history of local institutions, buildings, and individuals. Families dined, groups of ladies went in for coffee mornings, the lads watched the telly and my hubby enjoyed sampling different ales. I can only say that, in this instance, spoons were a boon to the town and helped greatly with the re-invigorating of the High Street there.

Stephen J

20th September 2019 at 7:41 am

A visit to a chain run by one of the famous lefty TV chefs that the BBC like so much, will probably yield no less microwaved/hot lamped pre-cooked, portion controlled, overpriced freezer food, than a branch of MacciD’s, though obviously at a far more exotic price.

Your entertainment is more to do with the people that you are with than the food that you share, otherwise you would just eat at home.

Although I would, given the option, aim myself at the nearest “Five Guys”, where the burgers taste of something, but are still fairly modestly priced.

I remember visiting the Woolwich branch of MacD in 1974 just after it opened (the first UK branch), and in those days, it was more like the latter, than the modern MacD, where apparently salad is all the rage.

Just talking to my consultant the other day about dietary fat, as a person with Crohn’s, fat is the staple diet, since most of the five-a-day stuff is very dangerous to a rotting gut. He was amused at the fact that fat was formerly known as a silent killer, they now believe something completely different. My how we laughed.

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