Oh to be a fly on the wall if Jeremy Clarkson descends on No 10 next week for Rishi Sunak’s ‘inflation summit’. It seems the PM’s cross words to Clarkson over his comments about the Duchess of Sussex are a thing of the past, as he seeks the TV star’s counsel as the unlikely voice of the ordinary farmer, developed out of the stunning success of his Clarkson’s Farm TV series.

That’s not the only controversy of his invitation. Also on the guest list (according to a Downing Street official) are Kaleb and ‘Cheerful’ Charlie, his sidekick and farming advisor respectively on the TV show. All other organisations are only allowed one representative, including the National Farmers Union. Ouch. 

Sunak’s summit has an agenda of ‘cakeist’ proportions. On the one hand, he wants to know how to support endangered British farmers, in the post-Brexit, post-Covid, Ukrainian-Russian war-based inflation-fuelled cost of living crisis. On the other hand, he also wants to get food price inflation down. And as interest rates rise (again) to curb those inflationary forces, they add to the costs for businesses and consumers alike.

Supermarkets have been firing early salvos to demonstrate how hard they’ve been working to push prices back down. First it was milk. Now it’s bread and butter. But prices remain stubbornly high, with little prospect of deflation in many parts of the supply chain due to both macro inflation and micro supply and demand factors such as the recent cold snap, and the latest drought affecting rice.

Meanwhile, supermarkets are spreading their net ever wider to source cheap food. At the same time as cutting the price of bread and butter, Sainsbury’s continues to source Italian eggs, to the fury of British producers, for example.

It goes to show what a complex web the PM is getting involved in. Still Sunak’s ‘shredder’ of EU Brexit laws has itself been switched to slow. So that will help a bit. Somehow one expects the food industry will want more. But how will Rishi keep all parties satisfied? Indeed, will he be able to please anyone, or leave everyone unsatisfied? Hopefully we won’t have to wait for the third series of Clarkson’s Farm to find out.