The pie debate has been rumbling on FT since the dawn of time itself. For the uninitiated, the positions can broadly be termed the performativists and the formalists.

The latter attempt to draw a line that encompasses the common or garden pie in pastry with the shepherd’s, cottage and fish pie are doomed to failure. Constructions such as ‘a filling touched by at least one starch layer’ cause us to include lasagne and pizza. Two say that at least two dimensions must be touched leaves the shepherd’s pie out, as well as the pie in a pot beloved of pub grub, but still leaves ravioli in the mix. To say ‘to the most part or totally encompassed by a casing’ opens us to the possibility that a boiled egg is a pie.

The hard formalists (I pin my colours to the mast here) escape this tortuous taxonomy by being brutal with the scions of pie. We insist that pie means pastry, immediately kicking out pasta and eggs and other non-pies from the family. Harder formalists insist on the essential slice of a silo shape, to exclude a pasty, but even I think this is going too far.

The performativists reject all this as modernity’s relentless desire to categorise and exclude. They insist that the hard formalist position – by excluding such staples as the shepherd’s pie – cannot be right. The soft formalist project is equally doomed to failure. It ultimately commits violence on the pie family by excluding, and is as equally hard as it’s more honest philosophical cousin, or it becomes so meaningless as to offer no clarity at all to the pie eater. Instead, they argue that the only sensible position is that the definition of the pie cannot be codified, and is instead a cultural understanding negotiated by the self-identifying community of pie-eaters. What they consider to be a pie is a pie. What they exclude is not a pie. It has an elegant simplicity.

But they are wrong. It’s the same kind of moral relativism that leads to new labour and the toleration of female circumcision and the death of universalist leftism. It contains the essence of the demotic, which leads as any fule no, to public executions being brought back and big brother never going away. It cannot be allowed.

Comrades, it is clear that the pastryites must prevail. It is the only sensible way forward, against the postmodernists and the obscurantism and heideggarian new-age fascism, as Slavoj Zizek has wisely written. But our adoption of this evident sense is pricked by the warmth we feel for the shepherd’s pie. His rustic honesty is something we admire, and his pie retains a note of authenticity we are anxious not to lose. We don’t wish to execute him as Kulak scum, but can he be collectivised and turned into a new model pie?

The new world provides the answer. The antipodes were once considered the leaders of the world for progressive social legislation, creating welfare states before even the Swedes. Whilst, like the Swedes, their racist past haunts them, and plagues to this day, in one respect they still lead the world and shine like a beacon to pie-eaters everywhere. Their pies are simply amazing. They’re ubiquitous. They’re used in citizenship ceremonies to affirm nationality. And they solve our progressive dilemma.

The synthesis of pastry and shepherd’s pie. I give you the Potato Top!