Wednesday, 7 July 2010

No laws, as long as you pay.

A public service announcement from the Department of Compulsory Health.
Motto: Health or death. Or at least a healthy death.

Andy Landy has decided not to pulverise food producers with legislation as long as they voluntarily (hah!) pay money towards the government's 'nudge nudge wink wink say no more' approach to surreptitiously forcing us to do as we are told.

The Righteous are outraged.

Health campaigners said they were "horrorstruck" at Lansley's remarks. "This is nothing other than a bare-faced request for cash from a rich food and drink industry, to bail out a cash-starved Department of Health campaign. The quid pro quo is that the department gives industry an assurance that there will no regulation or legislation over its activities," said Tam Fry, a spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum.

The National Obesity Forum. Do we have room for such a thing? I wonder if their forum is known as 'fat chat'. Ah, they are 'horrorstruck'. Good. Let's hope it aggravates the angina they contracted as a result of someone smoking a Disc Bleue in Marseille in 1963.

They are wrong, I think. What Andy Landy is saying is not - 'We are your friends, we won't punish you more'. What he is saying is - 'If you don't cough up cash, we're going to get all legislative on your ass.'

It's the old Kray government approach. The same as usual.

I was late visiting Tesco this evening but that's never a bad thing. I now have several crusty bread loaves in the freezer for between 12p and 18p a loaf, and I caught some marked-down sirloin just as the meat counter closed. Fried lightly with onion and mushroom, coated with mustard (proper English mustard, not that feeble foreign stuff) and lashed between two thick slices of crusty bread with proper butter on them, it made an evening meal that demanded a smoke and a whisky afterwards. You have to eat it before the bread goes completely red. Who says eating decent food is expensive? All you need is a sense of timing and you can do it for pennies.

All those nudges are not going to move me one inch. Ban meat altogether and next door's dog... well, it's already scared of me and any cat in my garden has learned to disappear at speeds Einstein thought impossible as soon as I open the back door. I have bird feeders and a crossbow and we have wood pigeons, seagulls and crows here. Nothing will stop me eating meat. Send an inspector. I have a big freezer and abattoir experience.

It won't be necessary. Andy Landy isn't going to enforce new laws. He's thought of a better plan - use the threat of new laws to 'nudge' the food industry into handing over 'voluntary' donations.

In exchange for a "non-regulatory approach", the private sector would put up cash to fund the Change4Life campaign to improve diets and boost levels of physical activity among young people.

It's a protection racket. The only reasons the Righteous are upset are that it's not a blatant order to comply and they aren't in control of it. The fast-food companies will be paying people to tell the public that fast-food is bad. The boozemakers will be paying people to tell the public that booze is bad. The government will cream off a slice of the cash as it passes through their hands. It's a formula that's worked well for smoking and driving so why not extend it to everything else?

The difference, at first glance, is that smoking-persecution and driver-persecution money comes from direct taxation of the user. In the case of food and booze, the protection money comes from the producer so it's different, right?

Only slightly. The food and booze producers will have to recover the money they've paid to the gangsterment from somewhere and they only really have one source of income.


So, if you're not growing food in your garden, start. And learn how to set a snare. It's not difficult.


Junican said...

I trust that your facts are correct, leg iron. We have enough problems with spin without you also contributing.

If what you say is correct, then it is just as awful as the thinking that brought in the Smoking Ban - it is EMOTIONAL. Where is the science?

DaveA said...

"....lashed between two thick slices of crusty bread with proper butter on them, it made an evening meal that demanded a smoke and a whisky afterwards."

That was a lol moment.

Anonymous said...

I'm unfortunately reminded by your posting of a short story by Steven Ericson, entitled "The Healthy Dead", concerning what happens in a small city-state when the ruler decides to make all his citizens healthy - whether they like it or not. The story is also an object lesson not often found in that sort of fantasy tale: if you are aiming to end a reign of healthy terror and go hiring a pair of extremely powerful magicians (and their poor, put-upon manservant), it is an extremely good idea to check that the pair don't have a bit of a history to them...

Go read it; I guarantee it'll make you laugh.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Hang about here. The NOF are not a fakecharity, they are an industry lobbying group, see e.g. Velvet Glove or my own blog.

Leg-iron said...

Junican - the facts are that the government has said to the food producers - 'Pay into the Change4life thing and we won't legislate you'.

My interpretation might be right or wrong, but that doesn't change the facts.

Mark - the Righteous are not confined to the fake charities. They are everywhere.

Anonymous said...

It doesnt matter how much you like meat---dont eat seagull!! Its worse than badger.

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