Apparently there are Tories in Scotland. For most Scots, that's like discovering you have mice. There is a tiny hut in Kintore marked 'Scottish Conservatives' but I've never seen it open. I thought it was some kind of folk museum.
...since the SNP came to power, the number of “active schools co-ordinators” has dropped from 661 to 451,
That sounds like a good thing to me. We used to have PE teachers in schools, not 'active schools co-ordinators'. We had a muscular goblin with a porn-star moustache who was shorter than most of the kids but more vicious than any of them. As I recall, he eventually left in disgrace after an affair with a member of the hockey team. Some things never change.
So, a round of applause for the SNP who are implementing money-saving methods by removing a layer of unnecessary co-ordinators from schools. The bleating about chubby three-year-olds, the whining about having to widen school gates for the newly-started infants is irrelevant. An active schools co-ordinator, even if they did anything useful, wouldn't be doing it before the child started school anyway.
It's good to see a Socialist party with enough sense to cut back on at least some waste. Naturally, there are screams of 'No, we must spend money on crap nobody needs, and we must spend it now!'
Glasgow Labour MSP Bill Butler, who obtained the through a Freedom of Information request, said: “If the SNP had ever been serious about tackling childhood obesity and increasing fitness and sporting opportunities for youngsters, it would have, at the very least, maintained the number of co-ordinators it inherited.
Well, that's predictable. Labour put all these playtime managers in place so their whining about the dismantling of a wasteful expenditure is only to be expected.
Liberal Democrat Jamie Stone accused the SNP of “letting our young children down”.
I see it more as 'leaving children alone' but then we have long since ceased to expect liberalism from the Lib Dems. They use the word 'democratic' in the sense employed by the People's Democratic Republic of Korea. 'Liberal' and 'Democratic' are two of those magical Humpty Dumpty words that mean precisely what the politicians want them to mean, no more and no less.
Here's the kicker:
Tory health spokeswoman Mary Scanlon said: “This is further worrying evidence that the SNP Government is giving up on the fight against child obesity. It is our children who will lose out.”
The Tories are complaining about Socialists implementing what used to be core Tory policy - cut out the wasteful and unnecessary stuff. The Scottish Tories are more Socialist than the SNP! Better keep that seriously quiet or the next thing you know they'll start winning seats.
The entire argument is based on spin. Most kids have puppy fat, some have lots of it and most lose all of it at puberty. You can define anything as 'obese', it's very much a moveable goalpost. If you do it on BMI you'll be counting all those short muscular kids too. Then there's the made-up figures and the made-up disease -
A study published last year estimated that treating people for obesity costs Scotland’s NHS £1million a day.
Treating people for obesity? A million a day? Do they have a production line for gastric bands or something? Here it is, chubby folk. Just as the disease changed from 'smoking related' to 'smoking' to 'smokers', so it moves from 'obesity-related' to 'obesity' and then 'the obese'. Like smokers, you no longer have diseases. Like smokers, you are the disease. You cost the NHS a million a day even if you never go there.
Note also the mysterious 'a study' and the caveat 'estimated'. This will be the same 'a study' that made up - I mean, estimated - every other health figure used to browbeat us these days. It's never referenced. Why? Well, that's not hard to work out.
Why are all these kids overweight? One reason is that the BMI system does not take account of puppy-fat. Another is that the entire system ignores the puberty growth spurt which is what that puppy fat is meant to fuel. There's a reason they don't bother with kids above the age of 11. Most of those kids have started turning into lanky teenagers after that.
More reasons - they don't play outside any more because if Gary Glitter's Gang doesn't get them, they might get knifed, shot, force-fed by burger shops, dragged into seedy drug dens or smoked at. Parents are too scared to let them outside. They stay in, they get computer games and TVs of their own, they get fat and they get lazy and they get rickets. Kids are well equipped to burn off any calories they consume but they are not allowed to - and no co-ordinator will ever fix that. It would take a government with the sense to say 'Well, yes, there are nasty people in the world, but not really all that many so you don't have to be permanently terrified' and 'You know, maybe it would be a good idea to actually lock some of the nastiest ones away instead of giving them a stern talking-to and sending them home'.
It won't happen. Catching criminals is hard. Making it everyone else's responsibility to hide from them is easy. So rather than letting kids burn off energy by playing outside, we have to have playtime managers to help them do what they actually want to do anyway.
I really can't believe the Tories are objecting to cutting the numbers. They don't get many votes in Scotland now, and this approach is likely to turn away their remaining voters.
Especially as the SNP are doing something the Tory voters want done.
I still won't vote for any of them. They still hate smokers.