Are we entering a new prohibitionist era? Drinking, smoking and ‘junk food’ are perfectly legal, but there is a palpable sense that they are becoming unacceptable. Burgers, chips and pizza are considered inappropriate in schools, we obsess about the salt and sugar content of such foods and what in the past may have been explained as puppy-fat is now an obesity epidemic.
The discussions about introducing plain packaging for cigarettes and a minimum price for each unit of alcohol continue. The spread of no-drinking zones in public places also seems to follow the pattern of smoking bans, which now cover every indoor public space and many outdoor ones too. Instead of banning certain activities, is the state trying render them socially unacceptable?It's right up our street and a recommended read in full.
Unknown to me at the time I picked up on it from Twitter, it is written by Jason Smith, who is chairing a debate at the Battle Of Ideas at the Barbican this weekend which I am popping along to on Sunday.
The BoI is a fast-growing annual event which attracts free thinkers from around the world to talk about how society is being shaped, for better or worse by political players. I missed it last year because I was inconveniently flued-up, only to be regaled about what a great experience it was by those who attended. D'oh!
There is a large array of subjects being covered so, if you're at a loose end this weekend, get yourself a ticket and I'll hopefully see you there.