"... and I realised with horror that I'd seen this awful thing before", Jeff Wayne's War of the WorldsBack in 2006, government passed legislation to usher in a new age of intolerance and snobbery. It had taken around 30 years for the Godber Blueprint to take effect, that is “to foster an atmosphere where it was perceived that active smokers would injure those around them, especially their family and any infants or young children who would be exposed involuntarily”.
This, of course, was the smoking ban. Based on a pre-planned lie and brought to prominence by way of three decades of slogans such as "smokers stink", it played upon a latent dislike of smoking and smokers amongst the dregs of our society. It was an incessant onslaught which turned a nation comfortable with co-operation and tolerance into one where to openly hurl disgusting insults and threats at otherwise law-abiding and productive members of the public was actively encouraged.
It was a victory for the army of fanatical single issue state-funded tax-spongers who prey upon the borderline insane mentality of the revolting; the contemptuous; the arrogant; the pinch-lipped; the selfish; and the proudly anti-social.
A clusterfuck of the abhorrent; a circle-jerk of the hateful and nauseating.
These days, as Snowdon points out in City AM, it doesn't take anywhere near so long.
It has taken several years of the most ludicrous, unscientific hysteria about a single ingredient to get us to this point, but this is the result: a reverse Robin Hood tax with a dismal track record in every country in which it has been tried being presented to the public as a health policy.
It would be laughable if it were not so pathetic.The sugar tax is born out of the same vile and scum-infested middle class base as the smoking ban. The only difference being that back then it was smokers, now it is the overweight. The precedent was set a decade ago, a precedent which gave a green light for the most hideous in society to point fingers, criticise the choices of others, publicly vomit insults, and demand government force be brought to bear on people who they feel offended at seeing. That's all, just seeing!
All that's required is a section of the population eaten up by bigotry, and a handy figurehead to produce junk science, spit vitriol, and wildly exaggerate. With sugar it was this guy.
I have some previous with Prof [Graham] MacGregor. Earlier this year, I went head-to-head with him on Andrew Pierce’s LBC show. The topic: a proposed sugar tax. I went first and made the case that it was our responsibility to look after our own health and that it is the responsibility of parents to look after the health of their children. This opened the floodgates of condescension. I was talking rubbish. He had worked with poor people in deprived areas and they cannot look after themselves. It was the responsibility of people like him to look after them as he knows better.
At the start of questioning by MPs on the Health Committee, I knew what was coming. Naturally, he favours a sugar tax, and he fully expects it to start low and increase year-on-year. Don’t be surprised when Prof MacGregor calls for 700 per cent, roughly the same as cigarettes.
This was just the start, though. As he started moving up through the gears, Prof MacGregor revealed that he doesn’t just want sugary drinks taxed, he wants those with artificial sweeteners taxed too. Even though a sugar tax would be regressive, he attacked Jeremy Hunt for calling it that, and described it as a “desperate ploy” on the Health Secretary’s behalf. He openly displayed his hatred of the food industry. He wants all advertising of unhealthy food banned, and thinks the food industry kills more than tobacco manufacturers.
As he was cruising in top gear, he also came out with this gem. Prof MacGregor has worked in Tooting amongst the socially deprived, and he claimed that everyone living on the estates in Tooting is obese. Not just some, the majority, no, everyone.To the vast majority of us MacGregor is a crank who makes shit up about his personal irrational prejudice about a pretty minor problem because he's a revolting, froth-mouthed cocksnorter of biblical proportion, but when heard by fellow gut-wrenchingly repellent snobs, it's an invitation to be the most vile they can be.
Jamie Oliver, a man perfectly described by the Speccie as "a chef whose own waistline has expanded as fast as his ego", exemplified this ugly triumphalism over those he feels are inferior to him when interviewed by the BBC.
Jamie Oliver had a little #sugartax dance on BBC News https://t.co/mZa1XJLsVf #Budget2016 pic.twitter.com/ZhvV1p5G8p— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) March 16, 2016
With these two sickening people leading the charge, is it any wonder the foul and the loathsome come crawling out of the woodwork.
Anyone who drinks fizzy drinks, diet or otherwise, every day is an idiot. Water is what hydrates us, anything else is a waste of money.— Kirstie Mary Allsopp (@KirstieMAllsopp) March 17, 2016
The #SugarTax is not a tax on the poor. It's a tax on poor parenting. If you don't want to pay it, don't give your kids fizzy drinks. Simple— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) March 16, 2016
@jamieoliver @hmtreasury should have put a levy on stupid people who allow kids to drink this rubbish!— Nick Bamford (@nickbamford) March 16, 2016
You're not making a choice anymore, instead you're a shit parent; stupid; an idiot ... for knowing your family better than the judgemental and the obnoxious. You are lazy, and they are damn well going to tell you so because, well, they're the apocryphal perfect people whose snobbery and crass ignorance makes them think they are entitled to 'cast the first stone'.
Well, they're not, they're absurd self-regarding shitgoblins, but slack-waisted Jamie is their God and they're on a roll now. So why not demand more, eh?
@cjsnowdon no, this is just the start of the war on unhealthy food. That's why it's being fought so hard.— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) March 16, 2016
@sarahwollaston @Childrensfood @actiononsugar cutting some sugar in colas is good news but we need to cut it more. Good 1st step, long road— Professor Tim Lang (@ProfTimLang) March 16, 2016
#sugartax is all well and good but why no minimum alcohol pricing?. Alcohol related disease major burden on society it ruins lives.— A.Farooq (@AbdulFarooq95) March 16, 2016
Osborne didn't usher in any new success for 'public health' yesterday - for the simple fact that a sugar tax has never worked and, as admitted by those who favour it, never will - but he certainly delivered multiple orgasms to the most deranged and repugnant in our country; the type you would hide behind the sofa to pretend you were out if you saw them park outside your house. If pandering to the vile and intolerant was the purpose, the upper class boy Osborne did exceptionally! He enthralled his fellow pompous and snooty middle class minions and stuck it to the less well off good, so he did.
Or, as Alex Deane succinctly describes it in The Telegraph.
Virtue-signalling politicians, bureaucrats and celebrities feeling tremendously good about themselves because they’ve bossed the rest of us around, and imposed a stealth tax on those least able to afford it.It's not a step forward for the health of the nation, but instead a triumph for repulsive anti-social snobbery and the most obnoxious human faecal matter we have the abject misfortune to share our everyday lives with.
The worst thing by far about the sugar tax is how happy it made some ghastly people.— Jackart (@VeryBritishDude) March 17, 2016
Quite. It's like 2006 all over again.
UPDATE: Here's an interesting perspective from a statistician.
But whatever they spend it on, they would have preferred to spend it on sugary drinks, so we are again making them worse off in terms of the things that they value.
All these considerations are trivial for people on high incomes. They may not be for people on low incomes. What seems certain is that the costs of the sugar tax will fall disproportionately on the poor.
You may think that’s a good idea. George Osborne obviously does. But personally, I’m not a fan of regressive taxation.Unlike all those odious snobs above.