Thursday, 8 November 2018


A curious piece turned up on the BBC the other day from their 'reality check' team.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants to encourage people in England to make "better choices" around their alcohol, sugar, salt and fat intake, while getting more exercise. 
He is promising to spend more on public awareness initiatives to prevent obesity in the latest in a long line of of public health campaigns over the years. 
Three of the best-known health messages are eating five portions a day of fruit and vegetables, getting 150 minutes of exercise a week and quitting smoking. 
But what evidence is there that these have worked?
Being a tax-funded organisation, the BBC team were of the opinion that gentle messages from the government - based on education of the public - are not effective. The fact this is exactly the message that tax spongers in 'public health' were screaming about when Hancock made his policy announcement is surely a coincidence.

There was one area, though, where the 'reality check' team had a different view.
The Labour government banned smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces in England in 2007. 
The result is a marked decrease in the number of smokers.
Yep, when vile coercion is used instead of messages intended to change personal choices without a big stick, the BBC was hinting that this was a huge success.

Except, erm, it was nothing to do with the smoking ban, as the graph they publish with the article shows very well.

The result of the smoking ban was not a "marked decrease in the number of smokers". The marked decrease in the number of smokers came from 2012 when e-cigs went mainstream. As you can see from the BBC's graph above, all that the smoking ban did was halt a previously massive "marked decrease" of smokers prior to 2007.

The 'reality check' team did mention something around this at the very end of the article - how could they not considering it's so fucking obvious - but only in faint terms (emphasis mine).
Changes in law, habits and tastes may all contribute to changes in attitude which may affect lifestyle choices. For example, some of the decline in smoking could be attributed as much to the rise of the e-cigarette as anything else.
Some?!? Look at the figures for crying out loud.

It's a pretty rum definition of reality and an odd understanding of the word check if the BBC refuse to face up to what reality actually is and fail to check it properly.

Looks more like a supportive puff piece for their comrades in the tax-leeching game to me. 

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