Wednesday 5 October 2011

David Cameron: Clock-Watching Puppet Prime Minister

Is David Cameron the most naïve and manipulated Prime Minister this country has ever seen? Or is he just buying time strutting around number 10 - following unavoidable orders from unelected supranational bodies - until he can command the same fees as Tony Blair?

It has to be one of the above following his latest astonishingly illiberal utterance.

Denmark recently became the first country in the world to impose a surcharge on foods that contain more than 2.3 per cent saturated fat. The levy targets high-fat products such as butter, milk, cheese, pizza, meat, oil and processed food.

Mr Cameron told the Conservative conference that a similar move should not be ruled out in the UK.

“I think it is something that we should look at,” he said in an interview with Five Live. “The problem in the past when people have looked at using the tax system in this way is the impact it can have on people on low incomes. But frankly, do we have a problem with the growing level of obesity? Yes.

“I am worried about the costs to the health service, the fact that some people are going to have shorter lives than their parents.”
Firstly, it must be pointed out that Cameron has swallowed one of the biggest lies ever to be placed in front of the British public with that last sentence. He may have wisely downgraded superlative fucktard Jamie Oliver's quite absurd claim that "this will be the first generation in which children are predicted to die before their parents", to just some children. But then, there will always - in any generation - be some children who die earlier than their parents, and our ever-increasing longevity as a population shows that anyone trying to force such a nonsensical terror on us is quite loopy. Brendan O'Neill put it best last year.

The Oliver campaign summed up so much that was wrong with the frequently illiberal and patronising political agendas of the Blair and then Brown regimes.

It ... captured the New Labour government’s reliance on fearmongering over facts in its campaign to make us all change our behaviour. The Oliver campaign was built on the utterly unfounded, pseudo-scientific idea that today’s children would die before their parents if they didn’t start eating Oliver-approved Italian-style food instead of the stodgy so-called meat invented by Bernard Matthews. Oliver repeated this shrill, evidence-lite ‘children dying’ shtick in his response to Lansley yesterday – scaremongering disguised once more as ‘science’.
The reference to Lansley is that the Health Minister had, at the time, quite rightly dismissed Oliver's narcissistic hyperbole as being emotional poppycock which has no place in making policy.

Cameron yesterday swept all that away in siding with the old New Labour approach of substituting validity with, err, whatever self-serving berks with loud-hailers are barking about at the moment.

This is a total abandonment of the 'nudge' principle which he had trumpeted prior to the General Election. And how the blithering fuck does this square with the Coalition's promise to restore civil liberties and end the incessant nanny state mentality?

Don't even attempt to answer that, it'll raise your blood pressure to unacceptable levels and I'm not insured against your no win, no fee claim.

The explanation, of course, is that his hands are tied, as a must-read article at The Economic Voice describes.

It has now been announced that there is a global discussion on having a fat tax. However, nobody told the public that discussions about taxing our most popular foods commenced some time ago by unelected bureaucrats. Is this what now passes for democracy? All EU Countries signed up to the European Charter on Counteracting Obesity at the Counteracting Obesity Conference in Istanbul, Turkey in 2006. That event was promoted by the World Health Organization, so expect to see similar programs in other regions. The treaty commits signatory nations to “economic measures that facilitate healthier food choices”, which is precisely what we see here in Denmark.
Is it becoming a bit clearer now?

And for those hoping to get Danish butter exports on the cheap, think again. The ironically named Hungary has already jumped on the bandwagon with its own fat tax. It has also been proposed for the UK by the BBC and others. We even see a fat tax discussed for the USA.

There is also currently a bill passing through Parliament called the Public Bodies (Sustainable Food) Bill, which will enforce low fat, high carb diets upon all public institutions, including schools, hospitals, care homes and prisons.
This is a done deal. You have as much chance of stopping it - with your one cross in a box every five years - as you have halting a four-tonner hurtling up the motorway at 90mph by throwing Doris the lollipop lady in front of it and telling her to adopt her fiercest stare.

We who lurk on this blog might be secretly preening ourselves that the same demonisation meted out to smokers - which we did warn, repeatedly, would be coming to others very soon - is now being driven at a very fast pace towards lardies, but then it's not just they who will be punished with a fat tax, is it? Commensurate with the modern way of politics, we all will. Whether you're fat, average, or stick thin, if you enjoy consuming products which have a fat content over an arbitrary level decided by government ... government thieves are going to collectively rob you.

We're firmly into post-democratic territory here. And this is without even a passing mention to the widely-accepted shortcomings of the BMI system used to gather 'evidence' of imminent adipose armageddon, nor of the debate that is still raging as to whether fat - or salt, sugar, carbohydrates - can be made a culprit, whether a tax would make a blind bit of difference, or even whether there really is that much of a problem in the first place.

Talking anecdotally, I'm currently in the process of a second year of secondary school open days which many of you may identify with. We parents trudge around mostly similar schools to be presented with their best facets as the state sector - who all follow the same curriculum and enjoy egalitarian funding - try to create the illusion of some kind of competition by showing off their best graphs and happy, smiling children. Thing is, just like last year, I certainly don't seem to be witnessing a whole load of heavyweight kids. Perhaps they lock them in the basement or something, I dunno, but the year 7 & 8 'tour guides' I've seen in the past couple of years are more likely to have been painfully anaemic than obese. I've got a couple more to go yet this time round, but am tempted to pack my pockets with a few Mars bars to shovel their way on the sly rather than nag them to start eating butternut squash and lentils.

What we really need from a government who boasts of restoring civil liberties and curtailing the nanny state, oddly enough, is a PM who will stubbornly reject further intrusions into our current liberties and stand up against nanny statists.

Instead, we're landed with a middle-of-the-road consensualist, willing to be a puppet to unelected eugenicists by throwing the odd juicy tidbit at slavering health bullies, as he watches the clock and marks time before the book deal and lucrative world speaking tour.

What ever happened to that promise of change?


Anonymous said...

Looks like long pork is going to be back on the menu. Spit roast politician with some fried Greens.

Kevin B said...

So I had him wearing a stylish Tesco bag over his head as the tumbril clatters towards the Tower, but I see now that we'll have to stuff it with a few pounds of bacon and butter.

Course, in case he worries that the fatty stuff might shorten his life, we could have the citizens lining the route toss him some vegetables as he passes.

Locally sourced mind you. Cabbage, swede, Brussells sprouts of course, and some nice ripe tomatoes.

nisakiman said...

Whatever happened to the anorexia epidemic that was sweeping the country? All the teenage girls' mags were taken to task over that one. Are we experiencing an opposite reaction to that already?

And I wonder what will be on the menus in the restaurants in the Commons and in Brussels / Strasbourg? Nut cutlets with a nice green salad (no dressing, naturally)? Of course, the great and the good who are proposing these "fat" taxes will be unaffected themselves, given that we subsidise their long lunches anyway.

Take care DP, my blood pressure is rising rapidly already and I'm looking for the number of an ambulance-chaser...

andy said...

Hopefully then all of the westminster troughers will be obese,panting,sweaty,diabetes riddled,gout crippled gimps,all of them heart attacks just waiting to happen, and then when it does we can deny them medical treatment on the grounds of their hideous lifestyles.

Well we can all dream eh? as if these bastards will ever be held to the same standards as they force on ordinary folk.

Michael Fowke said...

He should have stayed at Carlton TV. PR work is all he's fit for.

Anonymous said...

How very thoughtless of him.

Healthy food obsession sparks rise in new eating disorder

"Fixation with healthy eating can be sign of serious psychological disorder.
Eating disorder charities are reporting a rise in the number of people suffering from a serious psychological condition characterised by an obsession with healthy eating.

The condition, orthorexia nervosa, affects equal numbers of men and women, but sufferers tend to be aged over 30, middle-class and well-educated.

The condition was named by a Californian doctor, Steven Bratman, in 1997, and is described as a "fixation on righteous eating".

"I am definitely seeing significantly more orthorexics than just a few years ago," said Ursula Philpot, chair of the British Dietetic Association's mental health group. "Other eating disorders focus on quantity of food but orthorexics can be overweight or look normal.

They are solely concerned with the quality of the food they put in their bodies, refining and restricting their diets according to their personal understanding of which foods are truly 'pure'."

Orthorexics commonly have rigid rules around eating.

Refusing to touch sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn and dairy foods is just the start of their diet restrictions."

"The obsession about which foods are "good" and which are "bad" means orthorexics can end up malnourished.

Their dietary restrictions commonly cause sufferers to feel proud of their "virtuous" behaviour even if it means that eating becomes so stressful their personal relationships can come under pressure and they become socially isolated."

Guardian 2009


Anonymous said...

"There is also currently a bill passing through Parliament called the Public Bodies (Sustainable Food) Bill, which will enforce low fat, high carb diets upon all public institutions, including schools, hospitals, care homes and prisons."

I thought high-carb diets will result in high-caloric intake - and a high-caloric intake, without excessive exercise to burn off those calories, results in it all turning into fat stored inside the body - thus they will be increasing, by rule of law, the number of people prone to having weight problems.

Is this to create a problem for which pharmaceuticals already have drugs waiting to be sold and require a market - it could be.

Dick Puddlecote said...

They're not just 'aged over 30' either Rose. BBC Newsbeat reported earlier this year on how it is becoming increasingly prevalent among young people.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Anon @ 18:00: You make a good point, I think it's touched on in the Economic Voice article.

There is a commenter at this Freakonomics article on the Danish fat tax who hints at it too.

"This is an old story with new cloth.

In the 1960s The Seven Countries Study highlighted that saturated fat was a major cause of heart attacks. The world went low fat mad and in the ensuing mayhem carbohydrates consumption went up and caused the obesity crisis Denmark is trying to solve now, with a reduction in fat.

People that keep doing the same thing but expect a different result are often labelled insane. And those Great Danes are barking."

Anonymous said...

First it will be things like butter and bacon, then it will be beef and pork and lamb. This is just the first step on the road to enforced vegetarianism - and then the great leap forward to a third world diet of insects will begin:

But not for the elite of course. They'll still be able to eat what the fuck they like. They'll die at the hands of 'ordinary' people first, surely?

Anonymous said...

All these policies start at the UN / WHO then wrapped up with EU directives and passed of as National laws.

The same with the FCTC, signed up then ratified it becomes legally binding. Even the USA who cannot ratify due to their constitution follow the directions from the UN.

The UN have policies for fat, salt and alcohol.

Happy days ahead, not.

Anonymous said...


I had to unbrainwash the kids from time to time 20 years ago, it must be a lot worse now.

However, if the Danish government think Danish butter is so dreadfully unhealthy that they are trying to tax their own citizens out of using it, I will take note and not buy Danish butter again.

If the Danish government clearly have no confidence in it, why should I?


Mr A said...

Yep, I am one of the truly demonised. I drink. I smoke. I drive a car. And I eat a low carb / high fat and protein diet, something which has resulted in my not only losing weight but being so healthy that when I told my Dr I smoked 20 a day he couldn't stop his jaw from hitting the floor. We may all moan about the complete lack of evidence for passive smoking. We may moan about the complete lack of evidence for AGW. But there is mountains of evidence demonstrating that low fat/high carb diets are a recipe for hunger, weight gain, diabetes, metabolic slowdown and thyroid problems and low carb diets are far more efficient for the body. Grains and rice etc are just rocket fuel for the body - there is no need for them and now we all sit around all day watching Jeremy Kyle rather than toiling in the fields, it's a recipe for porkerdom. Vegetables, some fruit, protein and oils. Anything else is just going to spike insulin levels and pack fat on you.

Yet again, I find myself thinking - "Why does this certain group of idiots get listened to, when others with opposing views (and the scientific evidence) don't?"

Unknown said...

It's really nice !

No win No fee

Anonymous said...

This is the 1980s (if not before) thinking. Even I know the current consensus is something like: fat ain't so bad, but over doing carbs is, if you sit on your arse all day.

But being seen to win the argument and force change is more important than doing the actual right thing. And according to WHO/ASH/BMA/etc, by hook or by crook we must be saved from ourselves.

Politicians love to be seen to be doing something, crusading for or against something that appears to be for the common good. They love to be publicly patted on the back by respected organisations like WHO. God, I hate them all.

So if Cameron commits to a punitive "fat tax", it will happen. Even if two million people march through central London in protest. Even if it risks his party losing the next general election.

Afterwards he will still be convinced it was the right thing to do (even when it becomes glaringly clear that it wasn't). Or doubtless he will tell us it was, in the most bare faced way. You know, like they do.

This story is depressing me a bit. None of life's pleasures can escape the righteous judgment of bloody do-gooders, baying for legislation to control or eliminate them.

On that note I'm going for a roll-up. My local sells the best salami and mature cheddar, sliced half an inch thick. With two pints of pale ale that should do nicely for tea.

Sorry to go on.