Tuesday 16 May 2017

A Good Aussie Speaks Up, Again

As another entry in an occasional series, let's look in on Sydney Australia for more outstanding parliamentarian contributions from this blog's chum, Peter Phelps.

If you've not heard of him before, my introduction from October last year might help.
Those with a good memory might remember Peter Phelps, an Australian politician and Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council. Phelps is notable for being incredibly principled in defending liberal values in such an illiberal environment as NSW, and in a chamber which is situated in nanny state central Sydney. As such, I was thrilled to unexpectedly meet him in July during a coffee break at a Royal Society of Medicine event on over-regulation of pleasure
Last year - when he was government whip no less - I wrote about how he casually entered a chamber packed full of variously ignorant prejudiced prohibitionists armed only with insults, smears, innuendo, wild assumptions, and downright lies, and placed in front of them simple incontrovertible facts about e-cigarettes. 
And arguably won hands down.
That article was about how he was speaking at New South Wales's "Inquiry into childhood overweight and obesity", and bedevilling a dried-up crone who believes kids should be deprived McDonald's, Coca-Cola and chocolate because, erm, because she knows better than a kid's parents how to bring up their own kids.

Well our Peter has been doing the same again last week, this time revealing some inconvenient truths to politicians in his state who feel it's their job to dictate what people eat and drink. Which, of course, it is not.
The real problem is that, in fact, there is no obesity epidemic. The obesity epidemic is a myth, especially an obesity epidemic amongst children. For example, the most current report of the Australian Bureau of Statistics says: 
Around one in four children … aged 5-17 years were overweight or obese, similar to 2011.
That statement made me go back to the 2009 ABS report, which said: 
In 2007-08, one-quarter of all Australian children … were overweight or obese …
So I went back even further and noted that this number has not changed. The obesity epidemic is so great that there has been no real change in the number of overweight or obese children. I went back even further and found that, based on children's body mass index [BMI], from 1995 onwards—in other words for the past 20 years—there has been no substantive change. Indeed, the ABS makes the point in its 2009-10 yearbook that differences between the numbers in 1995 and 2007-08 are not statistically significant. 
That means that there is no statistically significant difference in the number of overweight children between 1995 and 2007-08—and by implication at the current time. The whole idea that there is an obesity crisis or an obesity epidemic is complete and utter bunkum.
It's almost like politicians don't even read the statistics that are collated for them at huge expense to the taxpayer, isn't it?

The result of all this propaganda, of course, is that the New South Wales parliament wants to restrict certain popular food and drink items from being sold in school canteens, in order to tackle an obesity 'epidemic' which doesn't actually exist except in the fevered, grant-thirsty minds of state-subsidised 'public heath' snobs.
They are saying, "It is not about restricting choice, but we're going to restrict choice." (it's true, see here - DP)  Is there a more Kafkaesque press release than this? "We're not restricting choice; we're just restricting choice." That is the sort of nonsense we face.
Phelps then goes for the jugular, in amusing fashion.
Welcome to the New South Wales education system where, in health and personal development classes and sex education, students can be told, "It's okay to fellate your boyfriend three times a week, but because of health requirements you can only have a sausage roll once every semester."
And whose fault is the latter (I'm certainly not going to comment on the former!)? Well, Phelps knows that - as we do - very well.
Who are the people pushing this nonsense? There is a willing cohort of public health activists who are always ready to fabricate a crisis to get on the public teat and get a bit of Government money. 
[I]f you look at the arguments that are used more often than not and the statistics for soft drinks—and I recognise the member's comments on sugar taxes—you will see that it is not based on any real evidence. In Australia there is a declining consumption of sugary drinks in the entire population and most notably amongst children. The only real growth in soft drinks happens at the level of those aged 50 and over. Why does this happen? Because there are people who believe that your body belongs to the State. It is the mantra of public health totalitarians everywhere. It has unfortunate resonances with the totalitarian regimes of Europe in the 1930s, whether of a red or a black variety. Both basically said that your body belongs to the State. When we accept that as a basic premise, we have lost the true meaning of what it is to be a classical liberal in this day and age.
Damn right!

And, as Phelps also points out, this is a hark back to the principle of sumptuary law, whereby poor people are deemed not worthy of consuming what rich elites do without a care. In other words, naked and unabashed, bigoted snobbery.

Of course, when you call out such bigots and snobs, they don't react very well, as Australia's state-funded broadcaster eagerly reported (click through for video clip).
There are now calls for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to pull Dr Phelps into line after he criticised his own Government's new healthy school canteen strategy. 
The Opposition's health spokesman, Walt Secord, said Dr Phelp's remarks crossed the line. 
"I think it's time the Premier acted on Dr Phelps ... he does this on a weekly bases he just makes outlandish, outrageous comments and he is beginning to treat the Parliament like a 1950s locker room," he said.
We don't want none of that truth thing in parliament, now do we? He has to be removed or, before you know it, the public will be able to make their own choices without being hectored by tax-sponging control freaks waving shrouds and junk science ... and then where would we be?

Well played Mr Phelps, again, the world sorely needs more truth-telling myth-slayers like you.

See also: When political correctness matters more than common sense - Spectator

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