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Is this what Cameron’s “liberal conservatism” looks like? er no thanks….

October 5th, 2011 Posted in health, Nannying, Nudge Dredd by

Ignoring the fiasco of the PM’s speech today, something caught my attention at Tory party conference yesterday that left me literally gobsmacked. “Call me liberal-Dave” has come out into the open and confirmed that a FAT TAX may be introduced in Britain in order to curb what he describes as soaring health costs and falling life expectancy (and there was I thinking that people were actually living longer these days).

I suppose that we should not be surprised.. For every so-called liberal step forward this Government claims to make, the Conservative instinct to re-shape society into some perfect 1950s Utopia takes us 4 steps backward. So much for the end to the nanny state that was promised when the Conservative party was on the hunt for “liberal” votes.

The optimists amongst you will say…Ah but he is only saying that a FAT TAX might be introduced. And that might be fair. After all wasn’t it this Government’s public health minister (Anne Milton) who said,  just last month, that the government believed the best way to achieve results on obesity was through a collective voluntary effort...and that “We have no current plans to impose a ‘fat tax’, but we are working with food companies to reduce fat, sugar and salt and ensure healthier options are available”…..

But you optimists are going to be sadly disappointed I fear. When the Prime Minister says “Don’t rule anything out, but let’s look at the evidence then you know that we ordinary folks are in trouble.Because we know how this will be played out.  Any day now we’ll be told that there will be another “consultation” on health (costing who knows how much money) to “consider the evidence“. The “evidence”  that “liberal-Dave” refers to will come from tax-payer funded health lobbies, the BMA and other interest-groups whose position on this point is already clear. They are the ones who have been calling for a FAT TAX in the first place. So much for goverment groups not lobbying government. And, of course, that “evidence” will be nothing more than a long lament about how much the NHS costs and some rather feeble “modelling” of the “likely effects” of increased tax on our waistlines.  Doubtless being told along the way how “all academics” are 100% in agreement with the “research”. The narcissistic celebrity chefs will fall over themselves to get their sound-bites broadcast out across the nation. And the treasury will sit there quietly calculating just how much money will pour into the coffers under the guise of “helping the nations health”. Against the sheer might of the ludicrously over-funded health lobbyists, luvvie chefs and needs of the treasury – do you really think that this will be a balanced debate?

Yep I am sure that we will hear from the Food and Drink Federation, individual manufacturers and the like explaining what has been done so far and will be done in the future. Too little and too late my friends. The health lobbyists will point to your corporate interests and your huge profits and say that you are BIG Business and anything you say cannot be trusted. Only they – they purveyors of truth – must be listened to. And, oh yeah the BBC and the politicians will buy that line hook line and sinker.

Of course we normal folks know it is not at all clear that “FAT” is the problem. There is no clear agreement amongst scientists on exactly what is causing us to pile on the pounds. It might be the sugar, more likely the carbohydrates, possibly the salt etc. Not to mention lack of exercise – or indeed – stress. That of course won’t be a problem for the health lobby. When they have their FAT tax, they can come back again for a SODA tax, or a SALT tax…They have plenty to go at – and go at it they will. How else will their fat salaries be paid?

We have seen this played out before with tobacco, then alcohol and now food. We have seen governments and organisations (national and international) take £millions of tax from us to fund academics to sit in their ivory towers and tell us how much fat we should limit ourselves to; how many units of alcohol we can “safely” consume; how many litres of water we should drink; how many portions of veg to eat; how much exercise we should take;  how we should eat more fish (but not the small ones we throw back into the sea by the tonne, the nice middle class line-caught ones don’t you know);why we should eat less red meat (though we are now told that some red meat is good for us); eat more chicken (well Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall style chicken, not Bernard Matthews style chicken); how processed meat is linked to cancer so eat less; why Fair trade 100% dark chocolate is good for us (so eat more)…and on and on…

Frankly if they shut down every government funded health lobby group in the UK alone and gave the money back to us, the taxpayers, we could all probably afford to eat more healthily. We would certainly all be a lot less stressed.

In the meantime “liberal Dave’s” threat to “consider the evidence” on the FAT tax is not only insulting and nannying – it is downright dishonest. There is no evidence – just a range of well-funded lobbyists with too much money and influence and too little commonsense. Glass of wine anyone?

2 Responses to “Is this what Cameron’s “liberal conservatism” looks like? er no thanks….”

  1. Jack Hughes Says:

    Cameron is a twit. He is reaching out to the Polly Toynbee mindset – forgetting that they will never vote for him no matter what he does. He is fighting on a battleground of their choosing and will always lose.

    He is obsessed with his focus groups and his own image.


  2. Angela Harbutt Says:

    Jack – He honestly appears to obsessed with something new each week… and pandering to the “something-must-be-doners” is possibly the worst possible group to pander to.