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How to Solve the Obesity Crisis!

By Sara Scarlett
January 9th, 2014 at 4:55 pm | No Comments | Posted in drugs, health, Nannying, UK Politics

Replace sugar with cocaine.


My work here is done…

Seriously, though – the Government has been giving huge amounts of free money to the Sugar Industry and the Corn Industry, which produces High Fructose Corn syrup, for decades. Before any taxes are imposed on people who enjoy their sugar responsibly, perhaps it would be wise to cease subsidising these industries instead.


David Whitehouse

By Sara Scarlett
July 25th, 2013 at 12:17 pm | 2 Comments | Posted in Civil Liberties, Nannying

Screen shot 2013-07-25 at 12.12.04

I’ve been waiting a while to get this image back out. Isn’t it beautiful?

Anyway, Dave’s top anti-porn adviser, Claire Perry, has made one silly mistake after another and is now being sued by Guido. But why does David Cameron think he can restrict access to/censor/ban any type of porn in the first place? Even Saudi Arabia and China can’t manage that. What about explicit written material? That’s a lot harder to censor.

Restrictions on the internet are worthless and we have to accept that we live in a world where it can’t be done making policy in light of that fact rather than in denial of it.  But then deep down we all know it’s not about porn or ‘protecting the children’. It’s about thought crime. Well, I’m sorry Mr. Cameron but not everyone thinks like you and just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right.

Lettuce celebrate the work of Sir Malcolm Bruce

By Leslie Clark
June 8th, 2013 at 5:23 pm | No Comments | Posted in Liberal Democrats, Nannying

Scottish Liberal Democrats held a dinner last night to celebrate Malcolm Bruce’s thirty years of service as MP.

In light of his recent comments on the need to eat less meat, did the distinguished member for Gordon take the vegetarian option?

I think we should be told.


Lads’ Mags: Ridicule, Don’t Ban.

By Leslie Clark
May 27th, 2013 at 6:08 pm | No Comments | Posted in Nannying

As reported over on LDV, a new campaign has been launched to remove lads’ magazines from UK retailers. Lose the Lads’ Mags, headed by UK Feminista and Object Update, claim:

“Lads’ mags promote sexist attitudes and behaviours. They normalise the idea that it’s acceptable to treat women like sex objects. Yet despite widespread criticism over the years, high-street supermarkets and newsagents have continued to display and sell these degrading and harmful publications.”

The crux of their argument is displaying these magazines may contravene sections of the Equality Act of 2010.

Sexist attitudes are still too prevalent in society but as a liberal, I abhor the idea of censoring or removing material because another individual deems it offensive or degrading. In the same way we won’t ban ourselves to better health by promoting plain packaging for cigarettes, we won’t become a more equal society by hiding away Nuts and Zoo. However, this campaign actually wants to go one step further: it isn’t about shielding sleazy magazines from the view of kiddywinks – as most retailers have already done – but removing them in their entirety.

People who are sad enough to read such publications ought to be ridiculed and sniggered at. In many ways, you are what you read: if you like reading a blokey wank-rag, you’re almost certainly a wanker. Sales of magazines like FHM, Zoo and Nuts have been falling dramatically, so perhaps the message is already getting through.

Interestingly, the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign was launched in the same month as it was reported in Saudi Arabia that a Salafist-Wahhabist cleric declared women should be prohibited from using air-conditioners in the absence of their husbands. Kinda puts it all in perspective.

Does feminism stop at the UK border? UK Feminista, an organisation supposedly helping “people to campaign for a world where women and men are equal” seem remarkably parochial and misguided in their sense of priorities.

UPDATE: On a boring semantic point, the title may mislead you into thinking the campaign wants to ban all lads’ mags. As covered in the article, it is about removing such publications from retailers. It would still be possible to procure such quality titles from elsewhere so it is not a ‘ban’ per se. Apologies for any confusion caused.

Norman Lamb: Doh!

By Angela Harbutt


Only a short while ago Norman Lamb MP was one of our best. He stood up, and spoke out, on principle against needless government intrusion. A true poster boy for all those liberals amongst us who object to the nanny state telling adults how to live our lives.

Back in 2008, when the the Labour government suggested hiding cigarettes behind shutters in shops, Norman was one of the first to speak out. As Shadow Health Minister he rightly stated :

“This is the nanny state going too far.”

And he didn’t stop there. He also said

“This will hit small businesses with added costs while there is no clear evidence that it will actually reduce the number of young people smoking.”

And indeed he said this:

“The Government is obsessed with headline-grabbing gimmicks instead of tackling the real problems. Buying tobacco for children must be made a criminal offence. Ministers also need to clamp down on the shockingly high amount of tobacco that is smuggled illegally into this country.”

Where is that man we wonder? Roll on to 2013 and, when in a position to actually have an impact on the excesses of the nanny state, low and behold he pops up in the Guardian saying:

“As a liberal I would always defend someone’s right to smoke, if that’s what they choose to do. But, given we’re dealing here with a product that kills between 80,000 and 100,000 people a year, I think it’s legitimate for government to seek to control the marketing of that deadly product…”


Well, Norman, nothing has changed since 2008. Cigarettes are bad for you. Sure. But no more than they were in 2008, when you were against the display ban. Adults should be treated as adults – even when you are in power.

If ever there was a policy that was nothing more than a “headline-grabbing gimmick” (your words), banning coloured boxes must surely be it? What happened to your concern about the impact of policy gimmicks on small businesses? And why choose this point to ignore the 500,000 voters who registered their opposition to this policy during the consultation? Back in 2008 your concern was rightly focused on the black-market and proxy purchasing. Why, when in power, choose to support a policy that will make it actually easier and cheaper for organised crime to counterfeit cigarettes? You were against the tobacco display ban – but it was introduced anyway – why not at least wait to measure the effectiveness of that policy (and the ban on tobacco vending machines) before arguing for yet more legislation?

Picture courtesy of "Hands Off Our Packs"

Picture courtesy of “Hands Off Our Packs”

You say that:

“I think it would be a legacy for this government to have legislated on something which would be a landmark public health reform and to be out there in front in Europe.”

Great. If that’s the case [or indeed if it is, as it seems, just the usual politician's desire to be "seen" to be doing something]  here are a few policies that may assist you in leaving a health legacy you can actually be proud of.


1. Clear the path for e-cigarettes. This revolution is leaving you behind. Hundreds of thousands are electing to choose this product – yet you waste your time on ruling what colour of boxes you think adults should look at – a campaign gimmick that is untried, untested and unwanted. If you want to be “out there in front of Europe” then let’s get as many e-cigarettes out there as possible. If you hadn’t noticed – they are working – unlike the tired, unimaginative and dangerous “more of the same” policies coming from those in tobacco control. Note that Chris Davies [Libdem] MEP seems to be way ahead of you [see "Politics at it should be done"]

2. Introduce a ban on proxy purchasing (your idea from 2008). Smoking is an adult pursuit. If your concern is children, then make it illegal to purchase cigarettes on behalf of minors.

3. And while you are at it, increase the penalties on those caught selling cigarettes to kids.

4. Act on counterfeiting. Fake cigarettes sell at half the price of UK duty paid cigarettes. Quite attractive to cash strapped youngsters don’t you think? They are sold to minors at school gates, car book sales and markets. They don’t ask for ID, and they don’t care who they sell to. Why not introduce some serious penalties for smuggling and counterfeiting?

That is just four for starters – and they really do start to look like a liberal legacy we can all be proud of.

PS: With great relief we note that education minister, David Laws, and the Home Office minister, Jeremy Browne are reported to remain firmly against this policy.

Seen elsewhere on this topic: “Norman Lamb:Perfect Example of the Genre” and “Open Minded?

Angela Harbutt is currently campaigning against the introduction of plain packaging of tobacco.

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