Saturday, July 10, 2010

Things that annoy me. No 3, “The Nanny State”

There are two things that annoy me more than people going on about the nanny state, although they happen to escape me just now.

Felicity Lawrence wrote a good article in the Guardian on 8th July heaping scorn on health minister Lansley. Eager to show that the Tories are a front for unscrupulous businesses, he says no need to regulate the food industry, lets treat obesity as a moral failure, all we need is for everyone to just eat more responsibly.

Lets take a step back and survey the scene.   A privileged elite has found a way to enrich itself by creating ill-health in the population; and has created a culture in which personal freedom is deemed the highest good, which is to be interpreted to mean freedom for children to choose crisps and food companies to sell them.
Judging by the blogs at the end of the article even some Guardian readers fall for this (or are they paid by the food industry to leave these comments??)
Afterthought: I think, but I'm not sure, that the Americans conduct these discussions without benefit of the expression “nanny state”.  Even so, there's plenty of opportunity for shouting at the radio.
Listen to this American discussion of Taxing Soft Drinks.  It deals with soda pop, obesity and studies that link soft drink consumption to America's growing obesity epidemic and spiralling healthcare costs. Calls have been made for a new tax on sugary soft drinks. Hear a corporate "libertarian" argue against the proposed tax.
It’s an episode of The Diane Rehm Show (American University Radio, WAMU). October 15, 2009.

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