Wednesday 12 November 2008

It's all about control.

If only this were surprising these days:

Every business in the country will be encouraged to help fight the obesity epidemic, under a Government campaign to be announced today.

Encouraged, eh? I think we all know what that means by now.

[Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary] said: "I am today challenging every CEO of every company who can influence what we eat and how we exercise to come forward and tell us how they are going to help beat this national epidemic.

"Obesity affects us all so everyone must get involved."

You know, I almost agree with him: if the whole country's facing a crisis, then yes, perhaps everyone should get involved in solving the problem. Thing is, wouldn't that be an alternative to having a massive state? Isn't the whole point of crippling tax rates that, no, we don't have to get involved in these things 'cause the Government's doing it all for us? Apparently not. Apparently, we pay the Government a fortune so that they can then tell us to deal with problems ourselves. Well, OK, then. May I have my money back, then, please?

(Not, of course, that obesity really is a crisis.

Research for the Department of Health shows that almost nine out of ten parents fail to recognise that their children are overweight or obese.

Experts predict that half of adults could have weight problems by 2050, creating a health crisis expected to cost the NHS £50 billions.

Me, I'm waiting for the national eating-disorder crisis brought on by pushing parents to tell their kids they're obese. I predict we'll never hear about how much that costs the N"HS".)

And you know what? I'm sick to bloody death of Britain's chronic lack of anyone in a position of authority who can actually explain what's wrong with this. I mean, let's say you run a small business. You join the Federation of Small Businesses, so that they can represent your interests. And then what happens?

Stephen Alambritis, from the Federation of Small Businesses ... said: "If this message is targeted to the CEOs of the top FTSE companies that is understandable but at the moment many small employers are struggling to keep their staff on the payroll and it is not the right time to ask more of them."

I don't know how much it costs to join this federation, but you might be better off keeping that money to spend on lard.

The problem with this is not timing. This wouldn't be OK if the economy were doing beautifully. The problem is not that it will affect small businesses as well as big ones. The problem is that it is none of your damn business and you shouldn't want it to be. I'm working for a multinational bank at the moment. They're not a small business — they're bigger than many nation-states. They can certainly afford to get involved in these intitiatives, and [sigh] probably will. And, if they ever try and tell me what I'm allowed to eat, I will, in no uncertain terms, tell them to bugger off out of my private life. I am not paid to eat spinach.

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