Guidance From Nannies

What’s wrong with a fat tax? A guding state or a nanny state?

Thanks to the joys of SkyPlus I caught up with a fascinating BBC programme that was originally aired a week or so ago. If … we don’t stop eating was part of a series that I wan’t following but, I have to admit, I was attracted to this show thanks to a very large billboard advertising it (but, like every one, advertising never works on me).

I hadn’t seen the others in the series so I wasn’t prepared for the mix of talking-head, documentary footage and fiction. If .. we don’t stop eating looked to 2020 in a Britain where obesity is the biggest killer in the country and is predicted to effect one in three people; there are no tested drug treatments and any help from an over-worked NHS relies on your co-operation (failure to co-operate means that treatment is revoked).

It was very, very well done, thought-provoking and, when it came to looking at what over-eating does for us, it was a little unpleasant. And very worthwhile. It discussed medical and political solutions to this growing threat to Britain’s health. I particularly liked the analysis of the fat tax:

NARRATION: By the end of 2020 the Government’s efforts are rapidly going off-course. Consumers won’t be bullied, and the food industry plays on fears of an
interfering nanny state. The idea of a fat tax is history.

And, helpfully, the BBC has a transcript online which allows me to tell you that it’s Tim Land, a Professor of Food Policy, who has one of the best lines in the programme, when in responses to the suggestion that any fax tax will be played up as being the nanny state interfering in people’s lives:

TIM LANG: PROFESSOR OF FOOD POLICY: I say what’s wrong with nannies! Most of the people who criticise the nanny state have actually got nannies! Have you ever noticed that? Anyway, delete the word `nanny’ and call it `parent’ and we’re all suddenly in favour of it! Actually, I like guidance – what’s wrong with guidance? Let’s hear it for nannies!

Are those McDonaald’s salads a sign of things to come?