In an ideal world, the government shouldn’t have much to do with what you eat on a daily basis. But in the current climate of mega conglomerates pumping out ads for cheap fast foods and access to a limitless supply of saturated fats, processed sugar and salt laced snacks, we could do with a little help when making decisions. George Monbiot examines the Tory governments move to abdicate government responsibility for the food intake of Britain in the name of ‘small government’:
Last week the health secretary Andrew Lansley sought to shift
responsibility for improving diets and preventing obesity from the state
to society. He blamed the problem on low self-esteem and deplored what
he called “a witch hunt against saturated fats, salt and sugars”(1).
In future poor diets would be countered by “social responsibility, not
state regulation.” From now on, he announced, communities will be left
to find their own solutions. The companies which make their money from
selling junk food and alcohol will be put in charge of ensuring that
people consume less of them. I hope you have spotted the problem.
Obesity is an epidemic in Britain with around a quarter of all adults being considered obese. It is an expensive malady to treat, and without government intervention to prevent fast food companies hooking us onto more junk we shouldn’t be eating, costs will rise even further — and of course the government will have to pick up the tab when it all falls apart.
While I’m all for people making their own decisions as to what they do in their personal lives, it is clear that many of us need to be saved from ourselves. Just as humans are not capable of self regulating when it comes to derivative trading, the same can be said about what we eat.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.