At the End of the Day


In the Kingdom of the Left, the one-eyed man is Kuckoo

Andy ‘shagger’ Burnham is a fully signed-up member of that club memorably referred to by Rupert Everett as “f**king New Labour idiots”. The former Health Secretary (who gave Trust Status to Stafford Hospital when it was almost a clone of Dachau concentration camp) is pure Big State Left: if a cultural symptom pops up to question the precepts of the liberal progressive tendency, we can rely a hundred per cent on him to demand legislation.

He proved this once again yesterday by arguing that the only answer to the ill-disciplined blobbiness of our population is to bash the manufacturers of things they like. “My voting franchise requires a winch to get them to the polling booth, and is dying off at a disturbing rate. So it is only fair and right that the commercial sectors responsible for their state should face yet another illiberal, interfering law.” Standard fare among the ranks of those who believe the only thing to blame, ever, is capitalism and its consumer society.

Obesity is caused by many things, sometimes in concert, sometimes not. They include poor parental examples, depression, unemployment, life traumas, appallingly low self-esteem, pack sizes deliberately designed to provoke greed, lack of exercise, poor health education (and food) at school, and above all, a hopeless lack of self-discipline. The obligatory and regular study (and use) of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) in schools would be a good start. Listening to Jamie Oliver would help too. But the key requirement here is a culture shock of the kind Andy Burnham could barely imagine, let alone think about or recommend. As a card-carrying Pointless Pol, his solution to everything is either “pass a law” or “make sure you never sign anything”. More legislation is the last thing we need.

I do agree with those who argue that, given cultural transformation is a long-term fix, we should get something moving in the meantime. I am not a fan of “there’s so much to do, I don’t know where to start, so I wont”, but please Andrew you limp tosser – enough with the Statute Book already. This is a case for the unique Slogarithmic approach to taxation based on anti-social behaviour, not something arbitrary like a person’s salary.

Here’s how it will work once you anoint me as your Lifetime Emperor of the Old People’s Republic of Dorvon: tell the manufacturers  they can distribute as many goliath-sized Mars bars and pizzas as they like, but the product will be taxed heavily at retail, and further draconian taxes levied upon the makers as a corporation tax supplement. This supplement will be high in nastiness, and low in shareholder value. And there will be no lobbying against it, because on Day One of the Slogonian Empire, all commercial lobbying of Government will be punishable by public toenail-pulling, rounded off with ritual disembowelment.

Thus weebly-wobblies will still wibble into shops in the hope of buying laptop-sized Yorkie bars, but there won’t be any there…..because the bean counters over in Slough or wherever will have decreed the production of something high in healthiness, and low in taxiness. It’s also very likely that the accountants will save further production costs by leaving out the anti-bug elements in the formulation, thus producing an outbreak of listeria sufficient to cull most of the target audience – and bankrupt the Marestlé corporation. All’s well that ends well in Slogonia, where the order of the day is Sell them More Rope, and they will Hang Themselves.

There can be no gain without pain for those who wish to live a balanced life during which lessons are learned. And in such a world, there would be no place for either Stalinist pillocks who see the population as little more than fodder, or neocon sociopaths who see all tax as theft. The old adage applies as ever: a little less blame and a little more responsibility, a little less denialism and a lot more accountability.

Earlier at The Slog: Why the gloves are coming off in the battle for mercantile supremacy

44 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. “Shagger” Burnham? Of what, I wonder……..
    Yet another example of the self appointed British Political Priesthood who’ve never had a real job, lecturing people who live in the real world on what’s good for them. Pity he wasn’t so keen to micro-manage Stafford Hospital when he was Health Minister, the creepy little twerp.


  2. While not being able to find anything in the above to disagree with, taking supplements of Magnesium and Chromium will make sugary foods far less agreeable. I used to quite enjoy a can of Dr Pepper on a hot day until I started taking the above minerals. Now, the taste of sugary drinks is almost unpleasant. My wasteline is a bit slimmer as a result.


  3. The bit that amazes me about all politicians is how they believe they can pass a law like “do not walk on the grass”.

    It only works if people know, understand and abide by the law without loopholes and clauses to make it possible to circumvent anytime you feel like it.


  4. Poor fat people! (Of which David Cameron is one – )

    It strikes me as terribly unjust somehow that governments unwilling to tackle poverty or re-evaluate the economic models they follow that lead to poverty, should then wish to penalise the obese….most of whom are, statistically, the poor and struggling.

    The poor are more likely to be fat from eating cheap junk food, and small affordable comforts like chocolate bars – unlike the rich who can comfort themselves at Harvey Nichols, on Caribbean and ski holidays, and eating turbot & caviare. (While any excess can be worked off in expensive gym/spa clubs, or walking / riding / shooting on country weekends.)

    There is fat and fat – Christopher Soames too-much-fat-of-the land obesity vs pallid-unhealthy-deprived lives obesity.

    The poor really get the rough end of the stick – the worst housing, jobs, food, and the social misery – yes! – of being overweight too. And I dare say in the majority of cases, depressed and with low self esteem. Since their plight is not unrelated to successive governments’ policies over several decades, it seems quite cheeky (to put it mildly) to stigmatise them further on the basis of what they cost to the health system!

    As for more privileged fatties, it is usually emotional; and the same self-esteem misery goes along with it – mostly resistant to and not improved by stigmatisation.

    The fact that the UK has such a widespread obesity problem says – to me anyway – that something is VERY amiss culturally.


  5. The motor industry reduced emissions at a relatively enormous rate when company car taxation was based upon emissions.
    It affected the vehicles that drivers chose too.
    And today emissions are significantly lower per car.


  6. Why does Burnham or any of these politicians get any airtime at all outside of parliament, there isn’t an election for years. They should perhaps try and have thorough and competent debates in the House of Commons more often if they have a message to get across.
    Each party’s cliques come up with something they want us to know (not think about or debate, there is a difference), every single day of the year. Without exception the issue is poorly thought-out, usually wrong, and almost always self-serving. Is there no editorial competence in the mainstream media which can discern whether it deserves publicity, or whether it is just PR fluff.
    If you have a free press, you have to trust them to work out what is important or timely, and what can just be filed away meantime.
    Most TV bulletins from main channels tamely repeat almost item for item what their competitors are doing (you should be forgiven for assuming news is centrally co-ordinated) .
    We need fewer politicians, and less words from them.


  7. “…something is VERY amiss culturally…”

    It is.

    And it has been since the ‘liberal left’ became entrenched in, or totally infiltrated the establishment in the 1950s & 1960s


  8. The relationship between corpulence and food/calorie intake is less simplistically obvious than our dumbed down ‘culture’ would have us believe. Much weight and bloating in the unhealthy is due to the build up of water, mucopolysaccharides and inflammatory swelling. Ppl with congestive heart or kidney failure, for example, can retain water and often look obese. Hypothyroidism is notoriously underdiagnosed due to a blood test that is unfit for purpose, and, even when diagnosed, treated inappropriately with synthetic hormones which are also unfit for purpose.

    The poor gain weight because they are forced to get by on cheap carbohydrates, especially wheat based foods (even ‘budget’ sausages and meatballs mainly consist of wheat). The modern wheat hybrids phased in over recent decades, contain toxins which were not present in the wheat our grandparents ate, and these toxins can cause massive bloating.

    Lack of protein in the diets of the poor, coupled with the enforced bias towards consumption of carbs, also messes with insulin levels. When insulin is too high, all available energy from food gets locked down in the body’s fat cells (also promoting the fatigue, lethargy and apathy the disadvantaged are slated for, because their undernourished metabolisms can’t unlock any energy from their fat cells, to let them get on their bikes and Take Risks). In famine-struck regions of Africa the condition, kwashiorkor is well understood as making starved children appear deceptively plump.

    In fact if you are fasting but something pushes your insulin too high, your body will start breaking down muscle tissue and converting it to fat. Thus you can STILL GET FATTER ON ZERO CALORIE CONSUMPTION, because that is what raging insulin does.

    Fructose added to all manner of foods (especially cheap processed ones) messes with the brain’s satiety levels and triggers intense hunger reactions (as does aspartame which many use under the illusion it is slimming.)

    See the books ‘Wheat Belly’ by William Davis and ‘Why We Get Fat’ by Gary Taubes.

    Bottom line, the ‘calories create fat’ theory is, when you look at the data, scientifically unproven (although pragmatcally proven wrong by everyone who has empirically found that ‘diets’ do not work). Just like the related theory that assumes that nudging a swollen, inflamed and bloated pauper suffering from long-term malnutrition onto a treadmill for hours on end, will do anything other than nudge them into their early grave considerably sooner. Although our government probably knows all this, even if Daily Mail readers do not.


  9. Andy Burnham is obviously a puppet that escaped from Thunderbirds. The recent demise of his creator Gerry Anderson has clearly left him in need of control.


  10. +1
    The problem is far more complex than just over eating.

    A lot of our food is industrially produced and optimised solely for yield,
    rather than nutritional content. The poor eat the worst of it and lack the essential nutrients their bodies crave, hence they eat more of it to try and get what they lack. Obesity is the new malnutrition.

    Rather than trying to ban our way to nirvana, our pols should be initiating some kind of deep and rational study of why obesity is such a chronic problem in the UK not US and yet relatively mild on continental Europe.

    Of course the none of the neo-liberal main parties will ever ask that question as the answer will surely impact on the profits of big agra and the supermarkets.


  11. Andy Burnham is a fathead. I very much agree with (the post and) the comments by Eleni and DomesticE above; legislating on a multifactorial issue whilst perpetuating the cultural dysfunctions that are generating it is not bright and likely (sorry) to do a fat lot of good. At more than 6′ 2″ and less than 12 stone, however, I have to accept that my views may not carry much weight.


  12. Sorry sir,
    Fiction flies in the face of facts with this post.
    No doubt fuelled by a few more bottles of empty calories from Tesco by the wannabee somebody aka Lifetime Emperor of the Old People’s Republic of Dorvon.
    Do you know what goes into these breakfast cereals – those fortifying vitamins , the sugar, the mystery X ingredients ? Answer NO.
    The likes of Kelloggs, Heinz and other processors have a lot to answer for – but everyone keeps on buying them. Have you seen their share price histories, the dividends ? Obviously not. Have you wondered what’s wrong with other people’s kids today? No.
    Andy Burnham is a hard working, thinking, caring, articulate and intelligent member of the political scene today.
    Parents need to wake up and give children what’s good for them.


  13. Domestic….

    The UK has a problem with obesity not the US? What f**ing planet are you living on? Cheap meat is stuffed full of growth hormones, that of course, has no effect on humans.

    This site, FYI, is supposed to be abour bo**ocks deconstruction, not adding to it.


  14. On a general note guess who has the most fatties in the world, both per capita and in number. You’d think America and be wrong.

    It’s China.


  15. Do most people with average incomes eat “things they like” or things they can afford? If your answer is the latter, seems obvious to me that the ones who get stupidly rich at our expenses should at least have the decency of letting us know, in a easy to understand way, what kind of shite are they throwing in our food. Guess that in the Kingdom of the Pseudo-Libertarians-who-whorship-the-Market some courtier is a bit lost for stuff to throw eggs at.

    PS: Sorry about any grammatical mistakes, english its not my first language.


  16. On the other hand perhaps removing the tax on tobacco products would once again allow kids to gather in the bike sheds for a sly fag instead of stuffing their faces with comfort food.
    Demonizing one thing has a knock on effect to another don`t you think?
    Plus as the cancer kicks in later on there would be fewer people living longer and clogging up the corridors of hospitals and drawing pensions. Hence more resources available for the fortunate few who survived to old age.


  17. This isn’t anout having money and being thin. This is about culture and education. We need to develop something better in the schools to help develop a positive lifestyle which isn’t being developed at home. This goes for financial education too.

    Why in Sweden is it normal for people to be active. After a meal on a Sunday everyone gets their boots on and goes for a walk. Yes we do it here, but not enough of us. City living does impede this behaviour somewhat, but we have great local leisure centre sports provision in this country so it is not about facilities or cost, it’s all down to culture.

    Thankfully the war on alcohol has finally started (30 yrs too late). This “cultural” shift will be slow but it is needed. Every foreign person i know (married to one so meet a lot) cannot believe how much we all drink. I speak from experience having lived with a middle class alcoholic mother (night drinker only), who is still very fit and healthy, but drinks too much wine. For a typical office woman it is seen as cool to drink a bottle of wine a night – WTF? Unless we get on top of the alcohol problem, fattness is here to stay.


  18. Andy Burnham is a hard working, thinking, caring, articulate and intelligent member of the political scene today.

    And I’m Napoleon Bonaparte.


  19. “Andy Burnham is a hard working, thinking, caring, articulate and intelligent member of the political scene today” ———————– Having a bad Sunday? Out of 5 characteristics you managed to get 4 wrong! I’ll give you that he’s articulate. He’s been spouting BS for years without stop.


  20. Hiero…I have to accept that my views may not carry much weight. Very witty. Into the vino already? Mombasa, actually. Very clever guess!


  21. On a reliable science study,Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup should be avoided like the plague.The brain cannot equate eating Fructose and feeling full,whereas the opposite is observed for Glucose.
    Alcohol is converted into triglycerides,nasty fats.
    HFCs bypass metabolic pathways which produce fat and high levels of dangerous circulating fat.
    Away from the science,GPs surgeries in the hands of private comapnies are “seen”to be more effecient.What they do is have an efficient administrative unit that fulfils all QOOF points and extracts maximum money,but you will never see the same doctors twice or have any empathy.


  22. Also check out scientific research into the sugar substitute aspartame. The irony is that white sugar is bad for you so you buy “diet” products with this toxin in it, but succeed in screwing up your health even more quickly


  23. Habari Bigbwana, it was Nelson’s Blood I’m afraid.. Was in Mombasa ’79 and went up to Lamu. Stayed in Nairobi with a contact who was under manager at the Norfolk – always wondered if he survived the bombing.


  24. IMHO, T.Bliar added to the alcohol problem in UK, by allowing open all hours drinking. He seemed to think we would become like the French & sit all night with a small Marc, whereas the Anglo-Saxon culture was always to drink beer – & lots of it. He has debauched a whole generation of young people, & caused a lot of young women to have liver problems they would not otherwise have had. He has a lot to answer for on that score alone.
    It is a disgrace to have brought all this about, & then to blame people who have succumbed to it.


  25. @Mo

    Blair also added to the alcohol problem in the UK because of the number who drank to excess, to blot out (even temporarily) Blair’s presence…


  26. I tried to buy a healthy picnic dinner in Shrewsbury once, and spent ages searching for somewhere to buy a bit of bread cheese and some fruit, it took ages, in the end I managed to find Marks and Spencers, but there were plenty of places to buy chocolate and crisps ect.


  27. In “scientific” research on obesity has anyone asked how the lab rats are made to be fat in the first place? Apparently these lab rats are given huge amounts of MSG. You will find MSG in most packaged foods, sometimes called a flavour enhancer, MSG can make even cardboard taste good. Try finding a packet of crisps without MSG and what is the diet of most young people? It is disengenous of the so-called experts in the health and food industries to continue to label obese people as lazy, undisciplined etc. The modern food industry promotes obesity and then you get a raft of so-called diet-aids and therapies all jumping on the bandwagon. It’s a money-making machine.

    Other influences on obesity are the vaccinations and antibiotics that everyone has to take – these seriously disturb the digestive flora and fauna that should be found in a healthy individual. There is a lot of food available to westerners but there are still severe nutritional deficiencies caused by the industrialised food production techniques and the disruption of normal digestive systems.


  28. I’ll inform Bob Geldof. Good news for Ethiopians . Here’s me thinking you had to eat loads of junk food high in saturated fats,such as deep fried KFC ,McDonald’s ,chips with everything /all expensive.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s