BORIS Johnson has placed on pause his war on obesity (discussed here) by delaying bans on in-store promotions and pre-watershed advertising of unhealthy foods. Both were due to come into force this year, but have been pushed back to October 2023 and January 2024 respectively. The rationale? To help alleviate the burden of the current cost-of-living crisis on families, apparently.
By the Prime Minister’s own admission, his multiple lockdowns (strictly necessary, of course) caused an already fat nation to become even fatter (11m 30s in) yet he daren’t admit to their having also cooked the economy, the spurious cause for the postponement of his Great National Diet. It was Putin who did that. All Putin.
That he is now hinting at some half-baked notion that eating junk foods may cannily bring down the cost of a weekly shop during this time of economic hardship is ludicrous in the extreme.
What on earth is he playing at? Is he, for example, attempting a deliberate post-pandemic fattening-up of the nation after receiving threats from the billionaires of Big Food, for whom an increasingly fit and trim Britain would represent a massive shortfall in profits? He yielded to the cajoling of Big Pharma, forcing us to remain at home until the market was ripe for the distribution of their lucrative yet equally hazardous gene-based panaceas.
Or has he gone fully insane, and actually thinks junk food becomes less harmful to health during economic decline, but more so during a pandemic? Perhaps. He did sanction the use of face masks in restaurants, but only when standing up, suggesting the virus somehow prowled only the avenue to the toilet, as if repelled by pizza and profiteroles. I wouldn’t put it past him to believe the toxicity of trans fats to be directly contingent upon the fluctuations of the economy, and not the habits of those consuming them in abundance.
In effect this temporary suspension of his post-lockdown BMI war means that as a nation we now risk growing even fatter, despite obesity being one of the more potent comorbidities responsible for death from/by/with Covid-19. Consequently, when the next pandemic strikes (which we are repeatedly warned is likely within five years) as a nation we will find ourselves in a worse position than in 2020.
Lockdowns are not ruled out for future implementation; we might then grow fatter still, once again sitting at home ‘doing our bit’ by doing nothing, the circle of public health madness completing itself once more, like a giant iced doughnut.
Public health lunacy and paradoxical pandemic countermeasures aside, why can’t the Prime Minister at the very least still press ahead with the pre-watershed advertising ban? What would be the harm in following through on that particular objective?
In failing to do so it’s as if he – holier than thou hippo-crite par excellence – is actively encouraging the consumption of toxic processed food. Is this an attempt to erase from our memories his socio-economic pandemic crimes – each pound of national blubber gained part of a perverse heroic tackling of the cost-of-living crisis his own damn creation? Does his amorality know any bounds at all?
What other hybrid personal health/finance stratagems might the Fat Controller suggest to the poor, during this, his supposed new era of personal responsibility – smoking to stunt appetite, a few Lambert & Butler per day cheaper than forking out on quality nutrition? Vaccination against hunger, thus freeing income to spend on petrol and energy bills? Nothing would surprise.
Do you ever get the feeling that we’re all merely playdough in Johnson’s A La Carte Kitchen – our sensibilities pounded, minced, rolled, and cut into shapes as he attempts to cobble together a picnic to impress his make-believe friends of the post-Covid International Order?