This afternoon I had the strange yet enjoyable experience of being on the Alan Titchmarsh Show to debate the merits of a sugar tax with a meddlesome doctor from Action on Sugar. Some people would say that this programme's Monday-Friday 3pm scheduling means that it is only watched by pensioners, invalids and the workshy, but they would be unkind people.
You can watch Alan's Ding Dong—for that it what it is actually called—here at about 25 minutes, if you can be bothered to sit through all the adverts. You can even watch till the end and watch some cheerleaders dunk their heads in a fish tank to test the water resistance of mascara. It's very much a variety show.
If you don't want to know the result, look away now.
The people holding the yellow paddles are voting against a sugar tax. As you can see, it is a landslide majority with one rather unhappy abstainer seated at the front, third from the left. I am the shorter of the two gentlemen standing self-consciously in the middle of the audience. The fellow to the left is the director of Action on Sugar who told the audience that "we are all getting massively obese", a comment which may not stand up against the facts. I offered him a selection of mini-chocolates after the show. He seemed non-plussed.
I won't pretend that Mr Titchmarsh's audience is demographically representative. You will search in vain for spring chickens. Nevertheless, these are the people who are most likely to vote. Politicians, be warned.