Wednesday, 1 August 2018

"Whilst we cannot ban food..."

News from the Democratic People's Republic of Scotland...

Food shoppers should be confronted with graphic images of tooth decay and bowel cancer on products such as confectionary [sic] and red meat to encourage them to make healthier choices, according to a psychologist hired to advise Food Standards Scotland.

Leave aside the blatant slippery slope. Ignore the relentless, patronising, miserable nannying. Forget the fact that Scotland has no authority to introduce mandatory food labelling.

Instead, ask this question. What the hell has it got to do with Food Standards Scotland

Food Standards Scotland is the Scottish equivalent of the Food Standards Agency. I mentioned the Food Standards Agency in Sock Puppets as a classic example of mission creep in the public sector:

Public choice theory provides a plausible explanation for why governments fail to deliver what is expected of them, both in terms of public services (which are hampered by bureaucratic inefficiency) and legislation (which is hijacked by special interests). It explains why bureaucracies become ever more bloated and taxes rise ever higher, even under governments which come to power on a ticket of deregulation and smaller government. It explains why bureaucracies are so resistant to budget cuts and why it tends to be frontline services, rather than management, which bear the brunt of such cuts if and when they arrive. It explains why an organisation like the Food Standards Agency can go from having a tiny staff investigating restaurant poisonings to having a staff of 2,000, a budget of £135 million and a mission that has expanded to campaigning against salt, fat and eating crisps during football matches.

These organisations are supposed to ensure that the food we buy on the high street is safe. They were not set up to deter people from eating food.

So who is this expert who is having taxpayers' money shovelled at her via Food Standards Scotland?

Emma Kenny, a behavioural psychologist who has commentated on television shows such as Celebrity Big Brother in the past...

The hallmark of a serious scientist! She is also a vlogger and writes a column for the renowned scientific journal Closer.

Why has a pop psychologist been recruited by the government?

Ms Kenny has been consulting with FSS as part of the agency's new obesity campaign against upsizing, which warns consumers to be more aware of the tricks the food industry uses to persuade them to 'go large' and how it drives up calorie intake.

As mentioned above, this is not the job of a food standards regulator. But it all makes sense when you realise that...

The campaign comes amid plans by the Scottish Government to outlaw junk food multi-buy deals, force restaurants and takeaways to display calorie contents and cap portion sizes, potentially leading to a ban on 'super-sizing' or all-you-can-eat buffets.

So, once again, we have the SNP using a state-funded quango to promote its own policies. This is the way the way the SNP operates. Whether it is ASH Scotland, Alcohol Focus Scotland, Obesity Action Scotland or this mob, the Scottish government has taken the sock puppet state to a shameless new level.

Still, let's hear what Emma has to say about food, shall we?

"The western world would be a far healthier and happier place if the food industry were regulated in a truthful manner.

"If when you went to buy red meat you were confronted with pictures of bowel cancer, or were confronted with pictures of tooth decay when you picked up those sweets for your kids, the chances are that you would think twice about buying them."

It is very debatable whether this would make the world a healthier place, but only a lunatic could think that confronting people with endless images of death and disease would make it a happier place. The whole point of graphic warnings on cigarettes is to make smokers feel miserable. They may have that effect in some small way, but they do not reduce smoking prevalence. You don't need to have studied welfare economics to work out that the net effect is therefore to make the world a less happy place.

Ms Kenny said the success of public health interventions such as the smoking ban showed that people's behaviours can be changed, and cautioned against normalising obesity.

"There is a limiting belief in society that is held by too many, this involves one where the expectation is that ‘nothing will change’. Actually, what we have seen from the smoking ban is an absolute transformation on peoples’ attitude toward smoking in general."

Insofar as the smoking ban (and its associated propaganda) has had an effect on attitudes, it has been to make smokers pariahs. If the morally repellent doctrine of 'denormalisation' is now going to be extended to people who eat sugar and meat, we're going to have a lot of deviants. This could be a good thing, for once the deviants are in the majority, it will be easier to topple people like Emma.

"Whilst we cannot ban food..."

This gives us a clue as to what Emma's first instinct is whenever she is confronted with a problem.

"...I think we should at least regulate the type and quantities of food that can be sold to us, and any measure that attempts to do this is a welcome one."

Do you? That's what you think, is it? Well, I think you should go back to commenting on Big Brother and leave food policy to somebody with some knowledge and principles rather than some cretin who drools over hateful anti-smoking policies and fantasises about them being extended to everybody who eats food.

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