Thursday, January 24, 2008

Health: Dale, Lansley & Lamb Piss on Labour Chips

Iain Dale has chosen to make a fat joke and misrepresent one of the ten or so measures and innovations in a £372 million package to turn the tide on the very real and serious problem of obesity. Perhaps his own half stone loss of the past month - many congratulations Iain - has made him giddy and light headed? Though fellow cast members at the Maidstone pantomime (above) claim there is yet to be any real sign of malnourishment.

But that's as cheap a shot as Iain's post.

The BBC summarises the announcements and provides a platform for Messrs Lansley and Lamb to piss on Labour's chips as it were. Iain latches onto the idea of incentives for health gains, just as firmly as "bad" cholesterol latches onto our arteries, with the hilarious observation that a voucher for a successful weight watcher handed to the great unwashed so beloved of the one nation Cuddly Nu Tory will go straight down the takeaway rather than the gym.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! As yesterday's laughing policemen might have chorused.

The headline measures and ideas as reported by the BBC:
* Identify at-risk families and offer early support and advice
* Make cooking lessons compulsory for children
* Increase children's activity levels
* £75m healthy living marketing campaign aimed at parents
* Work with industry to agree a universal food labelling system and to reduce portion sizes of fatty or salty foods
* A review of junk food ad rules
* Limit fast-food outlets near schools and parks
* Incentives to encourage weight-loss
* Personalised support via the NHS Choices website and more weight management services

Let's humour Iain for a moment. Vouchers for clothes or for gyms won't in fact buy a big mac and fries.

But for clothes horses on slighter budgets than Mr Dale losing each dress size means needing to afford new clothes. And healthy food need not be but certainly can be more expensive and/or difficult to prepare than junk. It's not cash Iain.

As I understand it the amounts could be a lite bite compared to Guido Fawke's daily lunch budget. Suggested as many of the measures as for voluntary introduction rather than some kind of state diet and exercise regime. And it is surely cheaper and wiser to prevent ill health than to deal with it down the road?

Tories believe on principle in incentives rather than penalties, no? And on voluntary guidelines to the food industry rather than that big fat State throwing its weight around?

This is incentives rather than penalties but should save the tax payer money. And it's voluntary rather than compulsory. So isn't it a good thing Iain? Rather than something to crack cheap fat jokes at?

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