Home > Conservative, Fun Stuff, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Main Blog - General, UK Politics > Please Minister, May I Have Some More?

Please Minister, May I Have Some More?

Of late, quite a few public officials have wanted to volunteer how especially useless their job is. This is of course good, who ever takes on the reigns of British Government after the next election will indeed face many many challenges and appalling public finances. After all, the Government will want to strip out services areas that have become the Department of Silly Walks.

Step forward, Gill Fine. “Director” of “Consumer choice and Dietary Health” at the Food Standards Agency. Of course as this is a Government Department, her role actually means getting rid of food choice. Her service is consulting on just how to do this right now.

The Government, wants the British public to buy fewer fatty foods and sugary drinks. An admirable aim. The NHS employs people with the same admirable aims, they are called dieticians, but never mind, a little bit of Government duplication is fine.

The British public have not however been buying fewer fatty foods and sugary drinks. That is of course their choice. Well not according to Ms Fine.

English people and that includes me, are all such fat ugly people we can not make up our own minds. In fact we are so fat and unable to do anything by ourselves, we must be forced to do it.

Cakes are easy to deal with. Cut the saturated fat. Tesco has already managed to remove 110 tonnes of saturated fat from their cakes. I would not want to see what that looked like. Of course, it does not tell you how much sugar went in to replace the fat (therefore making it less suitable for diabetics), nor does it tell you of what the increase in food waste was, given that the fat was for shelf life. Anyway thumbs up to Tesco for having slipped past the fact it is selling low fat versions of their full fat cakes and no one noticed.

You may also have noticed that “full fat” drinks have had the amount of sugar they contain reduced, supplemented by Rumsfield’s poison gift to the World, Aspartame. (TM Dr Death). It will be this Department that has encouraged such changes in recipe. (Or as they call it “reformulate”).

The Food Standards Agency is supposed to be independent, set up in the wake of the outbreaks of BSE and foot and mouth disease. So it is of no surprise to learn that Lord Rooker (previously Jeff Rooker), the former food minister, during the Foot & Mouth crisis, is head of it.

He will be paid around £55k a year and will need to work 8 days a month on this quango.

They cannot reformulate chocolate. In Belgium, chocolate is chocolate. The Europeans do not really like what the British call chocolate and thus they ensured that chocolate had to contain some chocolate product as a kind of starting point. The Belgians were the most vociferous about this. The Belgians, who make really bloody good chocolate, tried to ensure that the British product was called something like cocoa based non animal fat sludge product. One thinks that would not have done much for sales. Of course, Ms Gill would have been happy. However I doubt that the Cadbury family would be too happy.

The Ministry of Funny Walks has a solution to that. Make the chocolate companies give us less. Even though I personally could choose to buy less. Who cares about personal choice. Manufacturers will be told to shrink portion sizes. The appropriately named Ms Fine, wants chocolate-based snacks such as Mars bars to be no bigger than 50g compared with the current 58g size and bars of chocolate to be no larger than 40g. Reducing the size of the Yorkie Bar down by over a 1/3rd.

These are some of the current size

  • Mars bar 58g to lose 8g
  • Snickers 58g to lose 8g
  • Dairy Milk 49g to lose 9g
  • Galaxy 46g to lose 6g
  • Yorkie 68g to lose 28g

Remember you will probably still pay the same 🙂

I do wonder if those in the Ministry of Silly Walks know that these sizes can be purchased in “fun bags”?

Anyway these people have form. The Ministry of Funny Walks tried this in 2004. They attempted to ban King Size products just before the last General Election to show Ministers it was actually doing something. Of course they made a complete failure of it andpeople just laughed. Mars kept selling a King Size product, but conveniently provided it as 2 3/4 length bars and renamed it DUO. The good ol’ baby burning French Nestlé, just ignored the Government.

If the aim of the ban was to ensure that stupid people who were unable to break in half the King Size Bar, were now given more freedom by having it broken for them, the Ministry of Silly Walks won. If it was to cut down on the number of king sized chocolate bars – they did so only if you count a name change as abolition.

Even better, the Ministry of Silly Walks wants canned drinks reduced from the standard 330ml (33fl oz) that they are now to the nice airplane stubby 250ml (25 fl oz) and those 330ml fruit drinks reduced to 250ml as well. After all, you would not then buy a 500ml bottle, or two smaller cans if you so chose.

The problem for this official, Gill Fine, is that this thing is about as popular as Gordon Brown selling the Congestion Charge to residents of Kensington and Chelsea. The last time they tried anything like this, it was in the papers for weeks, with Government Ministers putting their names to all the documents. This time the Press Release is left, to the “Director of Consumer Choice and Dietary Health”. Not even a Ministerial rent a quote on the Press release. Of course that press release is amusing.

Ms Fine, declares “We recognise the excellent work already achieved by some food businesses to make healthier eating easier. But to make even greater progress it’s important that everybody gets behind our recommendations on saturated fat, added sugar and portion sizes.

“The food industry regularly reviews its ingredients and processes, as well as portion sizes, and the aim of this proposal is to encourage them to consider how they can play their part in improving public health and helping consumers to maintain a healthy weight.

“What we are not doing is telling people what to eat! What we want to do is to make it easier for people to make healthier choices – to choose foods with reduced saturated fat and sugar – or smaller portion sizes.”

Of course not Ms Fine. Just remember when people make a choice there has to be a choice. Stopping choice is not “enabling” it is not “making it easier” (well it is in kind of a way). It is nannying.

If people want more they will get more. They are not dependent on the Government to make that choice. Therefore the 58g Mars bar instead of becoming 50g becomes 100g. Unless you control how much we buy. Just a few steps away.

I seem to remember a very famous film scene, in which a young boy became somewhat unsatisfied with his “healthier choice”, yep,


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