So now we’ve an idiot as a Minister

George Freeman, the life sciences minister, said that food companies should be aware that if they continued to produce food that could lead to poor lifestyles and ill health they would be penalised.

Mr Freeman is the first minister to back a sugar tax. Last year, Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, ruled out the measure, saying the Government was looking at other ways to encourage people to eat more healthily.

Mr Freeman told an audience at the Hay Festival that it was clear that sugary drinks and snacks were behind the worsening obesity epidemic in Britain. “I don’t think heavy-handed legislation is the way to go,” he said.

“But I think that where there is a commercial product which confers costs on all of us as a society, as in sugar, and where we can clearly show that the use of that leads to huge pressures on social costs, then we could be looking at recouping some of that through taxation.

“Companies should know that if you insist on selling those products, we will tax them.”

But it’s not clear that it’s sugary drinks and snacks. In fact it’s clear that it isn’t. I’s oless exercise, not more calories, that’s making all into lardbuckets.

Pretty shallow, that pool of talent on the Tory benches, isn’t it?

25 comments on “So now we’ve an idiot as a Minister

  1. Weasel words, I doubt when the minister refers to “sugary drinks and snacks” he doesn’t mean fruit juice and rice cakes, even though that is exactly what they are.

  2. ‘…food that could lead to poor lifestyles and ill health…’

    What food wouldn’t, if you ate it exclusively or to excess..?

  3. It’s just another attack on the concept of personal responsibility, of course. It wouldn’t matter what these companies stuffed their food with, since they simply offer it for sale. They don’t give it out free, and they don’t stand over you forcing you to eat it at gunpoint.

    RiP, personal responsibility. It was good to know you.

  4. Bad troll.

    You mean you bothered to read that drivel? Didn’t just skip past it without stopping?

  5. I do wish you’d stop pointing this out.

    Given the progression in the extent of nannying by all stripes of politicians, it can’t be long now before the blockwarts will have us doing push-ups on the pavements outside our houses.

    6:30am to 7am and then a cold shower followed by a rubdown with Pravda.

  6. So now we’ve an idiot as a Minister
    – the headline makes it seem like it is a first and newsworthy. I am sure I could scratch my head and think of some quite recently.

  7. Comprehensive Tax Reform

    To be egalitarian about it, maybe, all ingredients of unhealthy food should be taxed, including the white flour, oil and artificial flavoring.

    Each rouge ingredient could fund a separate social engineering project. Never mind that sin taxes on sugar, flour, oil and artificial flavor will mostly help one group of low-income workers: subsidized single parents.

    Billions of products with these outlaw ingredients are sold. So with the exception of payroll tax, most taxes could be reduced due to the massive upsurge in sin tax revenues.

    1. A sugar tax funds taxpayer-subsidized food for select groups of low-income workers.
    2. A refined flour tax funds taxpayer-subsidized housing for select groups of low-income workers.
    3. An oil tax funds the huge benefits packages of pandering politicians.
    4. A tax on artificial flavor funds taxpayer-provided daycare.

    Then figure out a way to credit back the sales tax on sugar, flour, oil and artificial flavoring, like other taxes are credited back to single parents in the form of Earned Income Tax Credit checks between $3,250 – $6,044.

  8. “In fact it’s clear that it isn’t”: good God, you’re turning all Guardianny.

    Very little is clear in this area. Asserting otherwise doesn’t make it so.

  9. We could get plenty of exercise beating the shit out of political hacks .I suggest a Westminster boxing booth into which mouthy polits have to don the gloves and step up if they want to keep their jobs, pensions etc. Any member of the public can pay £50 (which will go to charity) and remonstrate with the scumbag of your choice.

  10. JuliaM – “What food wouldn’t, if you ate it exclusively or to excess..?”

    Anything raw? Apparently raw vegetables take more energy to process than they can provide. So you lose weight on a raw veggie diet.

    The problem with this is the pose of knowledge. They think they know what is best. Which is odd given that the diet advice they have been giving us for the last 50 years has been comprehensively wrong – animal fats and eggs are not bad for you. I assume this means two things:

    1. The minister has been captured by his officials and is just regurgitating their views, and
    2. With the decline in smoking and drinking they need a new source of “sin taxes” to raise the revenue they are wasting like drunken sailors.

  11. Arrogant arsehole spouts off about how much better he can live our lives than we poor downtrodden proles can.

    Then he pops into a taxpayer subsidised HoC bar and winds down a few stiff ones. Then it’s off to a dinner party where he scoffs a bucket full of rich nosh washed down with a bottle of expensive wine and follows that with a couple of spliffs and a line or two of coke, all the while telling his chums how much he cares for his poor stupid constiuents.

    Oh, and he claims it all back on expenses.

  12. A tax on fizzy drinks. We could call it a carbonation tax and Tim would be happy.

  13. First: so-called healthy foods like fruits and vegetables and grains contain high amounts of sugar… milk products too.

    Second: the main contributor to overweight is quantity of food; exercise or lack thereof plays a minor role.

    Exercise requires energy and that comes from cell respiration in a complex cycle of breakdown of molecules within the body. The components of the cycle mostly stay in the body linking up with oxygen carried in the blood to reform, so overall mass alters little and energy, which is given off mostly as heat, does not weigh at all..

    Exercise may cause weight loss by sweat and moisture exhaled, but that just needs a drink of water to replace.

    Exercise may break down adipose tissue to release energy but the components remain, and exercise builds muscle instead so mass is retained.This is why some athletes are ‘obese’ according to the BMI.

    Quantity of food affects weight most. Exercise has little effect. Losing or maintaining weight is best achieved by restricting quantity of intake.

    The victims in concentration camps were not like skeletons because of all the hard work and exercise, but because they took in little food. In fact if exercise was the major weight loss factor, given the short rations they got, most would have been dead in a week. Gandhi sat down all day spinning but was skinny because he fasted not because he worked out!.

    Paradoxically food with higher fat content helps stabilise or lose weight because it makes the eater feel full quicker and longer.

  14. Yeah, exercise absent a change in calorific intake does nothing to weight unless you’re mental about it. To burn off the calories in 50g of butter (about 3 tbsp) means about half an hour of fairly hard pedalling on a stationary bike. If you do not change your diet it will take you three weeks of doing that to lose a kilo (body fat and butter have about the same energy content). Reducing calories by 300 a day will have the same effect in the same time and is a lot easier.

  15. @ BiCR
    Having, when much younger, lost a stone in a fortnight from exercise (and it stayed off for the rest of term) I think there is a flaw in your analysis. One flaw is that the body is c.90% water and it stays roughly 90% water when you add or lose a stone in weight.
    After I took up running (even with a level of training so low that it horrified one of the keener members of the club) in my 40s (I’d done a two or three marathons as one-offs in my late 30s, but nothing regular) my weight just drifted down to near the the optimum and when I gave up (due to an injury incurred when I was *not* running) I put on more than 2 stone despite cutting down on calorific intake.
    When my younger son walked to primary school every day, he was by no means skinny but within the normal range; when the LEA decided to transport him to his secondary school by taxi, he swiftly became fat despite our best efforts.
    I know scores of other examples, but cannot swear to their calorific intake except in one abnormal case. Often sportsmen and sportswomen increase their calorific intake and add muscle but still end up lighter as I did.

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