Stories and Lies in Andrew Lansley's campaign against Jamie Oliver
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ConDem latest atrocities horror

Oh there's almost no point in doing this is there. It's all so astonishingly rubbish.

Right. Here's number one. Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary who previously stated it was time to cease the war against motorists (what he actually meant was, stop the dreadful state sponsored rule changes limiting cars to 20 mph in built up areas. Of course! because it's so important that cars should have the freedom of choice to decide to drive fast enough to kill children in the road, instead of only seriously wounding them), has been telling OAP's that they should buck up, and pay for bus fairs instead of using their free passes. If they can afford it, of course.

Hey, I need to show you what's written on this piece of paper, Phil. It's a certain universal truth you might have missed. It reads: "Only poor people use buses for non-commuting journeys".

The above makes me wonder what he's got up his sleeve for a few months time. Having played it reasonably, and the cost not gone down (see above for reason), will he open handedly confess that there's no more money in the pot, and some kind of half fare must be brought in?

Here's the second of today's crusade against the Nanny state, which is actually cost cutting to the detriment of the poor. The abolition of the Food Standards Agency. It employs 2000 people apparently, and here's its mission statement:

"The Food Standards Agency carries out a range of work to make sure food is safe to eat, including funding research on chemical, microbiological and radiological safety, as well as food hygiene and allergy."

In practice, this means they looks at the following areas: Chemical and Microbiological safety; food hygiene, allergy and Intolerance; Radiological safety (eg: irradiated food research); Animal diseases and their effect on the food chain & human nutrition. Etc.

The most notable visible thing they've done is fought the lobbying of the food industry to reduce salt % in food, successfully. 

Research which I need to look up has many times over the years shown that food in areas of limited economic wealth has a tendency to be a) more expensive for basics and b) less healthy than food available in more affluent areas. Those stuck in housing estates with no access to cars do not have large scale Asdas, or Tescos nearby, and have to make do with the local food stores. Some other relevant research which again, I cannot give you a link for did an assessment in terms of calories which showed the amount of calories in cost in healthy versus unhealthy food. 'Healthy' calories are far, far more expensive than foods bulked out with flavour enhancing sugar, salt and fat. So poor people can fill their children with food, certainly. But it might well be food with limited health benefits other than providing some fuel to get them through till supper.

The food Standards Agency was created in order to fight the profit motive of business in order to put the consumer's needs first, and draw a line in the sand. This is not a freedom of choice issue. This is the Govt working on behalf of its constituents, who would not be able to gain as much traction working independently.

I know one friend of mine has a tendency to look at this from an Anarchistic perspective, that actually chimes with the Tory "freedom of choice" argument. What the hell have we got a govt agency telling people what to eat for? People can vote with their wallets can't they? Well, not in an economically limited household they can't. They're at the fucking mercy of a Friedman-esque short term profit oriented food economy. 

I'm struck sometimes by a quote the previously mentioned celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver voiced when discussing his school dinners initiative. He said that whilst he was at school, he used to spend all his money on comics, whereas at school itself, he was 'forced' to read Shakespeare etc in his English classes. Given the choice, he would never have read those books, and would have stayed forever in comics land. But school knew better, and knew he needed to read other stuff too. This is very relevant to the kind of state run agencies that the Tories (and who know which Liberals) want to disband. There are, though we all wish there weren't, extremely stupid and very poor (not mutually exclusive, btw) people out there, who will not always as first choice, buy the healthiest thing for them, or more importantly, their kids. It is *wholly appropriate* that a standards agency exists in order to help curb the excesses of the food industry. It ain't Nannying. It's  - well, practically, it's saving the NHS money, apart from anything else.

There's a whole bunch of other news about the NHS today, but I'm reserving judgment on what it actually means. My main criteria for wrongness at the moment are: will this disempower the poor? Will then disadvantage poor children?/working(single) mothers? Yet another ideological regrouping of the NHS costing even more money is to be expected, but I'm not sure it will affect the above criteria directly yet.