“One In 7 Hospital Patients Diabetic” thunders the Daily Mail this morning, adding “costing NHS £10 billion a year”, and “Campaigners warn 'eye-watering' cost of diabetes is getting worse ... Illness linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese ... It already accounts for about 10 per cent of the total NHS budget ... The costs will soar further over the next 20 years, it is claimed”.
The report goes on “The illness is strongly linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese, too little exercise and an unhealthy diet” [my emphasis]. So one might think that the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery will be as one on the issue, wanting to urge measures that retain individual freedom, while bearing down on costs and consequences.
Sadly, one of the Dacre team has not yet received the message: step forward unfunny and talentless churnalist Richard Littlejohn, who prefers to promote bad diet and lack of exercise if it allows him to kick Mil The Younger: “As part of a range of 'healthy lifestyle' policies, Labour is seriously proposing to declare war on breakfast cereals”. Making it up again, Dicky boy? He certainly is.
Dicky Windbag is following up the Mail On Sunday’s mostly fictitious front page splash (all those protesting that the two titles are totally independent of one another may have difficulty at this point), which asserted that Miliband was personally going to force the population to get fitter and eat healthier. Littlejohn merely takes the misinformation and adds something he thought of earlier.
“Those deemed to be harmful to children, such as Frosties and Sugar Puffs, would be banned outright. Others would have to be sold in a plain wrapper, complete no doubt with cigarette-style health warnings. TV advertising would be banned, at least before the 9pm watershed”. Of course – why bother debating the facts when you can just invent something that nobody ever proposed?
Dick also wants to frighten the readers about the idea of taking exercise, an idea which would send him into brown trouser mode sharpish: “Labour also intends to get 'half the population' taking regular exercise. Are we going to see the introduction of compulsory keep fit classes, like they have in China? Will those who refuse to take part be sent to re-education camps?” he gasps dishonestly.
Of course, none of what he asserts has been so much as suggested: the idea – and the Tories have tried the same thing – is to inform, and gently “nudge” the population in the desired direction. You still want Frosties, go right ahead – you can make an informed decision. Nobody is going to ban anything. And in the meantime, perhaps the Mail could tell its million pound prat what is going on tomorrow’s front page.
That would “nudge” them all from facing in different directions. What a shower.