Nothing illustrates the growing internal conflict between the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his Sunday counterpart Geordie Greig better than the dispute over how the overweight and obese should be viewed, and especially their treatment by the NHS. The Daily Mail will have no truck with the circumferentially challenged getting weight loss treatment for free. The MoS disagrees.
So, while Daily Mail readers have been regaled in the past by Glendas like Amanda Bloody Platell howling “Sorry, why should the NHS treat people for being fat?” and telling “Fat people were victims and needed help. Well, I'm sorry, but apart from a few very rare cases, who deserve our every sympathy, most people are fat because of one simple truth. They eat too much and exercise too little”.
So when the idea of allowing overweight people to have weight loss surgery on the NHS was floated, the Dacre doggies knew what line to take: “Offering more obesity ops 'a sign of failure': Fury over free surgery plan for 900,000” thundered the headline only yesterday. And there was more.
“NICE claims the surgery helps patients with type 2 diabetes lose weight and control the disease. But experts said the NHS could not afford to pay for all the procedures and patients would do better to diet and get more exercise. There are also concerns that the obese will give up trying to lose weight because they know they can have free surgery instead”. Yeah, it’s their own fault!
This was backed up by an equally thunderous rant from Simon “Enoch was right” Heffer, who concluded “there must be a major reconsideration of what services should be available on the NHS. It’s not only breast enlargement and tattoo removal that should not be carried out at taxpayers’ expense, the obese should be told to diet rather than be offered £5,000 gastric band operations”. So there!
Or rather not, as Liz Jones has used her latest column to oppose her weekday counterparts. “All addicts deserve help – even those hooked on food” reads her headline. And, on the “the obese should be told to diet” stance, she counters “that old calories in, energy out chestnut. Let’s get one thing straight: obesity is an illness”.
She continues “Its causes are myriad and complex: genetics, a psychiatric disorder, or an addiction – just read the book Fast Food Nation and tell me food has not been tampered with to ensure we all, particularly children, become addicted to what is bad for us. Being overweight is not a lifestyle choice. Having a child is a lifestyle choice, but no one bleats about women who ‘choose’ to have a baby at home, therefore costing taxpayers more. Going skiing, riding a horse, rock climbing, these are all lifestyle choices, but who complains about treating broken bones or head injuries?”
All sensible and interesting, so Dacre’s ranters will be ignoring every word of it.