the coalition government's crusade to abolish government continues with the decision to scrap the Food Standards Agency, in a bold move which has delighted the junk food industry which donates so much money to the Conservative Party.
The argument is that people shouldn't be told what to do by governments.
Which is a nice idea, were it not for a few flies in this particular chocolate mousse.
The food industry is a global, multibillion-£ industry with massive resources and the full weight of the lobbying and advertising industries at its beck and call, whereas your average shopper has neither the time nor the skills to weigh up every claim made. It's not a level playing field.
Secondly, the food industry doesn't have your interests at heart. Shocking, I know, but it makes money by getting you to eat cheaper, worse stuff, more of the time. They lobby constantly to fill foods with nastier additives, bulk products and the like, and to resist health warnings: they've recently managed to get the 'traffic light' system cancelled so that shoppers remain confused. They've even got the minister attacking Jamie Oliver's heroic drive for healthy school dinners as some kind of sinister Stalinist plot (let's not forget that one of Margaret Thatcher's earliest ministerial decisions was to abolish the minimum nutritional standards for school food). Andrew Lansley won't be tucking into a Pizza Pocket or a Turkey Twizzler tonight because he's a highly-educated multimillionaire - but he'd like you to because it benefits his friends.
The Tories and Lib Dems are crowing that these moves empower the individual - classic liberalism, but it's total bullshit. Cheaper food is almost always the worst food - look at the discounted stuff in supermarkets. Many people in the lowest socio-economic groups can't find fresh, healthy ingredients easily, especially if you're living on a housing estate with poor public transport - this is why poor people are now fat, whereas in the 19th-century, the rich were fat and the poor were thin. There's plenty of food available, but it's often stuffed with fat and sugar.
People aren't stupid. They're sometimes uneducated and often massively uninformed because industrial food is totally dominant. Governments are meant to be our defence against capitalist exploitation, but those days are over. We can't make these decisions individually in the midst of a system designed to deceive - that's why we form governments.
'We're all in it together' - but you're on your own.
PS. Turns out that, according to official statistics, the only way out of the recession was the Labour Party's solution.
Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First, said: "Although the headline figure remained unchanged at 0.3%, government spending was revised up from 1.1% to 1.5% signifying that the recovery is still very reliant on state spending
You know, the one the Tories have abandoned in favour of sacking hundreds of thousands of people and cutting essential government services. Thanks Dave! Love ya!
PS. The next big plan is to hasten the privatisation of the NHS, so that it merely channels tax-payers' money to private corporations. Anyone with complicated illnesses will be abandoned, preventive medicine will be abandoned and the health service will become a feeding frenzy for pharmaceutical companies flogging dubious drugs to a desperate public. Like America, really. Nobody voted for this stuff - but we get what we deserve, I guess.