A very typical ploy of the oh-so affected middle class intelligentsia these days is to decry the death of freedoms, muddled up with imagery of cottonwool nanny states resembling a kinder Plunketesque NAZI state.
The latest of these concerned individuals to step up to the plate to have a moan about the overpowering state is the sometime ex-broadcaster Bill Ralston. His grumble is that the Government is looking into the foods that we are giving our kids, and the effects it has on them, namely obesity. Included among some of the areas being investigated for the new Public Health Bill, the government may have the power to control where and how supermarkets display unhealthy food.
This of course is a very bad thing according to Ralston, because apparently it’s the slippery slope from this to us becoming “like dirty old men hunting X-Rated DVDs at a video store, we will be forced to scuttle down dark, curtained aisles at the back of the shop furtively looking for that illicit pack of lollies and bag of fatty crisps”.
Who will decide what is healthy and what is unhealthy? Well that’s not hard is it. There are already folks out there that determine that driving at 120KmHr will kill us, or that smoking dope is illegal, or any number of other things that affect our poor weak flesh.
I mean for heavens sake, how stupid is smoking. 5000+ people in NZ die every year from smoking, yeah that’s bloody intelligent use of free will. According to Ralson “Eventually, I suppose, like the new cigarette packets, unhealthy foods will be forced to carry ugly pictures of the medical effects of their ingredients. Packets of Mallowpuffs will feature a stern health warning and a nasty photo of a huge fat bum.”
But I fear his real moan was hidden, when he started to praise Key for his comments that he would cap the number of public servants. Ralston claimed that by Key [fudging sic] the numbers he showed that apparently the number of public servants has disproportionately outgrown the number of front line staff – this is very bad, very very bad. We all know that the figures were completely disingenuous. After all a 37% increase of what may have been a small number, does not necessarily mean that the numbers are big.
But blow me down with a feather if Ralston didn’t use “common sense” in his praise of Key. Keys’ announcement was neither active policy making, nor was it problem solving. If there are too many civil servants, then actively reduce the numbers immediately – trim the fat. But Key himself has stated that he’s ‘comfortable’ with the size of the civil service. Reducing the size of the civil service with attrition feeble. It’s seeing to be doing something, while in actual fact you aren’t doing anything at all, yet you have the masses (and so called critics/experts) nodding madly.
Back to his original grumble, Ralston, go to middle America and tell me that we don’t need a wake up call and to be proactive on the issue of youth obesity. It was depressing to see more obese Americans in wheel chairs at Disneyland than children in push chairs.
PostScript: This is just another in the step by step none-too hidden agenda by the Herald to remove Labour from office. It was the grumblings of a increasingly irrelevant man who thinks he’s beyond being told what’s good for him (you know the type – convertible sports car middle aged upper middle class male).