Sugar tax the nanny-state strikes again

Friday 10th February  2012

  • Sugar claims 35 MILLION victims a year
  • First fat tax now sugar tax - the latest nanny state boycott 
  • Teach our kids to cook - NOW!

Fat tax and sugar tax have you ever heard of anything more ridiculous?

I can’t be the only one who thought we’d escape the big freeze. Yes ‘the beast from the east’ has been treating us all to shivering nights and blanketing everything in sight with a fine powder of belated snow.

All that white stuff got me thinking back to the good old days when we didn’t have the latest iGadget or post on someone’s ‘wall’ to remind us of the chilly fate outside.

In fact, when I was a lad all I can recall is an old Roberts radio and an Amstrad stereo system – a cheap piece of tat Lord Sugar wouldn’t even get his young apprentices to try and flog.

It looked the part, a turntable for my lurid pink  and purple vinyl albums, a tape deck for the pirate copies of other peoples lurid acid green vinyl albums and a radio to be able to listen to John Peel.

It even had a graphic equalizer with sliding controls and lots of lights which used to delight me as they bounced around in the darkness of my teenage bedroom as I sat with my headphones on and the volume up.

The strange thing was I could twiddle the controls and change the light patterns until my heart was content but they made no discernable change to the sound I heard.

At least I did all of this for the first two weeks of life with my new toy.

Then one of the tape decks jammed and wouldn’t open. A man arrived to fix it and said it was a common fault due to a failed catch. The entire unit was replaced.

A week later the turntable drive belt spat off, I replaced it and it fell off again.

I replaced it once more and it killed itself halfway through the seminal Iggy Pop album – New Values. It wasn’t a great return to form for the old boy but there was no need for that kind of censorship I felt.

Anyway, this time the belt had not only come off, but was now wedged and chewed into the mechanism.

Return of the man...

This continued over many months until my dad became so incensed that he took the offending music system back to Dixons and demanded a replacement – a good old, plain Sony unit that I still have in working order to this day.

As you may tell I have my reasons to doubt the business acumen of the silver haired ‘entrepreneur’.

But even I don’t want to slap a hefty tax on him... well not much.

Forget booze and fags, let’s target sugar

The reason for this dip back into my teenage past actually had nothing to do with Sugar the man, and everything to do with sugar the product.

You see the headline in the Metro article I was reading said “Sugar should be taxed like booze and tobacco, say doctors.”

The story followed along the lines that our national consumption of the sweet stuff had steadily increased threefold in the last 50 years.

This massive change is now being directly linked to our current media hyped ‘obesity crisis’.

Within the article was a quote from the University of California which said “As long as the public thinks that sugar is just “empty calories”, we have no chance of solving this. It is toxic beyond its calories.”

Which is all very interesting reading, however I can’t help but point out two startling facts that seem to be missing from their logic.

Firstly, individuals aren’t sitting down to a pile of sugar lumps each day and munching their way through them (honest, I’m not!)

The huge rise in sugar consumption is because it is used in so many poor quality processed foods to enhance flavour – and this is being hyped to the public as the modern way to eat on a budget.

Secondly, who in the name of all that is Holy ever thinks of anything as being ‘empty calories?’

With every newspaper, magazine and TV programme screaming about diets, detoxes and death by fat how on earth can anyone not know that food contains calories which will rush to our expanding waistline?

In principle I wholeheartedly agree that the amount of sugar consumed needs to be controlled, but I really can’t agree that the poor shopper should be the one top pay the price... either through their wallets or with their health.

Once again this shows the muddled thinking that afflicts our health chiefs, our doctors and our governments.

Those who should be brought to task are the purveyors of highly sweetened food, the manufacturers that add tonnes of the stuff to their processed mulch, and the fast food giants who act like legal drug pushers ensnaring children with their colourful toy give-a-ways.

These are the culprits who should be hounded and taxed, not the poor families who are trying their best to make ends meet, but are being dragged under by rampant consumerism and retailing greed.

Why TAX is the lax way out

If the solution is about adding tax to the cost of production or at the point of purchase it amounts to the same thing though – it will still be a burden on the consumer.

And that is just totally unfair.

The simplest way to deal with this is to outlaw any foods that have high sugar contents.

I’m not talking about a bag of humbugs or the bar of chocolate that we all know contains sugar.

The stuff I’m talking about is anything which could constitute a meal, including the drinks that go with it.

Taxation will only serve to add more cost to the family budget of those who can least afford it.

Ultimately the ONLY way out of this mess is about education.

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it – every child should be taught the basic skills of sourcing, preparing and cooking honest simple ingredients.

Tax Lord Sugar as well, if the need arises, I don’t mind that – it might even raise enough money to pay for the cost of cooking teachers.

He would then have a catchphrase to be proud of... ”you’re inspired!”


Yours, as always

 

 

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