Yearning For The Smack Of Firm Government..?

Christina Patterson is, oh, yes, she is…

We know what makes people fat. It’s bad diet and not enough exercise, not cooking properly and not eating enough vegetables, and eating too much sugar, and drinking too many fizzy drinks. And it’s growing up with parents who don’t care enough about what you eat.

Philip Larkin was right, I suppose, Christina?

Certainly the state should do more.

Oh, I’ve no doubt! Was there ever a CiF column that couldn’t be distilled down to just this?

It should say that two hours of exercise a week in schools isn’t just “desirable”, but a vital part of a child’s education.

The State has a lot to say on what’s vital, but – when all’s said and done – raising children is a parent’s job, and not that of the State. Indeed, it’s not like the State itself has a spotless record, is it?

It should make sure that schools aren’t full of vending machines stacked full of crisps, Snickers bars and Coke.

Because this sort of micro-management works, right? Wrong!

The state should also do what its Tory education secretary recently suggested: spend £900m a year (which will be a saving in the long-term) on giving all primary school children free, and nutritious, school meals.

*sighs* For the umpteenth time, there really, really ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!

Schools should teach their pupils how to cook and how to eat, and that healthy food, as Oliver said, can be made cheaply. But schools also need to teach their pupils how to be good parents. And when parents are failing, they need to hold them to account.

How so..?

When children are getting fat, schools should call them in – to make a plan, together, to ensure that a bit of flab doesn’t turn into a medical condition for life.

Ah. Right. This will be based on the same pointless measures as the thoroughly-discredited BMI, I suppose?

This isn’t just about “lifestyle” or about choices. This is about teaching parents that keeping a child healthy isn’t always up to somebody else.

But the whole thrust of your article is that…it is up to somebody else. That somebody being ‘the State’!

8 comments for “Yearning For The Smack Of Firm Government..?

  1. Stonyground
    September 1, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Four months ago, at the age of 54, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This has resulted in me deciding on one or two lifestyle changes, I’ve improved my diet (it wasn’t too bad anyway), given up drinking alcohol completely and started cycling again. I’ve even built and equipped a home gym. I’m now in the best shape I’ve been in for twenty years, I’ve lost the belly and the moobs, I look and feel great, especially for someone who’s approaching 55.

    Height: 174cm, weight: 83kg, BMI 27.8. You guessed it, I’m overweight.

    • September 3, 2013 at 7:08 am

      And there’s the utter futility of relying on a ‘one size fits all’ method of assessment.

      But that’s all that will be accepted by a government department, because the other option – use your judgement – might start too many hares running…

  2. john in cheshire
    September 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    JuliaM, well said. I probably said this more often than people care to read, but I couldn’t care less what views are held by individuals. But what really irks me is that some people (holding ridiculous views such as these) are given access to publicity machines, so that they are seen and heard by millions of citizens without the requisite riposte by someone (who may be just as insignificant as the rubbish-spouting imbecile – yes, an ad hominem) with a modicum of common sense.

    • September 3, 2013 at 7:09 am

      Common sense. It really ain’t that common any more.

      And that’s by design… 😐

      • September 5, 2013 at 10:48 am

        Should perhaps be now “uncommon sense”.

  3. September 2, 2013 at 2:40 am

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  4. September 2, 2013 at 3:08 am

    If the schools bothered to teach kids to read, the kids could read the friggin’ food labels for themselves.

    • September 3, 2013 at 7:11 am


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