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Fat: England’s Brave New World Of Libertarian Paternalism

by | 23rd, October 2007

“UNVEILED: radical prescription for our health crisis,” says the Independent’s front-page headline.

“LETTERS TO PARENTS OF OBESE KIDS.” As ever, the accompanying picture of the fat child is of a fat ginger child with pale skin.

“EXERCISE HOUR FOR EMPLOYEES”; “SEPARATE QUEUES TO BUY ALCOHOL”; ZERO TOLERANCE ON SALT IN FOOD”; FREE FRUIT FOR OFFICES”; “FAT KIDS BANNED FROM SCHOOL PHOTOS.”

The last point was made up. Fat kids will not be banned, just placed at the rear behind the taller blonder children and tweaked by computers to resemble decent people. It is a process known as ‘Conditioning’.

The plan is the work of Julian Le Grand, chair of Health England. (England has the highest proportion of heavyweight adults in the European Union – 24.2 per cent obese.) Professor Le Grand has delivered a speech to the Royal Statistical Society in which he trumpets “libertarian paternalism”.

On his Defence Of Paradise-Engineering, the professor says: “It’s not like banning something. It is not prohibition. It is a softer form of paternalism.” And in a land of absentee fathers and an overbearing nanny state, we English need our Dad.

Oh Brave New World…



Posted: 23rd, October 2007 | In: Broadsheets Comments (12) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink