Friday, 26 December 2014

Booze, cake and public health lies - welcome to Boxing Day news


Firstly a happy Christmas.

It's Boxing Day and the papers are out. Filled with cut and pasted press releases put together by journalists either grumpy for having to work on Christmas or grumpy because they hate Christmas anyway.

Plus a tradition. Letters and statements from important sounding doctors - this year (in a sign of the shift in our establishment's locus) in the Guardian. In this letter an assortment of public health quacks leavened with the occasional real doctor complain about booze companies sponsoring sport. Mostly because, they say, it's 'fuelling' under age drinking.

This is, of course, nonsense. We have the most boringly abstemious generation of young people since the thirties and levels of alcohol consumption have fallen by a fifth over the past decade. But it is a sign that the quacks are pretty media savvy - picking a day of hangovers and tummy aches to send their letter about boozing. Plus of course it's also a big day of sport - football, racing and so forth are a major feature of Boxing Day. Thus the doctors are guaranteed a front page splash and loads of frowns media coverage that follows such a splash.

At the same time the boss of the NHS (who isn't accountable to you but is selected by the same quacks and fussbuckets who signed that letter to the Guardian) continues with his mission about obesity. The latest NHS Obesity Plan is filled with a feast of fussbucketry - from bossing firms into 'incentives' for their staff losing weight through to the usual collection of controls, regulations and taxes. All underwritten by a big lie - that somehow this 'obesity crisis' is causing the financial problems of the NHS. In the most blatant fib, the NHS boss claims that obesity will 'bankrupt the NHS', a statement that is complete nonsense and that boss knows so.

So, running screaming from the news feeds, we arrive on Facebook. And lo, we see adverts nudging us to sign up to Dry January. Adverts paid for with our taxes (in these days of austerity the one area seemingly exempt from cuts is public health - nurses can be sacked, doctor vacancies left unfilled and cleaning contracts cut to the bone but the money spent on nannying the hell out of us is blissfully squandered by a legion of public health quacks and their hangers on).

The most depressing part of all this isn't that public health quacks lie. They do this so routinely, peddling myths and fictions designed to fit their ideology, that another lie simply rests on the silt of past fibs clogging up out discussion of health. What really saddens is that these people seem unable to see a party without deeming it unhealthy, are incapable of recognising that pleasure is essential to
good health, and wander around our festivals like the man with the sandwich board proclaiming the imminence of doom.

Most of us, most of the time, get on with our pretty healthy lives (indeed the real health problem isn't that we're fat but that we're old). And on a few occasions during the year - birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, summer bank holidays - such folk have a blow out and eat, drink and party. This isn't a problem but a boon, a signal that having a damn good time is a central feature of our civilisation. That a bunch of sad men want to stop us having that pleasure isn't progress but rather a step back into a dull, controlled and hypocritical past.

So my friends, ignore everything these lying quacks tell you, enjoy your life, eat, drink, make love and experience the pleasures nature's bounty provides. And stick two fingers up at Dry January, at doctors who want to report you for being a pound or two overweight, and at the legion of po-faced pundits who pollute our media with their New Puritan lies.

It's your life. Enjoy it.


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