|Sunny Jim - the original cereal cartoon character here in stuffed toy form|
I could launch into a full scale rant at the raft of proposals from the Health Select Committee aimed at combating child obesity - ad bans, mandatory reformulation, restrictions on fast food takeaways and a ghastly, ignorant polemic about the fiction that is "junk food". It is everything we should loathe about modern government, what Chris Snowdon describes as:
...taking a bunch of policies that do not work and piling them on top of another bunch of policies that do not work in the hope that some weird alchemy turns them into more than the sum of their useless partsAmong this "whole systems approach" is the proposal to stop food manufacturers using cartoon characters in their marketing:
Cartoon characters should be banned from promoting junk food to improve childhood obesity rates, a leading group of MPs has suggested.It would mark the death of Tony the Tiger and the Honey Monster as represents the worst sort of crass interventionism - annoying fussbucketry that won't make a jot of difference to obesity. I know this because cartoon characters have been used to promote breakfast cereals since Sunny Jim first sprang into life in 1902.
The Health and Social Care Select Committee has called for a ban on "brand-generated characters or licensed TV and film characters" which are used to promote foods high in fat, sugar or salt on broadcast and non-broadcast media.
The characters we're familiar with - Coco the Monkey, the Honey Monster, Snap, Crackle and Pop, and the legend that is Tony the Tiger - have all been around for decades or more. Tony first told us Frosties were Grrrrrreat back in 1954, the Rice Krispies kids (originally goblins but, hey, what's the difference) date from 1930 and the Honey Monster began insisting Henry McGee "tell 'em about the honey, mummy" in 1976. Even Coco - a latecomer (succeeding Tusk the Elephant) - arrived on our cereal packets in 1991. None of these wonderful, child-friendly characters has made children fat, all they've done is give children a smile and helped mums' make a brand choice.
Now a bunch of joyless nannying fussbuckets led by the self-appoint Nanny-in-Chief, Sarah Wollaston want to put an end to all this fun because they like banning stuff and want children to have dull lives featuring uplifting, nanny-approved diets that don't involve anything that looks like it might appeal to those children. Yes folks, Sarah and the Fussbuckets want eating to be a boring, unpleasant, state-approved thing rather than any kind of pleasure. And all to deal with an almost entirely fictional obesity crisis.