A global drive to tackle the causes of cancer linked to lifestyle, such as alcohol abuse, sugar consumption and obesity, has been urged on Monday by the World Health Organisation as it predicted the number of new cases could soar 70% to nearly 25 million a year over the next 20 years.
Others will point out the idiocy of the World Health Organisation's latest manifesto for nannying fussbucketry. Suffice it to say that the reason for the increase in what the WHO egregiously calls 'preventable' causes of ill-health isn't changes in human behaviour or, heaven forbid, people making the 'wrong' personal choices. The reason for there being more cancers, more coronary heart disease and more dementia is that fewer people are dying from communicable disease, fewer people are in abject poverty and fewer people don't have access to at least basic health services.
I'm prepared to accept that the world faces an increase in the number of people suffering from cancer - that 'tidal wave' the WHO's scaremongers are predicting. But to single out a couple of things we consume - alcohol and sugar - as the main problem (plus a nod towards those other evils red meat and sausages) is a complete misrepresentation of the facts as we know them.
This is how the news is presented to us - loads more cancer because of fast food and lager is the central message. This is quite simply, utter rubbish. However, when you look at what the WHO says elsewhere there are some good, sensible public health suggestions:
"Governments must show political commitment to progressively step up the implementation of high-quality screening and early detection programs, which are an investment rather than a cost,"
Rather than this sensible focus on raising risk awareness (although perhaps not to the scare levels loved of our media), screening and early intervention, what we hear is another set of demands for "adequate legislation" to "encourage healthier behaviour".
With the result being comments like these:
"Labelling, availability and the price of alcohol should all be on the agenda,"
On soda pop:
"So should taxation of sugar-sweetened drinks, he said. The report says efforts to reduce the percentage of fizzy drinks that contain substantial amounts of added sugar should become a high priority."
And good beef and sausages:
"About half of Britons do not recognise the importance of diet in protecting them against cancer, according to a poll carried out by the World Cancer Research Fund. Eating a lot of red meat – especially processed – increases the risk of bowel cancer."
Add all this to the existing ostracising of smokers, campaigns against sun-bathing and even claims that mouth wash is dangerous - to name just three of the things on the health fascist agenda - and we get a campaign directed against the pleasures and choices of ordinary people.
Let's be clear, if people want to eat bacon, drink lemonade, go out for a beer, put salt on their chips and have cake in the tea shop that's great. It's what life's about rather than the pinched, sad, narrow, uninteresting and pleasure free existence that these nannying fussbuckets would 'nudge' us into.
This manifesto of nannying fussbucketry should be torn up and used to fuel a good barbecue - accompanied by lager and, if you want, a good cigar. It's time we looked these health fascists in the eye and told them straight:
It's my life and what I eat, drink and smoke is none of your bloody business. Not even a little bit."