Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The state is your dietician, not your friend

Individuals can no longer be held responsible for obesity and government must act to stop Britain "sleepwalking" into a crisis, a report has concluded.

The largest ever UK study into obesity, backed by government and compiled by 250 experts, said excess weight was now the norm in our "obesogenic" society.

Dramatic and comprehensive action was required to stop the majority of us becoming obese by 2050, they said.

Clovis looked at his watch: 6.32. That meant only another 28 minutes on the treadmill and then he could eat his Primaroloburger. After that it was 25 minutes handwashing the bedclothes and then a sprightly walk to work at NISA (the National Institute for the Suppression of Alcohol). He ran a little faster as he thought about the bonus he’d get from reporting his neighbours. He was almost certain he’d seen the husband sipping a sherry last night. Well, fairly certain. Anyway, if he was wrong it didn’t matter much. The man would only get a mandatory extra eight hours on the treadmill.

He laughed as he thought about the fusses over green issues there’d been before NuLab sorted it all out. God, but Millibland was a genius. Who else would have thought to solve both the obesity crisis and the CO2 targets crisis by getting everyone to generate their own (and the nation’s) electricity.

And he’d never felt so fit. The left knee was a bit dodgy, though. Best not to mention that to the doc at the annual fitness review. Everyone remembered Smithy. Fit as a fiddle one day, then gone the next. Failed his appraisal.

There’d been a good turnout for the secular service afterwards. Several people, including the Assistant Reserve Secretary for Exercise, had said nice things. How thin Smith was. How he never touched a drop of alcohol. How he’d never been a drain on the State until his last few minutes.

The policy came in after the last election. Such a good slogan. `Six weeks to save the NHS’. So clever. Peter Sandalman’s idea. Of course he’d had to go later. High health risk. What did they call it? An insufficiently risk-averse lifestyle choice.

Clovis remembered the sound of the shots from the doctor’s office and shivered. Always two. There’d been some talk recently of stopping it. He was against it. There were limits, after all. Pol Pot may have been a great moderniser and a real `fresh-slate’ man, but using the rifle butt to save on ammunition was going a bit far for a liberal democracy like the EU(UK region).

Not that Clovis was against progress. He was all for it. He remembered when things had been different. Obese people on every street corner. Washing machines. Dishwashers. Waste. People driving everywhere. Foreign holidays. Aircraft. Pate. Claret. Stilton. Disgusting really. All that indulgence. All that fun. Bad for you, though. And Mr Brown really didn’t like fun. He liked saving money though. All that money freed up from the pension funds. Massive reductions in the cost of the NHS. Lucky they had such a prudent president for life. With the worldwide depression after Kyoto 2 and the obliteration of Israel, they’d needed some savings.

Anyway, enough running. Perhaps he’d skip the burger. He was sick of the taste of soya and he thought he’d seen a rather lethargic rat in the garden. If he got a move on, a barbecue might be on the cards. And if the rat was sick, well, as he always said, `you only die once’.

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