Helen Martin: Let us be naughty and stop being our nanny

PROPOSALS for Scotland's new anti-obesity laws need a punchy nickname. The Thick Of It could be one idea. Not only does it ­describe the national girth, but it also hints at a comedic and satirical view of government workings.

Monday, 8th October 2018, 6:00 am
Doughnuts couild be classed as a 'naughty' food by the Scottish Government

The Named Person scheme was one factor for us to be called a nanny state. Now it seems we may be upgrading to a dictatorship. Yet I am convinced the Scottish Government doesn’t see it that way.

They probably think they are working on behalf of the public in trying to control how people eat and shop, without considering the negative effects and how ridiculous this food plan is.

There could be a ban on any supermarket loyalty points issued from ­buying naughty food, and a law against discount or savings coupons being used to buy anything the ­Government doesn’t approve of.

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That reminds me of how minimum alcohol pricing works in Scottish branches of Waitrose. The check-out operator has to ask every customer with any alcohol in their trolley if they plan on using vouchers. If so, they have to divide shopping into ­separate baskets so booze doesn’t benefit. With so few Scottish outlets, it’s not easy or financially viable for upmarket ­Waitrose to adapt their till systems so it has to be manually policed. How will they cope if sausages, doughnuts, fizzy drinks, et al are included in that? Easier for them to shut down stores, wipe out jobs and head back south of the border.

One proposal from a psychologist to Food Standards Scotland suggested that meat should have cancer warnings and graphic packaging like cigarettes. Veggies and vegans would love that. Farmers, not to mention restaurants, butchers and the rest of the industry, would hate that and its potential surge in unemployment.

Sugar is the beast in the feast, the big baddie in the bag, especially when it comes to huge consumption of fizzy drinks. Pressure on shops and supermarkets has already resulted in a sharp drop of sugar ­content and a soar in artificial sweetener ingredients.

I hate fizzy drinks and stick to fruit juice or squash. Unfortunately, I react badly to artificial sweeteners. Recently I tried in vain to find sweetener-free squash in four shops. Eventually, in a supermarket, I found one last remaining bottle on the soft drinks shelf. Surely the only reason they sell out is not for their extra calories but because many people can’t cope with fake, chemical sweeteners. Has that been taken into consideration?

For commercial, economic and employment reasons, is it wise for Scotland to take such ground-breaking steps ahead of the rest of the world? What about our globally famous quality meat, booze, shortbread and artisan sweetie production when we demonise it all in the home market?

Will the public be happy to have their food purchase and intake ­dictated and their vouchers, offers and loyalty points limited?

The government’s aim to reduce obesity is good. But I don’t respect the way they are trying to do it. Scotland is a little more socialist than right-wing England. But hard, controlling, oppressive laws are more communist than socialist – hardly matching ­Wallace’s call for “freedom”.

Four courses at £1.50 – those were the days

HERE’S an interesting little “foodie” flashback. Working on the history of an Edinburgh tennis club (Abercorn), my husband came across a 1972 club dinner menu.

One of the finest options was Cream of Tomato Soup, followed by a Fillet of Sole fish course, then Saddle of Lamb Bouquetierre Garni with Croquet and Chateau Potatoes, Cauliflower and Grilled Tomatoes, ending with a Peach Melba dessert and coffee. The dinner cost per head? £1.50.

Even 19–years–old at the time, I could have afforded that. My first cub reporter job paid £16 a week and my lodgings – including breakfast, dinner and supper – cost me £5 a week.

Those were the days, my friends. . . (Mary Hopkin’s No 1 single in 1968 costing 7/6d – the equivalent of 38p).

May was sold a pup with DUP deal

MANY of us doubted the wisdom of Theresa May’s deal with the DUP to get her majority.

Now that’s obvious with the complications they are adding to her Brexit negotiations, ruling out any Customs checks in the Irish Sea because they don’t think that’s “Unionist”– yet it’s the only “easy” way to help avoid a hard border with Ireland for which both the UK and the EU are striving.

There are also predictions by Irish political scientists that demographics in Northern Ireland will change over the next decade, potentially leading to the six counties leaving the UK and joining the Irish republic. If that did happen, current Brexit decisions on Northern Ireland would be pointless.

And on November 12, the inquiry into the Ballymurphy Massacre begins, something that is bound to anger the DUP and increase hostility between republicans and the UK as the actions of the British army are finally investigated.

Did Mrs May see what was coming or was she so desperately ambitious she would have signed up with anyone?

Let’s face it, we can’t all be Liz

ACTRESS Liz Hurley, 53, moisturises her face and neck ten times a day. Admittedly, she looks about 25. But it’s vanity personified. Who else would have had time to do that – Cleopatra?