Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Liverpool Lou(nacy)

Liverpool City Council (England) claims credit for taking the lead in the campaign to ban smoking in public places throughout Great Britain. Now, it appears the anti-smoker fanatics have picked the next target group on whom they wish to impose their will. For the good of the children, of course.

According to an article in the Daily Mail, Liverpool City Council's Childhood Obesity Scrutiny Group is proposing a by-law that would forbid the sale of fast food accompanied by toys. Councilors claim the promotional toys are used to boost sales through something called "Pester Power" - children pestering parents for Happy Meal toys.

No, this is not a joke!

Councilor Paul Twigger said: "The Scrutiny Group is recommending that a by-law be enforced to stop the circulation of free toys associated with junk food promotions. We consider it is high time that cash-hungry vultures like McDonald's are challenged over their marketing policies which are directly aimed at promoting unhealthy eating among children. Childhood obesity is a dire threat to the health in this country and it needs to be nipped in the bud urgently.”

"Children are directly targeted with junk food and McDonald's use the Happy Meals to exploit Pester Power of children against which many parents give in. In most Happy Meals the toy is sold with a burger containing four or five tablespoons of sugar, along with high-calorie fries and milkshakes. These fattening meals are being shamelessly promoted through free toys and it is clear that it is going to take legislation to combat the practice.”

The Daily Mail article notes that this has been referred to as the “Fat Generation”, with more children becoming obese at a young age

Sustain Spokesman Richard Watts said: "We would support every effort to stop toys being sold with junk food. We need to take radical action against the massive junk food-related health problems we have got with child obesity and heart disease."

In 2004, Liverpool approved a by-law to ban smoking in public places and it is widely acknowledged that it played a significant role in leading to the ban imposed last year. Councilor Twigger believes the new move to ban Happy Meals could begin locally and lead to a similar nationwide ban. He says: "The Liverpool smoke-free team had a great success with their campaign and their ideas played a massive part in the nationwide blanket ban last year. There's no reason why we can't achieve a similar feat."

And the sad part is that he may be right. The bullshit and bafflegab of the tobacco prohibitionists has turned honest, hard-working people into social misfits because they exercised free choice and chose to smoke. Governments and the public let them get away with it, and even encouraged them in their discrimination against smokers.

First, it was tobacco and smokers; now, it’s fast food and the obese. What’s your vice? Just remember, friends and neighbours, you might just be the next target of the petty dictators of the world.

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