Back off, Nanny. Just tell us what to do?
We Brits are belligerent and nothing raises our ire more than being told what to eat and drink and how much. Right? Or does nanny really know best? Two of today's health headlines today show us bristling at pep-talks while wanting more state intervention. The conflict seems to be all about class and income.
Theresa May's approach to the obesity crisis is condemned as a 'national scandal'. The failure to restrict junk food marketing and advertising and reliance on voluntary targets on food and drink manufacturers is seen as a failure to look after the poor and the socially deprived.
"Cheers Mrs May, the odd drink is all right", shout the media in headline two. I can hear the clinking glasses as journalists celebrate the news that the government is relaxing health guidelines on alcohol intake. They have labelled it a rejection of our chief medical officer's “nanny state” approach to booze.
So do we want the "nanny state" to interevene on questions of diet and health?
Left-minded thinkers insist intervention shields us from an avalanche of advertising messages cajoling us to eat-it, drink-it and live-in-the-moment.
The obesity epidemic may shorten the lives of today's kids by 10 years. The loss of the extended family and of real parenting skills has created a much more indebted society, in terms of its health.
Affluent families don't suffer from that health-debt. They buy fresh food which is not loaded with sugar and salt. They can afford gyms and health clubs, and electronic health gadgets . They can even afford their own nannies. If they over-indulge, they can throw money at the problem.
Low-income Brits unable to pay for this health buffer and deprived of other expensive treats are the real targets for affordable comforts in supermarket aisles, fast-food outlets and cheap boozers.
They are our most vulnerable people, just like the urban poor in America.
In a society shaped by consumerism, maybe we should cut Nanny some slack.