Hat tip to Igrowmyown for drawing attention to this:
Norway’s newly appointed health minister has caused controversy by saying people should be allowed to eat, smoke and drink “as much as they want”.
Sylvi Listhaug also said smokers were made to feel like pariahs.
A populist politician with anti-immigration views, she was appointed as the new health minister on Friday, a year after being forced to quit over a security row.
Critics say she has little understanding of what public health is.
“My starting point for this with public health is very simple. I do not plan to be the moral police, and will not tell people how to live their lives, but I intend to help people get information that forms the basis for making choices,” she told Norwegian broadcaster NRK in an interview on Monday.
“People should be allowed to smoke, drink and eat as much red meat as much as they want. The authorities may like to inform, but people know pretty much what is healthy and what is not healthy, I think.”
Smokers were made to feel like pariahs, Ms Listhaug, herself a former smoker, added.
How astonishing! A Minister of Health who isn’t yet another bullying killjoy! A Minister of Health who thinks people should smoke and drink and eat whatever they want to! Whatever next?
Public Health Norway must be apoplectic.
But, as a populist politician in a Europe where populists are on the rise, and looking set to sweep into the EU parliament later this month, she is perhaps a harbinger of things to come.
After all, if Nigel Farage became Prime Minister of the UK (something that I’ve read being seriously discussed recently) would he be pushing for more restrictions on smoking and drinking? Of course he wouldn’t. And neither, I surmise, would Marine Le Pen or Matteo Salvini. Nationalist populists in government aren’t likely to bring in yet more rules and regulations: they’ll be revoking and repealing them. The rise of national populism in Europe will likely be very bad news for the Public Health and Tobacco Control bullies.
And is Ms Listhaug really a former smoker? A little further down the above article, it says:
Ms Listhaug says she only smokes rarely now, mainly on social occasions.
So she’s a “social smoker” who only lights up when her friends do. But I’d say that if she’s still smoking at parties, then she’s a current smoker, not an ex-smoker.
And are the critics right in saying that “she has little understanding of what public health is”? It seems to me that she has a very good understanding of what Public Heath is all about: puritanical bullying and browbeating and banning. And she doesn’t want to be one of “the moral police” that they are.
What’s surprising about this is that it’s happened in the long dark shadow of Norwegian ex-PM Gro Harlem Brundtland, who in the 1980s and 1990s more or less single-handedly not only set the World Health Organisation on its current antismoking healthist busybody path, but was also one of the driving forces behind the environmental movement and global warming alarmism. (It seems that she still is.)
Yet perhaps it’s not surprising that a Sylvi Listhaug should appear in Norway in reaction to the oppressive presence of the likes of Gro Harlem Brundtland.
However Listhaug does also say:
“Although smoking is not good, because it is harmful, adults have to decide for themselves what they do.”
So she thinks smoking is harmful. When are we going to see Ministers of Health who say that Smoking Is Good For You?
More about Sylvi Listhaug here.