Close Down Public Health England

I liked this purely as a piece of English. It’s about Public Health England’s plans to ruin food by reformulating it.

…At the heart of the reformulation delusion is an ignorance of market forces, a deep suspicion of industry and a naive faith in the power of bureaucracy to remedy supposed market failures. One of David Cameron’s greatest mistakes as prime minister was creating Public Health England in 2013. This quango, which relieves the taxpayer of over £4 billion a year, was always going to attract ideologues and activists from the clown show that is ‘public health’academia. These people are relatively harmless when confined to their echo-chamber conferences and rinky-dink journals, but are a menace when allowed off the leash. At Public Health England, they have real power and influence. It is telling that the only ‘stakeholders’ from civil society involved in the reformulation work are Action on Sugar and the Obesity Health Alliance, two mouthpieces of the fanatical Graham MacGregor, who flood the media with hysterical claims about the ‘shocking’ levels of various ingredients in normal, everyday food.

As Josie Appleton showed in her superb report for the IEA last week, these activist groups are the outriders of reformulation, working hand in glove with PHE to soften the public up for further interventions in the food supply. The bone-headed approach of these extremist pressure groups has been bought wholesale by the apparatchiks at PHE. They allow no room for personal autonomy. As they see it, the public will buy whatever products the food industry throws at them. For some mysterious reason, the industry has traditionally chosen to put lots of unnecessary fat, sugar, salt and, er, calories in these products. Therefore, all the government needs to do is to tell them to use saccharine and brown rice instead and the British public will lose weight without even noticing.

It is the kind of idea you might hear from someone who owns a collection of bongs, but thanks to Public Health England it is official government policy. As if to mask the essential stupidity of the scheme, PHE has introduced layers of bureaucracy and issued hundreds of pages of technical notes to give it the veneer of science. Once the calorie programme is fully underway, there will be no fewer than 299 different targets, covering most food products sold in shops and supermarkets as well as the dishes served in pubs, cafés and restaurants.

I didn’t know David Cameron created PHE, but I’m not really surprised. After all he re-branded the Conservative party as a sort of new Green party. He followed all the trends. No doubt PHE and food reformulation was another bandwagon he climbed aboard, to show how fashionably “With It” he was.

But I think that today’s rising populism is a reaction to growing government interference in everybody’s lives. And PHE is exactly the sort of thing that gets up everybody’s nose.

Not everybody smokes cigarettes, but absolutely everybody eats food, and absolutely everybody will have their own favourite brands of food, and so absolutely everybody will be ticked off when PHE forces them to be reformulated into bland sameness, and absolutely everybody will want to see an end to this sort of unnecessary interference. And that’s the driving force behind populism. So PHE is going to become (if it isn’t already) one of the principal drivers behind the growing get-off-our-backs populism of the day. Because everybody is getting thoroughly sick of all these bullying bastards everywhere telling everybody what they should eat and drink and believe and think.

PHE is its own worst enemy, and will largely be the cause of its own eventual destruction. For if it did not exist prior to 2013, it was because there was never any need for it back then, and there still is absolutely no need for it now.

About Frank Davis

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7 Responses to Close Down Public Health England

  1. Timothy Goodacre says:

    PHE, ASH, Action on Sugar, are unelected and contain some really nasty control freaks. They are publicly funded. They should be defunded and no longer receive public money. Your health is your responsibility.

  2. garyk30 says:

    Programs for ‘public health’ are not the same as ‘programs for the health of the public’.

    ‘Public health’ is a made up term to make the controllers feel good about their thuggery.

    The same with ‘social justice’ and ‘white privilege’.

    ‘Social justice’ denies the rights of individuals and ‘white privilege’ is an excuse for claiming victim hood.

  3. Smoking Lamp says:

    Yes, PHE should be disbanded. After that the FCTC needs too be dismantled. These lifestyle control measures aren’t about health. They are a means of rent seeking for corrupt grifters seeking to exploit the fears of others to sustain their ever-expanding grift.

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    Tobacco control was allegedly based on evidence… But that has never been true. It is built on a foundation of lies. And when those lies are exposed, the controllers and their supporters in government reject the evidence. Check out this report from New Zealand: “MPs aghast over tobacco researcher Marewa Glover’s claim ‘bodies heal’ from secondhand smoke” https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/08/mps-aghast-over-tobacco-researcher-marewa-glover-s-claim-bodies-heal-from-secondhand-smoke.html?fbclid=IwAR0uHHi2dpfOtdSCE4T54FsDGGh54cf1uoXzVSxlGyZNLUyUcOfquMS8p2U

    The tobacco researcher quoted in the article said: “In tobacco control over 35 years, we have exaggerated the effects deliberately to scare people off smoking,” adding “What we didn’t realise, was that years down the track, we’d be in this situation where everyone believed what we said and are now taking these extreme, punitive measures, when the evidence does not support the need for it.”

    Of course the lifestyle controllers rejected the evidence and want to push on with increasingly draconian restrictions on smoking. Tobacco control must be destroyed!

  5. beobrigitte says:

    One of David Cameron’s greatest mistakes as prime minister was creating Public Health England in 2013. This quango, which relieves the taxpayer of over £4 billion a year, was always going to attract ideologues and activists from the clown show that is ‘public health’academia. These people are relatively harmless when confined to their echo-chamber conferences and rinky-dink journals, but are a menace when allowed off the leash.
    How about closing down this waste of money, hare-brained, interfering clown show of PHE? It’s much cheaper to tell the public that the adults amongst them are responsible for their own health.
    (Admittedly, the homeless, it’s ever growing number have far bigger problems than to worry about health)

    For some mysterious reason, the industry has traditionally chosen to put lots of unnecessary fat, sugar, salt and, er, calories in these products.
    There is no mysterious reason, salt and sugar can be used to preserve food (I just finished my blackberry jam for the Winter – and, yep, a copious amount of sugar was used) and fat is used to enhance flavour.

    Therefore, all the government needs to do is to tell them to use saccharine and brown rice instead and the British public will lose weight without even noticing.
    Oh, really? There are plenty of contradicting articles and papers about artificial sweeteners to be found. And in my case most of them give me blinding headaches, hence my personal choice to avoid industrially prepared foods and home cooking from scratch.
    Brown rice contains far more arsenic than white rice (just to frighten the already frightened – most foods have something or the other toxic :) )
    https://foodrevolution.org/blog/arsenic-in-rice/
    I cannot resist to comment that arsenic poisoning aids weight loss tremendously!

    Not everybody smokes cigarettes, but absolutely everybody eats food, and absolutely everybody will have their own favourite brands of food, and so absolutely everybody will be ticked off when PHE forces them to be reformulated into bland sameness, and absolutely everybody will want to see an end to this sort of unnecessary interference.
    I absolutely agree! We’re individuals with individual tastes and preferences. Getting rid of the PHE quango alone gains £4 billion/year!

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