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July 28, 2014

Comments

Lancastrian Oik

Has it not occurred to these control freaks that it would be a fairly simple matter just to buy two of everything, and virtually impossible to police?

John D

Forty years ago, they would have been throwing money at British Leyland

Ouch.

David

Has it not occurred to these control freaks that it would be a fairly simple matter just to buy two of everything,

Ah, but aside from the inconvenience, doing so would probably cost more, which is, after all, the intended deterrent effect. Though Ms Wallaston claims such consequences are “not infringing anyone’s liberty.” Oh, and those who disagree with Ms Wallaston “have been duped by lobbyists.”

Anna

Vote Tory, get Labour.

Rafi

You go into the cinema and someone will ask if you want to supersize for an extra 20p – we don't need that.

I'm so glad these people know what I need.

JuliaM

Rafi, I think Ms Wollaston is just one of those women who doesn't know how to say 'No'...

David

I’m so glad these people know what I need.

Indeed. It’s so good of them to do all that deciding on our behalf, even regarding the size and type of drink or snack we should choose at the cinema. Though the implied relationship between the state (i.e., them) and its citizens may not be to everyone’s taste. Personally I’m not so keen to be treated as a “dupe” by some patrician overclass. And given that politicians are, almost by definition, dubious and untrustworthy, I’m not sure it’s wise to give them even more power, in even more spheres, as if they’d ever stop due to some internal sense of decency.

I quite like this, from the comments at Tim’s ASI piece,

Politics is a high stress job, certainly detrimental to health in large quantities. Politicians should be prevented from consuming too much politics. There should be no supersized political careers. I suggest limiting them to 6 years out of any consecutive 18, for their health.

We care about their welfare too, you see.

Lancastrian Oik

"....doing so would probably cost more, which is, after all, the intended deterrent effect".

Of course, that and the inconvenience caused.

But neither of those deterrent effects will prevent people from buying whatever product is being targeted in whatever quantity they wish, nor are they likely to reduce overall consumption. Most of us know this from history, as should Sarah Wallaston and Jill Filipovic; after all, it's not like it's a secret that Prohibition was an utter disaster for the US, with detrimental consequences which still reverberate today. Without resorting to that somewhat clichéd Einstein quote, why do these control freaks always think it's going to be different this time round?

David

When I go to the local multiplex, I often sit in the upstairs bar before the film starts, sipping coffee while peering down at the main foyer, people-watching. On at least one occasion it’s been more entertaining than the film. But at no point has it occurred to me that the people below – buying hot dogs or nachos or Coke or whatever – should be steered away from choosing the wrong kind of snack in the wrong quantity. It takes a peculiar mindset to consider such things seriously, and it’s not one to encourage among politicians or give any kind of leverage.

Not least because the kinds of personalities that think in those terms eagerly tend not to stop of their own volition. There doesn’t seem to be a point at which the interference becomes objectionable, overbearing or ridiculous. For some, the urge to scold and interfere, to exert some control over other people’s lives, however absurdly, seems compulsive, almost addictive.

sk60

The government is not a substitute for mum and dad.

Greg

They can have my hot dogs, nachos, and coke when they pry it from my cold, dead, hands.

ps. Tomorrow's hot dog allocation found its way into your tip jar.

David

Tomorrow’s hot dog allocation found its way into your tip jar.

I’m saving the nation from unauthorised foodstuffs, one donation at a time.

Tim Newman

I normally avoid the overpriced, rather shite snacks on offer in cinemas for the simple reason that only 1 in 10 can organise the staff in sufficient numbers such that a 20 minute wait in a queue is avoided. Many a time I find myself going into the screen room still with the £10 I was quite willing to spend, but not if it involved standing in line to do so.

Lancastrian Oik

"I normally avoid the overpriced, rather shite snacks on offer in cinemas for the simple reason that only 1 in 10 can organise the staff in sufficient numbers such that a 20 minute wait in a queue is avoided. Many a time I find myself going into the screen room still with the £10 I was quite willing to spend, but not if it involved standing in line to do so".

Shhh. Dr. Sarah Wallaston might be listening- you'll only give her ideas.

David

I normally avoid the overpriced, rather shite snacks on offer in cinemas for the simple reason that only 1 in 10 can organise the staff in sufficient numbers such that a 20 minute wait in a queue is avoided.

That’s one of the advantages of going early on Sunday morning instead of Saturday night. Much easier to park, shorter queues and (I think) a more civilised audience. Which is the kind of audience you want when you’re watching superheroes punching giant robots.

Robert

I dislike the type of snacks and drinks sold in cinemas, so I never buy them.
But it would never have occurred to me that everyone else should be made to follow suit.
Does that mean I'll never get a job with the Guardian?

Joan

Does that mean I'll never get a job with the Guardian?

She's a 'Conservative' MP who sounds like she writes for the Guardian. Welcome to Cameron's Britain.

R. Sherman

One wonders what sort of upbringing a person like Ms. Wallaston had, such that she is pathologically incapable of tolerating people enjoying themselves. Fortunately for her, she's a politician. In real life, insufferable scolds like her get punched in the face.

potato

If Ms.Wallaston were sitting at the snack counter scolding customers about their purchases she`d be viewed as a kooky harridan. Now she`s a kooky harridan with power which makes her completely unfit for public office.

Steve B

Which is why you swing by the bulk candy section of your local confectionery, and stock voluminous jacket pockets with smuggled goodies. Win. Win.

Melissa

Those Who Need Saving From Their Own Shopping Lists™

Snort. Worth the price of a cinema ticket. *hits tip jar*

David

stock voluminous jacket pockets with smuggled goodies.

There was a time, as a child, when heavy gorging in a darkened cinema was part of the treat. Now I’d be distracted by having sticky fingers. As it is I’ve been known to grumble about 3D glasses smeared with what appeared to be nacho cheese residue.

Worth the price of a cinema ticket.

I promise to use it wisely. Possibly on Guardians of the Galaxy.

Tim Newman

That’s one of the advantages of going early on Sunday morning instead of Saturday night.

Good point. When I lived in Dubai I used to go on Friday mornings, the ME equivalent of Sunday mornings. On several occasions I was utterly alone in the theatre.

David

in Dubai I used to go on Friday mornings, the ME equivalent of Sunday mornings

It’s a lot less stressful. I’m obsessively punctual so there’s none of the usual parking stress, plenty of time for a drink, even a large one, and finding a good seat doesn’t involve grappling, tear gas or other extreme measures. And even if the place fills up, as it often does for big films, there’s usually a congenial atmosphere. I went to see Avengers Assemble on a Sunday morning and remember seeing a dad accompanying his very excited son, aged maybe six, who was kitted out in Iron Man pyjamas and a full replica helmet.

Civilis

My usual rules for theater-going:
1) Wait a couple of weeks after the movie has premiered.
2) Order and pick up the tickets with plenty of time to spare.
3) Eat outside the theater before the movie for cheaper and better food.

JuliaM

" I went to see Avengers Assemble on a Sunday morning and remember seeing a dad accompanying his very excited son, aged maybe six, who was kitted out in Iron Man pyjamas and a full replica helmet."

Awww, bless! And what was the kiddie wearing?

David

And what was the kiddie wearing?

Ba-dum-tisshhh. It’s so unfair, though. At his age I had to make my own out of cardboard.

A different Kevin B

"I dislike the type of snacks and drinks sold in cinemas, so I never buy them."

No stony petrel on a stick for you!

Tim Newman

I remember going to see Spiderman in the cinema and a kid of about 5 or 6 rushed into the theatre all excited wearing a spiderman costume...and promptly tripped on a step and fell flat on his face. It would have taken a heart of stone not to laugh, and I confess that I did. He wasn't hurt though, and got up a second later.

mojo

"Humanity is divided into two basic types: those who want to tell others what to do, and those who have no such desire."

Heinlein, I think.

dicentra

Quoth Kevin Williams, on the left's disdain for sticking to the law as written:

And besides, things will turn out other than as we desire if we follow the law as written, and who are you, and what is the law, to forbid us our desires?” It is easier to think that way when you believe that you represent a uniquely enlightened point of view, that you are acting in the public interest, and that your political rivals are wicked and ignorant.
And they accuse us of Manichaeism.

Which, I am reminded, is the clearest indication of what they themselves are up to.

dicentra

Without resorting to that somewhat clichéd Einstein quote, why do these control freaks always think it's going to be different this time round?

I learned only a few weeks ago that the quote is not from Einstein but from Narcotics Anonymous literature.

Why would they want it to be different? They're not the ones who suffer the ill effects of their meddling. Having been born later than the Prohibitionists, they're by definition smarter and more moral.

neal

Einstein got hooked up with. flashlight, on a surfboard. It can get like that, not just politicics, or time space. The math is hard, but doable.

Crazy Horse had the same deal, but that is just thunder, lightning, and whirlwinds.

I do not know why most see what is given; Why woulld anyone buy into that?

Not as bad as it looks, just hearts and minds, and rising blood cults.

Ed Snack

It used to be a Stormy Petrel on a stick in my day, not so hard on the teeth. But birds aside, who could go past the treat supreme of an ice cream in a small squarish cone,with a chocolate coating and nuts, deep frozen. Sometimes the ice cream was even Jaffa rather than the ubiquitous vanilla.

I used to go to the theatre for that treat alone, and endure the film for the sake of the taste treat.

As a lad we used to go to the local flea pit and purchase those hard round sweets known locally as "jaffas", and we could be persuaded to part with one for the pleasure of rolling it down the wooden floor. It would make this sort of muted clattering noise over the floorboards punctuated by regular raps as it went over the steps. Very useful for distraction when the hero got all sloppy and wanted to kiss the heroine. Nothing though matched the feat of one friend who when leaning over the railings upstairs managed to lose the ice cream out his cone and it landed fair smack on someone in the cheap seats head. We were evicted as a group for that, and my friend was more indignant for the loss of his ice cream than he was for the eviction.

Lancastrian Oik

Even as a kid, the cinema was wonderful notwithstanding the juvenile delinquency. Saturday mornings were fun, but then you began to appreciate "the pictures" as an art.

My mother was an autodidact; a working-class girl who dabbled in watercolours, who loved the popular classics (Chopin and Mozart were her favourites) and went to evening classes to learn how to make pottery. Her first love was cinema, and she recognised that David Lean was a master.

In Burnley we had an Odeon, a massive Art Deco brick palace with a sweeping double staircase and red plush seats and a screen that seemed as wide as a cricket field.

It must have been sometime around 1970 when they showed "Lawrence Of Arabia" in its full majesty; we went there by bus, Mum bought me a big bag of Butterkist popcorn and....

She had taste, my mum.

About five years later, a whole lot of us from the fourth form (feral dickheads all) went to see "Rollerball" and when we came out I wanted to clothesline the first FS1E rider I saw, and I hadn't even had a sip of my mates' cider.

It's all about portion control and sugar content, isn't it

Lancastrian Oik

Oops-missed off a question mark there.

David Gillies

How I long for the days when someone like this Wallaston creature could be put back in her place with a stern "don't be so bloody impertinent!" Doctors are a jumped-up caste of middle-class do-gooders high on self-righteousness and misplaced sense of importance. They're middle-ranking professionals, like quantity surveyors or actuaries, who have elevated themselves to a wholly unmerited status. Time they were taken down a peg.

David

Reading Ms Wallaston’s tweets, what’s striking is how often she finds disagreement with her incomprehensible. Baffled by people who don’t think as she does, she concludes, based on nothing and in a rather self-flattering way, that her critics have been “duped by lobbyists.” “Health inequality demands action,” says she, and further bloating of the state and mass condescension is apparently the only way to go. “What benefit is there to the supersizing of [drinks and meals]?” she asks, as if the customers for such things needed to present her with agreeable excuses.

The possibility that (for instance) one big drink with two straws might be cheaper than two separate drinks of a size Ms Wallaston approves, and that this might matter to some families on a budget, apparently hasn’t occurred to her. You see, that’s an option “we don’t need.”

rjmadden

The state, says Ms Wallaston, has “a duty to intervene” by telling you what it is you “don’t need” when buying drinks and snacks at the local cinema.

She's saving us from ourselves by infantilising us.

Minnow

I don't think we should be so hard on paternalism per se. It can be benign and helpful, as, for example, when we forbid people to make their own prescriptions for medicines and insist a doctor decides what they need. I think a lot of people are as bad at judging their dietary as their medical needs and the consequences can be just as bad for them (and for the rest of us).

David

She’s saving us from ourselves by infantilising us.

The ‘electorate-as-livestock’ approach.

As Simon Cooke says here,

As I’m inclined to kindness in these things, I could say that Dr Wollaston is befuddling her duty as a doctor to advise her patients with some sort of wider duty falling on the state. However, regardless of Dr Wollaston’s motives, the result of setting out a concept such as a ‘duty to intervene’ is to redefine the role of the state, to turn its role from guarantor of rights and provider of services to a primary role of shaping society. Which is why the term ‘health fascist’ is entirely appropriate to describe Dr Wollaston’s position.

Several tweets aimed at Ms Wallaston make similar points, though she seems strangely dismissive of the wider, somewhat troubling implications of her own claims.

Tim Newman

It can be benign and helpful, as, for example, when we forbid people to make their own prescriptions for medicines and insist a doctor decides what they need.

One of the benefits of living in Thailand and Russia was *not* having to wait a week or more to see a doctor who would spend 35 seconds scribbling out a prescription for an anti-inflammatory which I'd been prescribed a dozen times before. No, I just walked into a pharmacy and bought a box of it.

Smudger

I'd just like to register my surprise at Minnow popping up to take the pro-fascism line.

David

When pressed, Ms Wollaston admits the obvious flaw in her paternalism, i.e., that “there is nothing to stop people buying two packets of something if you really want that volume of extra calories.” This sentence is immediately followed by “but most of us wouldn’t choose to; most of us would go for the default size.” Which, funnily enough, is what already happens now, without any expensive and condescending meddling from people like Ms Wallaston. When you walk into Starbucks or McDonald’s or the local multiplex, you aren’t automatically handed the largest possible portion. Standard, non-supersized portions are already the default serving for most of us just about everywhere, but apparently this isn’t enough for our ambitious busybody and the option to order a larger serving shouldn’t be available at all. Because, says she, “we don’t need” them.

Though it seems she will tolerate the sight of people juggling multiple cups and packages at greater expense and much less convenience than a single supersized measure would have been. So there’s that.

[ Edited. ]

Minnow

I'd just like to register my surprise at Minnow popping up to take the pro-fascism line.

Defending GPs is pro-fascism? Blimey. Who knew?

Dr Cromarty

[Minnow]:I don't think we should be so hard on paternalism per se. It can be benign and helpful, as, for example, when we forbid people to make their own prescriptions for medicines and insist a doctor decides what they need. I think a lot of people are as bad at judging their dietary as their medical needs and the consequences can be just as bad for them (and for the rest of us).

Modern medicines are effective and as a consequence also have effects which are dangerous and at times difficult to predict. This is why they are regulated. The effects of excess consumption of food have been long known and have long been the subject of opprobrium (gluttony has been a deadly sin for a long time). The conflation of moralising with medicines' safety by Minnow is disingenuous to say the least (but hardly a surprise).

Doctors as moralists are usually laughable as we carry the same vices as our patients, often with a side order of condescension. Doctors as politicians are particularly off-putting. Sarah Wollaston seems haughty and dismissive, as was David Owen. Evan Harris was just creepy.

Dr Cromarty

[Minnow]: Defending GPs is pro-fascism? Blimey. Who knew?

You are not "defending GPs" you are defending a particularly illiberal politician who happens to be medically qualifying. Stop lying. Again.

Giving your support to measures which intrudes the State into parts of our lives where it has neither the competence nor the right to intrude (i.e. Food portion size outside of wartime or similar emergencies) could be described as pro-fascist, yes, Minnow.

Note to David: prepare the servers for at least a three-pager.

David

Doctors as moralists are usually laughable as we carry the same vices as our patients, often with a side order of condescension.

Reminded me of this. A couple of years ago I went to my NHS GP for a tetanus shot after an (accidental) dog bite. My usual GP, a charming woman and not discernibly fascistic, was on holiday and so I saw one of her colleagues instead. At some point out of mild curiosity I asked what my blood type was, the details of which were somewhere in my file. I was rather caught off guard by the doctor’s casual refusal to tell me. He said that if I “really” wanted to know I should travel across town to give blood. Apparently he didn’t think that patients – his customers – needed to know such details. Details concerning the contents of their own bodies.

Pushed for time, I didn’t press the point, beyond raising an eyebrow and suggesting that his attitude on the matter was a tad inappropriate.

Dr Cromarty

Medically ***qualified***

Dr Cromarty

Pushed for time, I didn’t press the point, beyond raising an eyebrow and suggesting that his attitude on the matter was a tad inappropriate

I don't think I'd have been so restrained. Your body, your results. It's not like you need to be on the medical register to interpret it in the way you might a biopsy. He sounds like a twat. Sadly lots of them in the profession.

David

I don’t think I’d have been so restrained.

Improbable as it may sound, I’m usually scrupulously polite, sometimes even shy, among strangers. Plus I couldn’t spare the time for a proper parsing of his arrogance.

Dr Cromarty

I suppose you should be grateful he didn't tell you what and how much you could have for your dinner that night.

Tim Newman

Apparently he didn’t think that patients – his customers – needed to know such details.

Ha! The patients are not his customers, the government is his customer. You're no more a customer than a Facebook user is a customer.

David

The patients are not his customers, the government is his customer. You’re no more a customer than a Facebook user is a customer.

Yes, I think that has quite a lot to do with the prevalence of such attitudes. In my (admittedly limited) experience, there’s been a noticeable difference in attitude between state healthcare and the private sector (even when there’s an overlap in the staff).

Tim Newman

The same is true of many things, including airport security. Again, the customer is the government, the passenger just the product that is there to be processed. What do you think these people fear more, complaints from the passengers/patients or complaints from the government?

At least the Soviets had the kniga zhalob.

Dan

I commend Minnow, to an extent, for coming to this blog and putting the opposing point of view, however poorly.

However, what he is actually engaged in is a higher-end form of trolling.

As Karl Popper said, it is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood, and Minnow has elevated the deliberate misunderstanding to an art form.

Thus, in any given comment he will identify one or two loose words or ambiguous phrases - lacunae into which he can insinuate himself and his puerile opinions.

You cannot win against people like this, he is lost - until such time as he is mugged by reality, which happens to most of them eventually.

In the meantime, I strongly suggest ignoring him and anything he says. He'll soon tire and go elsewhere

KyleR

“What benefit is there to the supersizing of [drinks and meals]?” she asks, as if the customers for such things needed to present her with agreeable excuses.

In a nutshell, that.

David

In a nutshell, that.

Well, it does have an air of “Why are people allowed to like things I don’t like?”

David Gillies

“Why are people allowed to like things I don’t like?” This is a common failing, and it's not (unfortunately) the sole preserve of the Left, although it does seem to be greatly concentrated on that side of the aisle. I think it's a failure of both imagination and empathy. And it does appear to be one of those dichotomous personality traits, like optimism/pessimism, introversion/extroversion etc. that are very refractory to change. I might not be able to understand, for example, why someone enjoys anodyne musical fare like One Direction or Justin Bieber. But that doesn't mean I wish to interfere in anyone's enjoyment of it. The failure is on my part for not understanding, not theirs for having different tastes. A little bit of humility would go a long way with people like Wallaston.

Actually, I'm tempted to think that many of the pathologies of the authoritarian mindset are rooted in a failure of empathy. Empathy is the ability to picture oneself in someone else's shoes, but in order to do that you have to acknowledge that the other person is indeed other, and not just an extension of you. None of us can do this perfectly, but some can do it better than others. Denial that the other person has agency leads on the small scale to Wallaston's impertinent meddling and on the large scale to toxic ideas like false consciousness. There's a vast arrogance embedded in this idea: that not only does someone not know what they truly want, but that I do.

DH

Some time ago, I had to register with a new GP, which involved filling in a questionnaire about existing medical problems and so on.
One of the questions demanded to know how many units of alcohol I consumed in an average week.
I stopped to ponder this particular question, prompting a "Now tell the truth..." remark from the purse lipped receptionist.
To her disappointment, I told her that it was her misfortune that I knew exactly what an Alcohol Brief Intervention* is and exactly how many units I would have to write down for my GP to later sit me down and tell me I'm a problem drinker.
I wrote down three. She scowled and told me there were no appointments for a month.


*Deranged Scottish Government scheme where you're hectored by your GP and branded an alcoholic if you admit to downing three pints in one sitting at least once a week.

splotchy

I am no fan of Dr Wollaston - she is too much of a nanny for me, and whenever I think of her ilk misappropriating their power to make it harder to buy 'bad' things like junk food and booze, I think of my elderly granny who was poor as a church mouse but who gained a bit of much-deserved pleasure and relaxation from a tiny nip of sherry in the evening - something she partake responsibly and which was nobody's business but hers. Such pleasures would be out of her reach if Nanny Wollaston had her way.

However, we do live in a world where nanny has to bail us out if excesses of eating/drinking etc make us ill, stop us from working productively and are a drain on the health services. Our health service is on its knees, largely due to unrealistic demands for attention to the tiniest of twinges, to the vastly expensive drugs and surgeries needed for lifestyle conditions, the costs of which are rocketting up at warpspeed due to sheer numbers. So I tend to think if Nanny has to pay for such health care (or rather pay by taxing the bejaysus out of those of us who are more responsible), it's not so unreasonable she tries to prevent the worse excesses.

Overall it would maybe be more reasonable if those who drank/ate to the excesses of making themselves ill (or to criminality in the case of alcohol) were the ones who could more proportionately foot the bill. So (in the absence of an insurance-funded health service) I'd prefer to see penalty charges for those arrested or admitted to casualty when paralytic and perhaps some sort of financial carrot/stick regarding the health costs of those who are grossly obese, up to and including that perhaps they just shouldn't be funded at national expense? Ie, levy the responsibility back at the consumer and the tiny minority who behave like idiots to the extreme. For the rest of us, leave us to eat and drink whatever we want, preferably as cheaply as possible.

Yes, I know that's a tad pro-fascist, and heaven forbid 'judgemental'. But if we want a health service that can still afford basic care to as many people as possible, something will have to change regarding either the funding, or the sheer numbers, of those with 'lifestyle' illnesses.

Dr Cromarty

[DH]*Deranged Scottish Government scheme where you're hectored by your GP and branded an alcoholic if you admit to downing three pints in one sitting at least once a week.

Pfffffft!!!! Three pints??? I live in Glasgow. That's an aperitif

DH

Indeed. I work in the second city of the empire and three pints of heavy constitutes a light lunch.
Maybe that's why they've managed to mark about half a million people's cards for drinking too much since 2008 using the aforementioned scheme.
They've also banned two-for-one booze deals in the supermarkets and are currently fighting through the European courts to try and enforce minimum pricing. It's almost as if the tinpot Scottish Government ministers view the populace with utter contempt.

matt

It is hilariously misguided to regulate food portion sizes at cinemas, a place the average person goes a few times a year. Really gonna have an impact there eh Sarah (but we know that's just the start, too)? But then again we are talking about narcissism driven dogooderism, which hits the mark about 1 time in 100. Here's my beef with this... i work out about 4x per week and try to stick to a low-ish carb high protein diet with as much vegetable matter as i can get. Not preaching, but it works for me to keep my body fat in the high teens. But once a week i treat myself, especially if this is planned around attending a movie with the kids. But even here at an entertainment venue we can't escape bossy Sarah's commandments on eating well. Apparently even at a movie one must be doing their level best to not indulge as Sarah sees fit. Even at the f*&k*&g cinema.

WTP

re DH: where you're hectored by your GP and branded an alcoholic if you admit to downing three pints in one sitting at least once a week.

In the US we tend to measure "one drink" technically speaking as one 12 oz beer, 6 oz glass of wine, or 1 oz of 80-proof booze. I had a marriage counselor many years ago who "informed" me that three of such in one evening constituted a "drinking binge". I remember thinking if this concept ever catches on in Europe, especially with their socialized medical systems, the shrinks will be rolling in dough. And given that once people are wise to the absurd threshold, they will lie their way down to the Mendoza line. Which of course will create a self-incorrecting loop possibly leading to effective prohibition. The future's so bright I gotta wear shades.

Tim Newman

Yes, I know that's a tad pro-fascist, and heaven forbid 'judgemental'. But if we want a health service that can still afford basic care to as many people as possible, something will have to change regarding either the funding, or the sheer numbers, of those with 'lifestyle' illnesses.

That's the very reason why I believe the left love the NHS so much: it's gives them a nice wide avenue into interfering in peoples' lives and telling them how to live. To control freaks and authoritarian tosspots, this is the most attractive feature of a universal health system.

Tim Newman

Aaaaaargh! Italics! Sorry!

David

Die, italics! Die!

Tim Newman

Top modding, David!

pst314

Minnow: I think a lot of people are as bad at judging their political as their medical needs and the consequences can be just as bad for them (and for the rest of us).

Minnow clearly is too foolish (or twisted) to exercise the duties of citizenship and should be restrained from voting. :-)

David

Top modding, David!

I am a great host. [ Wipes bar, straightens beer mats, listens attentively. ]

splotchy

That's the very reason why I believe the left love the NHS so much: it's gives them a nice wide avenue into interfering in peoples' lives and telling them how to live.

Indeed. But as far as the public are concerned, our 'free' NHS is a sacred cow. Of course, it is not free - we pay massively so in taxes and line up outside our GPs in scenes reminiscent of communism-era USSR bread queues for our snatched 10 minutes of 'healthcare', interwoven with compulsory ker-ching dollops of advice on our private habits so as to reward our GPs with extra nannyish-box-ticking money.

It's expensive, inefficient, intrusive, and compared to many poorer countries, woefully inadequate as our cancer death rates show. Plus it helps our population be passive sheep who lack motivation to take responsibility (if they wish) for their own health. We need an 'Emperor's New Clothes' moment when it comes to health care. But Nanny Wollaston and her political colleagues do not want to allow one, and the public do not want to hear it.

Still - there are occasions where the state justifies sticking its nose into recklessness when a small measure can reduce risk and cost to others. Not nearly as many as we have and certainly not whether you can have large or small popcorn on the family treat to the flicks. But, eg, crash-helmets for motor-cyclists; babyseats for cars etc. A light-handed touch from a pragmatic Nanny who only rarely sticks her nose in, and only then when it is on matters which significantly impact upon others, I can live with. Micromanagement of what size treats I am allowed in my own leisure time with my own money, no thanks.

mojo

"Look, you may be a doctor, but you're not MY doctor. So, ya know, piss off."

dicentra

Thus, in any given comment he will identify one or two loose words or ambiguous phrases - lacunae into which he can insinuate himself and his puerile opinions.

Yup and yup.

At no juncture does Minnow say, "yes, you're right on that point, and let me add this," but rather functions as an obnoxious younger brother who says "why?" after every statement because he knows it drives you straight up the wall, not because he's curious to know things.

dicentra

Overall it would maybe be more reasonable if those who drank/ate to the excesses of making themselves ill (or to criminality in the case of alcohol) were the ones who could more proportionately foot the bill

The only way for people to truly be free is if they're exposed to the full consequences of their actions, wise or foolish.

It's also the only way for people to become mature adults. I was not a rebellious teen but I do remember screaming, "Let me make my own mistakes!" That's the proper way to separate from one's parents, not by mechanically doing the opposite of what they say.

That's also why socialized medicine is anathema to most of us in the USA: we know that when the cost (read: responsibility) is spread out that much, people will stop weighing the long-term effects of their decisions because they don't have to. Either they'll be bailed out by MommyGubmint or MommyGubmint will tell them which decisions to make.

Atrophy of the character, is what. Trade liberty (dangerous) for security and this is the inevitable result.

sackcloth and ashes

'It can be benign and helpful, as, for example, when we forbid people to make their own prescriptions for medicines and insist a doctor decides what they need'.

Just over twenty years ago, I took my gap year after school, part of which was spent working in Poland teaching English. Anticipating the possible wish to travel around parts formerly Iron Curtain, and on being told that healthcare in some parts may be rudimentary in emergencies, I was strongly advised to get hold of an emergency kit with clean needles.

So I went to my GP, and after a prolonged wait, I explained my requirements.

'Oh no. Needles. That won't do'.

I told them they'd be sterilised and packed, and that if I got hit by a Skoda I didn't want a blood transfusion done with dirty ones if I had a clean set to hand.

'No, no. The customs will think you're a drug addict. It can't be done'.

So I went to my local pharmacist. He told me he could order a medical kit with needles, and it was a common request. I told him what the GP said. He laughed.

And so I went to Poland, and a few neighbouring countries besides, with that med kit in my rucksack. Of all the border guards in all the frontier posts I crossed, not one of them decided to give me the 'Midnight Express' treatment because of it. Even the Lithuanians, who were arseholes who insisted on doing full searches on everyone's luggage.

End result if I'd listened to my GP? I wouldn't have had a piece of useful kit I may have needed had I had a bad accident. I might even have thought twice about engaging in a life-enhancing experience that broadened my horizons.

So thank you, paternalism, I will be the master of my own destiny, and not a permanent child.

Spiny Norman

Dan,

You cannot win against people like this, he is lost - until such time as he is mugged by reality, which happens to most of them eventually.

In the meantime, I strongly suggest ignoring him and anything he says. He'll soon tire and go elsewhere.

Doubtful, really. Like the ones in the park where a few crumbs mean they'll never leave you alone, the resident pigeon thinks he's winning, and will continue to strut about for quite some time to come.

Spiny Norman

DH,

It's almost as if the tinpot Scottish Government ministers view the populace with utter contempt.

Sadly, the same is true of government bureaucrats the world over.

galah23

The previous Labor government here in Australia, fairly early on, introduced a bone-headed piece of legislation whereby they increased the price of pre-mixed drinks sold in cans and bottles (you Brits call it alcopops I believe), in an effort to discourage young drinkers from consuming too much. So of course the young people just switched to bottles of spirits and separate bottles of mixer (which they would have done sooner or later anyway), and discovered that they could adjust the level of spirits in a drink themselves, and hence, potentially become more drunk more quickly. So, this wonderful piece of social engineering failed miserably. The arrogant, nannyish posture of that government was breath-taking: "We will control the behaviour of the general public by manipulating the price of this product". For me, it was the first alarm bell sounding, warning me that there was something decidedly dodgy about this Labor government. And it all went downhill from there.

Henry

David Gillies

Doctors are a jumped-up caste of middle-class do-gooders high on self-righteousness and misplaced sense of importance

I once complained to a friend (who is a nurse) about the amazing intellectual snobbery of doctors. Her reply? "You don't need to tell me about that. I've gone out with several doctors"

Doctors have to explain complex decisions in simple terms to patients daily, so they get too used to talking down to people. I think there's a bit of a feeling of superiority in medical schools as well, let alone in hospitals

One way or another they develop an extraordinary hubris, and many of them seem to have taken on board 'progressive' tics like lamenting the bigoted, prejudiced attitudes of "Daily Mail readers". They feel they know it all, and need to be understanding (as part of their job) about those less educated people they have to deal with everyday.

That's how they think. Some of them can barely disguise their contempt for everyone else

In the meantime, I strongly suggest ignoring him and anything he says. He'll soon tire and go elsewhere

Agreed, sadly. He does have moments of being congenial online company, but we're not getting anywhere with his debates, which consist of too many misrepresentations

Mike

"When people teach creationism in schools (or if people were to try to teach that the earth is flat) they are publicly ridiculed. However, the very same chattering classes who do the ridiculing wish to enshrine flat-earth economics into public policy."

http://www.iea.org.uk/blog/flat-earth-economics-and-the-tesco-tax#.U9tpC2eXY0U

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