Look At It This Way - October 23, 2015

Sugar
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Just a spoonful of sugar won’t help this tax go down. You don’t have to be Mary Poppins to know the Nanny State’s hit a sticky patch.

Pudding-faced chefs are nagging us into paying ‘sugar’ tax for fizzy drinks with up to nine teaspoons of sugar in them – on top of the 5p we now spend to cart them home in a supermarket bag.

If Britain’s on the brink of mass diabetes type two – Blackpool, with its shameful public health record , will be the likely epicentre.

We’re already pretty big on obesity, and we keep getting nosebleeds looking at the stats for social deprivation.

But if the nation’s becoming obese, it’s partly because couch potatoes can’t be bothered to bake let alone peel spuds any more.

Car-supermarket-convenience foods –microwave-slump in front of the Great British Bake Off. The Great British Slob Off.

Not that anyone wants to cook with saccharine or aspartame, surely?

Putting a shoppers’ tax on sugary food is like – to misquote Mandela on bitterness – drinking poison every day and expecting other people to die.

I’d also be fascinated by any research establishing a link between the new 5p shopping bag charge and a rise in shoplifting – “no, I bought the leggings over the road, and put them in my bag for Life”.

We should tax the manufacturers, the food processors who push the sugar.

Not that I’m likely to trade my sugar heavy cola for ‘diet’ or ‘lite’ when it comes to what I add to my evening whisky.

I’d rather risk sugar buzz than the chemical cocktail of saccharine or aspartame.

I haven’t got a sweet tooth – but a serious salt addiction could play havoc with my blood pressure if I indulged it.

I don’t. I check food packs for ingredients and look at those percentages for fat, sugar, salt.

Even honey’s on the hit list – especially if it’s a hotch potch from bees barely on buzzing terms on the same continent, let alone sharing a hive.

I like a touch of tartness, a Granny Smith as opposed to a Golden Delicious. I prefer strawberries with ground black pepper and a dash of lemon.

Years ago, when I was in and out of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, my mum used to give me molasses to toughen me up – and malt extract. At least the latter gave me a taste for real ale.

Does she take sugar? The very phrase has long redefined patronising. We as a nation are sweet enough – tax it at source, not at sales point.

Too many chefs not only spoil the broth, but are spoiling for a food fight over the Christmas book market.

Remember revenge is sweet.

Upset the gravy train. Put some nuts or sweeties on the coffee table instead of yet another celebrity cookbook.

Modern Tory boy... nice but dim sum?

I had a poster of Mao Tse Tung rather than the Dalai Lama when I was a teenager, but soon came to realise I was lucky I lived in a democracy which tolerated dissident students rather than turned guns upon them.

We had a manufacturing industry of sorts back then.

Today, our steel industry is in tatters and the building of a heavily subsidised £24bn atomic generator is being sold down the Yangtze River by George Osborne in Nice But Dim Sum Tory boy mode.

Osborne seems determined to save face – both of them – by brokering the Hinkley Point deal, which will create 25,000 jobs and generate 1,000 apprenticeships.

As with fracking I’ll believe it when I see it – and given the swingeing cuts in subsidies for renewables that seems inevitable. It’s a nice little ‘burner’ for the Chinese too – a guaranteed hourly rate of almost £93 per megawatt hour. Subsidies which cost – the earth?

Forget Tibet, or China’s dismal record for human – and animal – rights, restrictions on reproduction, or Amnesty’s assertion that executions in China outnumber those of the rest of the world put together.

Osborne seems honoured that UK PLC may now come with a sales tag Made in Britain, having hitched his star to a potentially precarious economy and proscriptive state.

I don’t want to make a meal of it – because that’s the trouble with drawing sustenance from the Chinese economy... a few hours later you’ll need another helping.