Friday, March 28, 2008

Yet more Government interference masquerading as a charity

Via the Cynical Libertarian we learn about another bunch of interfering busybodies purporting to be a charity, but really paid for you and I, using this cover to call for yet more state control of our everyday lives:

Schools and councils are being urged to make it harder for children to swap their school meal for a takeaway.

Rising levels of obesity are being fuelled by the ready availability of junk food, said the School Food Trust.

It wants schools to close their gates at lunchtime and councils to stop new fast food outlets opening nearby.


The trust has issued a "league table" of the local education authority areas with the most takeaway and sweet shops per secondary school.

Topping the list is Brighton and Hove, with 46 per school, closely followed by Blackpool and Hull.

This is a statistics free report from the beeb, no surprises there, so I will also make a statistics free observation before getting in to more detail about these control freaks. As it happened I was driving through Marlow yesterday afternoon and whilst I saw loads of school kids I wasn't aware of any of them being overweight, let alone an epidemic.

So lets have a look at this organisation who want to not only control school kids but tell the rest of us how we can trade. As you would expect they have a flashy web site:

The School Food Trust was established by the Department for Education and Skills
in September 2005. Its remit is to transform school food and food skills, promote the education and health of children and young people and improve the quality of food in schools.
So how did they come to this high number of wicked capitalists doing the devils work of tempting our kids to eat themselves to death. I would have expected this to have been burger joints (helpfully the beeb gives us the ubiquitous picture of a burger) and fish and chip shops within, say, 500m of the school:

Local authorities have been ranked by the number of junk food outlets
in their area, divided by the number of secondary schools in that areae.g.
Brighton and Hove:415 junk food outlets divided by 9 secondary schools =

That will be every shop in a town that sells crisps, chocolate of beefburgers. That will include all supermarkets, newsagents and garage, no matter how far it is from the school that these bastards want to control. Where I went to school one of the fish and chips shops that will be included in this study is over 2 miles from the school, I can't think of any schoolkids that would be willing to walk that far for their junk food fix.

So in one fell swoop we have a bunch of interfering busybodies :
  • Telling 18 year-olds what they can and can't eat
  • Jailing 18 year-olds behind school gates against their will and for committing no crime other than offending the Government
  • Licensing every shop or food outlet in the country to ensure that they only sell what is approved of by them

And all this using our money:

The School Food Trust was set up in 2005 with £15 million of funding from
the Department for Education and Skills to promote the education and health of
children and young people by improving the quality of food supplied and consumed
in schools.

Despite having a good look round I haven't been able to find one statistic that tells me how many of our children are obese to justify this money and interference. If it really was that bad I would have expected them to be screaming the figures of every page of their web site.

All that money and we have the sloppiest of reports that wouldn't acceptable as an 11 year-olds science report.

I'll leave the Cynical Libertarian to sum up:

I'll finish with this thought: the School Food Trust has compiled a 'league table' of those areas with the most fast-food outlets and 'sweet shops' per school. It could, presumably, have compiled a 'league table' of areas with the highest rates of child obesity and compared the two. If they're right, there should be a strong positive correlation. Why leave out such a damning piece of proof if you're right?

No comments: