Save our bacon!

By Oliver Pike, Volunteer

Bacon is the king of breakfast foods and as such is honoured with International Bacon Day once a year. That’s today by the way!

And although bacon is near universally popular (it has been often dubbed a ‘gateway meat’ by vegetarians) the public health lobby is intent on cracking down on it. It was proposed last year that meat be taxed by as much as 80 per cent. The TaxPayers’ Alliance immediately rallied against this proposed tax: bringing together members of parliament for a fry-up in The Big Meat Up to protest.

Since then, nanny state zealots have been unrelenting in their assault on the Great British diet, making all sorts of outlandish claims. Eat less meat and you can live longer, save the planet, even last longer in the bedroom!

But will increasing the price of meat lead to people changing their diets? The sugar tax for example has had only a ‘minimal impact’ on dietary habits, instead resulting in manufacturers changing their recipes. But unlike a constituted drink, you can’t simply change the recipe for bacon. All a tax would do is increase the cost of living for working families or price them out of eating meat altogether. Indeed, once you scratch the surface, this is usually exactly what nanny statists actually intend. But of course, for well-paid public health zealots in their ivory towers, the extra expense would be no problem for them personally.

Meat tax proposals are particularly grating as meat is not only an important part of people’s diets, but a cornerstone of British life. From a fried breakfast to a Sunday roast, eating meat is as British as cricket and yet the war on obesity is targeted directly at the heart of British cuisine. In the crusade to force ‘unhealthy living’ out of society, no stone can be left unturned.

Things are even worse in my home of Scotland. The home of the deep-fried mars bar, the munchie box and the chicken tikka masala is now the home of the nanny state. Like the rest of the UK, Scotland has adopted the sugar tax. But unlike the rest of the UK, Scotland has gone even further by introducing minimum alcohol pricing, which has been utterly ineffective. Instead of discouraging drinking, consumers now choose cheaper drinks in cheaper venues, usually their own home. Consumption meanwhile has increased by 1.8 million litres.

Going further still, the Scottish government has proposed even more ways to control the diets of its people with an obesity action plan. Proposals have included a calorie tax, banning free condiments at takeaways, outlawing meal deals, and even taxpayer funded propaganda vans to teach people about healthy eating. To top it all off, they have even introduced a ‘national chef’.

Of course these proposals are rarely evidence-based and are unlikely to have any great effect on waste-lines. They do however represent a massive overextension by government and a great victory for the nanny state.

By ever extending the grip of the state, Scotland is demonstrating that taxes are never enough and new forms of obsessive dietary control will soon follow. And it is clear they intend to make meat their next target.

So today, on International Bacon Day, let’s all have a bacon butty and say no to nanny state meat taxes.