Brief Political Comment on the Occasion of a Conservative Majority 1

Generally, I try to avoid politics, preferring to stick to science and recipes. But today I feel the need to say just this:

The purpose of wealth generation for any budget-holding unit of human society, be that family, country or union, is to enable that unit to better meet the needs of its members. It is not to enable some members to have a party at the expense of others. And if certain members do throw a party, it is not acceptable for them to then fail to meet the basic needs of the remaining members while paying off the debt thus incurred as soon as possible, which is a bit like choosing a 10 year term on your mortgage instead of a 30 year term, and meanwhile not properly feeding your children. This is what we in the UK have chosen today. Children who are not fed properly get sick and die, and sadly, this last sentence is not a metaphor.

We are facing an obesity crisis in this country, and obesity is only the visible tip of the iceberg in terms of the general malnutrition of our population. Big Food represents a few fat cats getting fatter at the expense of the poor and most vulnerable, and meanwhile fresh fruit and vegetables, which must constitute the bulk of our diets if we are to remain healthy (and economically productive), remain the most expensive source of calories. We should be really angry about this, but nobody seems to be. Public health departments are woefully underfunded and under-equipped to combat the onslaught of diet and lifestyle-related disease that we are experiencing in this country right now, and hospitals are struggling to provide basic downstream services, with no spare cash to intervene on behalf of those at risk of serious illness in the future. A workforce, like an army, needs fit, healthy people, otherwise it will be defeated in battle. A healthy workforce is therefore the cornerstone of a strong economy. If we invest in the people, the people will return that investment with their energy, enthusiasm and innovation. If we fail to invest, we will be (metaphorically speaking) slaughtered.

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One thought on “Brief Political Comment on the Occasion of a Conservative Majority

  • Sophie

    I agree. Thankfully, though, if big politics is not stirring itself to do anything about Big Food, at least we can make a difference right now, in our kitchens, on our own tables. Children are not born addicted to rubbish food and with the right guidance in the early years can develop a resistance to the Big Food agenda. The food issue contrasts markedly here with the (also terrible) housing situation: while I *can* give my children fruit & veg happy face plate-pictures to eat at breakfast, and they love them, I can’t build affordable housing in my back yard. As you say, my own efforts aren’t going to affect the core issue economics of food pricing, and this does need some hard lobbying, but with lateral thinking and community mindedness we can still all make changes that matter. To the barricades!