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Here comes the Food Commissar...

One of my favourite parallels for state provision of sundry services and the like comes from Professor Anthony Flew, who somewhere or other theorised on a National Messing Service to feed us all. It does not take much imagination to see what that would be like.

Anyway, it isn't far off, as Caroline Flint (she who got the idea of smoking as a way of reducing birth weight into the heads of even the dimmest teenage girls) has come up with this, care of The Evening Standard:

"Overweight people should be given lessons in how to eat fruit and vegetables, a health minister said today. Caroline Flint said too many Britons see fresh produce as "scary food". She wants supermarkets to provide in-store demonstrations on how healthier food - even apples and bananas - should be prepared".

It turns out that La Flint is a big fan of cooking up policy initiatives based on anecdotal 'evidence' and chance remarks, as the Food Commissars might get their big break because of this: "Admitting that the Government faces an uphill challenge, she cited a parent at a recent health department seminar who said she was intimidated by "scarier foods". The minister added: "What she was talking about was vegetables she had never seen before. "Here's a fruit you have never seen before. What do you do with it? Do you peel it? Do you boil it? Do you chop it?"

I will grant Louis Brandeis the coup de grace: "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
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Blogger The Hitch said... 12:14 pm

- even apples and bananas - should be prepared".
Does that mean we have to give them fair warning before eating them?  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 1:16 pm

If Labour believe the public need to be educated in the preparation of bananas then they may as well take away our votes and give them to monkeys at the zoo instead.  

Blogger Rigger Mortice said... 2:09 pm

I think this is a cue for us to share out Caroline flint stories.anyone any good ones?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:12 pm

I'm all ears.... But I'll go dig meself.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:26 pm

Not a lot I've dug up. She might well have crossed swords with the Dalemeister, as they were contemporaries at UEA.

Couple of posts at Guido's, with amusing (if essentially) merely lecherous comments:

Flint 1

Flint 2

And there's this photo where she appears to have sprouted a rather natty Eroll Flynn 'tache.  

Blogger Rigger Mortice said... 2:50 pm

I believe one of the readership may have had a nibble C,that's all.what a thought!  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 3:55 pm

peter hitchens - I genuinely laughed out loud.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 4:13 pm

I had a papaya y'day for the lst time ever. I'm still traumatised.

Actually I wdn't mind Carrie Flint coming roun to chez moi to peel some spuds togevva.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 4:37 pm

S - I'm sure you could counselling if you ask often enough.

Ms Flint is indeed easy on the eye, and very well preserved for her age - 45. However, she seems to be accounted for.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 4:56 pm

I have a banana tree in my patio. Does anyone know if those big bunches of yellow things is fruit and is it safe to eat? Would I peel the bananas first, or are you supposed to eat them with the skin on? Are you supposed to cook them before eating? I tried to test them on my cats but they hissed and ran away.  

Blogger Bel said... 5:26 pm

verity, you need to write in for more information. Call the ministry and request an information pack, complete with 40 page guidance notes.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:27 pm

V - I fear the government is letting us down. If it really cared, there would be a 24 hour phone line for you to ring with all your 'can I eat this' questions.

Mind you, the thing to do, in France at least, if you find a mushroom you are uncertain of is to ask at the pharmacy, and they'll tell you whether it is one for the pot or not.

Back to bananas, I offer up this tale from the late Bron Waugh:

"A wife first, a dairymaid second, and a mother last, she played the complaisant zombie to her husband's unspeakable selfishness in the matter of the bananas. Just after the war, the government tried to alleviate five years of harsh food rationing by decreeing that every child in England should be allowed one banana. At this time there were three little Waughs, none of whom had ever tasted a banana. My mother came home with three bananas. All three were put on my father's plate, and before the anguished eyes of his children, he poured on cream, which was almost unprocurable, and sugar, which was heavily rationed, and ate all three. . . . From that moment, I never treated anything he had to say on faith or morals very seriously". source  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 5:55 pm

Gosh, what a horrible story!

Bel, what a good idea, and thank you. Yes, I will write in for their banana pamphlet and any additional written information on eating bananas. I will also check their website, where there may be several pages of expert advice devoted to bananas. This will help me out of my dilemma as I have a bunch of 60 of them out back and it is quite daunting.  

Blogger The Hitch said... 10:57 pm

The one thing this country is crying out for is a fruit Tsar.
Imagine all those embarrassing situations that could be avoided in the local A&E dept if only bananas came with a "do not accidentally sit on whilst wearing a dressing gown" sticker.  

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