Alex Massie

Foraging the answer for fat folk

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The always estimable Kerry Howley draws attention to another lovely House of Lords moment:

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, I speak as a member of the All-Party Group on Obesity. Why is it that in central London you can hardly find a thinly-sliced or medium-sliced loaf of bread to buy, and any sandwich you buy in any supermarket is now made with thick bread? While the House of Lords continues to use medium-sliced—and very nice—bread in its sandwiches, even the House of Commons has moved to thick bread. Surely at a time when we want to reduce people's consumption, there should be more pressure from the Food Standards Agency, or one of the many departments the Minister speaks about, to take us back to normal-sized bread instead of these super-sized sandwiches.

Amazingly the government disagreed with the suggestion that it needed to regulate sandwiches:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, that is an interesting and important point, but it is not really a matter for the Government. We would be accused of being a nanny state if the Government started to pronounce on these issues.

Later:

Baroness Tonge: My Lords, does the Minister agree that people have always loved to eat junk food, whether it was bread and dripping and iced buns in my day or, nowadays, the dreaded burger? Does she also agree that people who are overweight and heavy but very fit are not necessarily obese?

Noble Lords: Oh!

Baroness Tonge: My Lords, I thought that would please your Lordships. To go back to my noble friend's original point, it is terribly important that the Government encourage exercise in all forms.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Yes, my Lords. One of the problems is that we are no longer hunter-gatherers. Our lifestyle has changed; the society in which we live has changed; we must change our culture. That must mean more sport, more exercise and looking at our built environment.

No word as to whether the Baroness Royall would like to see a return to hunter-gatherer days. Then again, if the House of Lords can't be nostalgic who can?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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