Nanny state

The pernicious creep of Big Nanny

Waiting at a coach station recently, in the space of seven minutes I was cautioned three times by the disembodied voice of Big Nanny. No smoking or vaping was allowed. Cycling was prohibited. Pedestrians were directed to use only the designated crossings. I almost wished I’d opted to travel by rail, but then I remembered that Big Nanny rides on trains too. In a quieter era of rail travel the only announcements, apart from service cancellations, used to be the one about refraining from urination when the train was in the station, and advice not to poke your head out of the window of a moving carriage. Which some dimwits

Do we want the nanny state tracking our every step?

The best thing that can be said about the government’s latest anti-obesity scheme is that it’s cheap. For now. The new HeadsUp app, which will track people’s diet and exercise regimes and reward them with cinema tickets, clothes vouchers and the like, has a price tag of £3 million. This is peanuts in public health terms. The NHS burns through £3 million every eight minutes. It amounts to 4p for every man, woman and child in the UK. The bad news is that it is only a pilot scheme. If bribing people with their own money is seen to ‘improve rates of physical activity and inspire healthier eating’, as the Office