No stuffing your face with a big Mac on the 8.15 to Waterloo

Dame Sally Davies, the government’s chief medical officer (or chief inspector of the Nanny State), is going out with a bang. Obesity, a crisis as deadly as climate change and Brexit, must be tackled by a tightening ratchet of controls on what, where and when we can eat. Among other interventions, blokes will be banned from scoffing a half-time pie at football grounds, and buses will be no-go areas for the hungry.

Last week I arrived at Morden underground station to a fug of marijuana. This modern equivalent of the pea-souper pervaded the ticket hall, but the ticket-barrier staff did not seem bothered. The source was not hard to find. At the main entrance, yards from the barriers, a young man with dreadlocks in multi-layered garb stood nonchalantly smoking a fortified roll-up. I went back to the man at the gates to ask why this was being allowed. ‘Because I don’t want to get stabbed’.

I wonder whether Dame Sally has thought through the policing of her ban. Who will be given the perilous task of confiscating burgers and Monster energy drinks on the 94 bus?  

Assuming that most law-abiding people don’t want to get into trouble on their way from A to B, let’s consider how Dame Sally’s law will work in practice. Bossyboots argues that surely commuters can go without eating for a short journey. Only water will be permitted (although inevitably water flasks will be sneakily filled with illicit substances such as orange juice). Under the virtuous stewardship of Sadiq Khan, London will be celebrated as the healthiest travel network in the world: fasting, if not very fast. 

But a ban isn’t straightforward. Long-distance coach travellers will still be allowed to partake of their Tupperware-packed cheese-and-ham sandwiches, and passengers on inter-city trains will continue to break the journey with a visit to the buffet car, with its ‘selection of hot and cold drinks and tasty snacks’ (whisper it, maybe a glass of wine). Unless train guards are expected to stop all this revelry as soon as the express engine enters Zone 6 (the outer limits of London), passengers will be exempt from Dame Sally’s puritan regime. However, on hurtling through suburban stations, they will see platforms strewn with hastily discarded coffee containers, where the prohibition has brought new meaning to ‘expresso’.

Let’s take a near-future look at Clapham Junction, famed as Britain’s busiest railway station, and a thoroughfare for South West Trains. Signs everywhere remind us not to take food and drink on the trains, unless packed out of sight. So you’d better gulp down your Caffe Nero macchiato. But the rule only applies to suburban lines. If you’d like to hold on that £2.95 beverage, simply take one of the trains coming up from Hampshire or further afield. 

Hear the message on the tannoy: –

‘The train arriving at Platform Nine is the O-eight hundred hours service from Alton, terminating at London Waterloo. Would passengers please note that is an eating and drinking route.  If you do not wish to share your journey with passengers who are eating and drinking, please board the fasting carriage, coach C.’  

And just to prove that Dame Sally has it in for the lower orders of society, you will find no restriction in any first class compartment. It’s one rule for us, and another for the metropolitan elite returning from their Dorset bolt-holes. 

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6 Comments on No stuffing your face with a big Mac on the 8.15 to Waterloo

  1. You could of course have reported the smoker yourself. If they weren’t actually inside the station it wouldn’t be the responsibility of the staff.

    Why didn’t you?

    • I asked a further question, given that the barrier guard thought that the miscreant had a knife as well as polluting the concourse with potent cannabis fume. ‘Why not get the police then?’
      His answer: ‘Because they won’t do anything’.
      A good illustration, I think, of mindless Nanny State bans with no thought of implementation.

  2. Psse The Buck

    Your pithy comment fails to suggest who she should report it to?

    The reply Mr. McRae was “I don’t want to get stabbed” as opposed to “It is not my responsiblity”.

  3. Mr McRae clearly has both right and logic on his side in this farcical debate about the joint smoker. The police would doubtless turn up to arrest and support the the prosecution of any burger smuggler whilst, if they bothered to turn up at all, at best offer ‘words of advice’ to the spliffer.
    And that surely, is the underlying point of his article. We now have a state which will, at the behest of unelected nannies, pass laws criminalising normal behaviour, whilst condoning and ignoring anti-social behaviour for the real fear of violence that may result from doing so.

  4. An interesting article Mr McCrae, thank you.

    One aspect to the obesity problem among young children that seems lost on the left-wing press generally is the strange correlation between so-called “poverty” and obesity. It must be the first time in human history that the “poorest” are the fattest.

    I would suggest that the “poverty” alluded to is a spiritual and moral poverty and less of an economic one, since any person able to afford takeaways every day can afford to cook healthy and nutritious meals for a family and still have change left over.

    I would agree that England is a place notoriously difficult in which to find a healthy snack, but as always the nanny state looks at every possible ludicrous idea for a solution instead of the one thing that actually works – i.e. solid, stable families where cooking and self-sufficiency is encouraged.

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