School Meals in the holidays: The Big Fat Lie.

I wrote an article in Conservative Woman suggesting that Britain is awash with food that has never been cheaper and yet we have a food crisis. I immediately received hate mail saying that I was a hard-hearted bitch and had no idea what it was like to be poor. The local rag ran a derogatory article headlined ‘Let them eat spuds!’ Ex-UKIP candidate says food banks are fuelling the obesity crisis.’

I was made fun of by the local radio station and received messages saying I should die or be raped for writing that people should learn to cook basic, inexpensive, simple food. Yet a food writer called Jack Monroe who is a darling of the left, has a website called ‘Cooking on a bootstrap’. She shows people how to cook simple, nutritious and cheap food. If you are from the left, it is good to suggest people learn to cook.

If you are from the right and suggest the same thing, you must eat your words and apologise as Lady Jenkins, a Tory peer found to her cost after claiming that poor people can’t cook. So where does this myth of Britain being in the middle of a new Ethiopian famine come from? The Guardian alleges that 700,000 children go to school hungry and that more than eight million people in Britain have difficulty putting food on the table. While fat has long been a class issue it is now a racial issue because of Covid.

According to GOV UK, ‘Black adults are the most likely out of all ethnic groups to be overweight or obese.’ Yet, according to The Health Survey 2017. 28.7 per cent of adults in England are obese and a further 35.6 per cent are overweight. Nearly 65 per cent of the population has too much blubber, at least in part from having too much food.

Nevertheless, Tesco, anxious for political karma points, now invests in advertising virtue rather than food. The company has, it tells us, donated millions of tonnes of food to ‘serve the community.’ We are treated to pictures on TV of warehouses with forklift trucks scurrying around pushing crates of tinned pineapple with added sugar to provide more calories for the millions in Britain who go to bed racked with the pains of starvation.

Such adverts could be scenes from a Stalin advert for collective farming: smiling, plump, big breasted peasants, bathed in sunshine, swing their scythes to bring an abundant harvest for the glorious socialist revolution. Meanwhile around the corner, Ukrainians were dying in their millions in the Holodomor.

At the same time, on the other side of London, civil servants are working out how to kibosh remaining independent pubs and small restaurants by forcing them, under threat of enormous fines, to display the calorie count of everything they sell. The equipment for this vain glorious exercise costs £30,000 to £50,000 and that is without the staff required to calculate how many calories would be added if obese kids were given ten chicken nuggets instead of nine.

Such calorie counting is a vital plank in Boris ‘war’ on obesity: ‘Buy one, get one free’ to be banned, sausage sizes to be regulated and it will be illegal to serve more than one fried egg for breakfast. Chocolate biscuit smuggling gangs are gearing up. The truth is that while everyone over the last thirty years has got a bit fatter, some people have got a lot fatter, especially the poor. Decaying Great Yarmouth, where you can buy a 30-room hotel for £250,000, is full of very fat people. Just up the coast middle-class Burnham Market, where a two-bedroom cottage costs £500,000, is full of elegant, slim people.

In the Conservative Woman’s article, I showed that British food is not only relatively cheaper but cheaper than in most poor countries in the world. I used the example of Nepal where I lived for many years. The average income in the UK, where a chicken costs £2 and an egg 10p, is £2,200 a month. Contrast this to Nepal where the average income is £70 a month and a chicken costs £5 and an egg 20p.

Yet food banks do not exist in Nepal. A glance at a comparison site shows you can buy a kilo of ‘value’ or ‘basics’ rice for about 45p at any supermarket in the Britain. That equates to 4,000 calories for 45p. It costs the same, around 45p a kilo, in the markets of Kathmandu or the aisles of Tesco.

Giving people toffee crisps, tinned pineapple and cheap pasta from food banks will not solve anything – neither will putting calorie counts on restaurant menus. Diabetes will still climb ever upwards, and our Covid wards will still be filled with fat hypertensives,something no-one dare mention for fear they lose their job. The Fat Lie, that the British poor are starving in the midst of plenty, is an imaginary stick with which the left likes to beat the right.

The price of this lie is a generation of children heading toward the lethal consequences of type 2 diabetes: blindness, hypertension, stroke, amputations and early death which doctors are already seeing on hospital wards. The British working-class diet has changed from nutritious meat and two veg to highly processed cheap convenience food of low nutritional value.

A great swathe of the population has become accustomed from childhood to eating sweetened cereal, pizza, chips and ketchup all washed down with sugary fizzy drinks.You will not change the habits of half a century by putting the number of calories on a Big Mac.

This article was first published in the Autumn edition of the Salisbury Review Magazine September 1st 2020. (always ahead of the game)

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11 Comments on School Meals in the holidays: The Big Fat Lie.

  1. Bad alright.

    But seems to me that the enfatment of the poor is not the greatest threat, nor the most prominent symptom of the collapse of Western Civ.

  2. “We breed ’em, you feed ’em” – a national as well as international watchword.

    “From each according to their disability, to each according to their greed.”

  3. I thought some supermarkets actually put out food “beyond shelf life” that could be taken away free – since shelf life” does not mean inedible. Charity box box food is usually tinned and unhealthy. And as for “let them eat potatoes” , that is the one vegetable with a hundred ways of cooking it.-

  4. Catherine, you picked a country in the far east that suffers from communism (or did until recently), so no wonder food prices are high.

    I realise that you have experience of Nepal, but perhaps a more conservative country like Singapore, where few people even have kitchens… and everyone eats fast food. The difference being that their fast food is highly nutricious and balanced and cooked in front of your eyes.

    They also have some of the highest standards of living on the planet.

    Where you score is when you point the finger at leftists, who imagine that everyone that isn’t them are thick and stupid, and victims of the right.

    The left tell lies, whether they are guerillas or whether they are the government.

    In a country like Singapore, the only food vouchers are the local currency notes, and there is no rationing of those. The better or more that you work, the more vouchers you collect. Of course simultaneously, you begin to realise that you can do much better than what you could have by depending on socialists waving “free” food vouchers… the kind that resign people to ignorance and obesity, since they are rationed.

    The proof of that is well known, Singapore went from being a destitute war torn place to one of the richest, and not a lefty in sight.

    Nepal has spiralled from poverty to extreme poverty through the good offices of a corrupt absolutist king followed immediately by a politburo doing what is best (for the politburo).

    The only way that socialism could ever have a positive impact on the poor is where a wealthy individual with socialist tendencies gives his own wealth away voluntarily, or makes a philanthropic gesture. The effect however is temporary.

    Every single stick, of whatever variety, that the left sharpen quietly before they attack more honest folk, has only one purpose, and that is definitely not to feed the poor, or see that racial tension is eased, or that women are not treated so beastfully by men, or that children are not deprived of twenty years of lefty preaching (what lefties mistake for education)…

    It is to gain and exercise power over the non compliant.

    Sir Roger Scruton for the fourth plinth!

  5. Catherine B:

    I can’t possibly comment on whether you’re “hard-hearted”; but unlike you (?) I was poor once and may be so once again. Who can say what tomorrow may bring? Que sera.

    Being poor, and illegitimate to boot, never stopped my mother, also a bastard (raised in an orphanage) from feeding, clothing and loving me. Her mother (ibid) I don’t know much about, aside from one old sepia photo, if it even is her.

    My mother shouldered her burden. Her mother did not. Some people do what is right. Others do not.

    I think a lot of poor people (not all) have been fooled, thinking there is nothing they can do to escape, but rely on the State.

  6. Yes, the poor will always be with us.

    And more of the poor will be more obese.

    Of course, as in ages past, there will ever be small numbers of the poor who break out of the mire by way of focused hard work and application of their apparently randomly-occurring talents/capabilities.

    This, despite the efforts of marxist-inspired politicians, educators and other civil servants to turn poor kids, all kids, into clients and creatures of the Big State.

  7. Catherine – I read the Conservative Woman and read the article you mention. There were no hateful comments. It was a sensible article and everybody agreed (I have a few contrarians blocked). I can well believe that you received hateful responses, but surely it wasn’t from TCW readers?

    • The hateful comments generally do not come on the Conservative women website – and like the editor here , the editor removes them. Many comments about many authors have been removed here and that is why you do not see them. Anything with threats or four letter words is automatically deleted.

      Twitter, direct emails, phone calls, even mail in the post – plenty of ways to abuse

      The local food bank waded in as well .

      But go to twitter and you will see the hounding that goes on. Nigel Farage has it so badly that he had security most of them time .

      Until you have suffered it , it is hard to imagine not only the lengths that people go but the nastiness and volume of it .

      Open your email and having to delete the hate even without reading is unpleasant .

      With the Brexit Party we had to remove something in the region of 30,000 pieces of abuse at the beginning .

      • The hard left is a walking dictionary of hate crime -abuse, foul language, threats, door-stepping, haranguing, physical attack – you name it. Well, I will – Antifa, BLM, Momentum, ER and al the rest of the trolls.