(Wait, two reviews in one day? What am I, drunk?)
I don’t like George Osborne.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone with ears, or eyes, or a brain. In fact, his smug little face makes him one of the least likeable people this side of Jeremy Hunt.
Seriously, look at that face. Ugh.
But credit where credit is due, the sugar levy is very much A Good Thing.
I’m a huge advocate for the taxation of unhealthy foods and drink. My commute to work takes me past two separate McDonald’s, and there is a colossal queue every. single. morning. There’s rarely a spare seat at Waterloo. Outside the Liverpool Street branch, it’s not rare to see people stood outside with a bag of Maccy D’s in one hand, can of Red Bull in the other, and cigarette hanging form their mouth. At eight thirty in the morning.
On my way past the Waterloo branch this morning, I poked my head in to see how much their breakfast actually costs. £2.99 for a McMuffin meal. Even I have to admit that is a pretty fantastic value for money. To get a hot breakfast and sugary drink would almost cost more than that to make yourself.
It’s the Primark business strategy – If you can’t tempt them with quality, tempt them with affordability.
The problem is, obesity is a real problem. We owe it to generations to come to get a grip on what is an increasingly dangerous situation.
I’m about as wishy-washy a libertarian as you can get, but this goes beyond the personal health of the individuals. If it were a case of one person choosing to eat badly then, fine, that’s up to them. The problem comes with the knock on effect this kind of diet has on the rest of society, both in terms of the strain on the health system, and the totally avoidable impact it has on someone being able to contribute to society.
Because lets face it, there are some members of society who are physically unable to contribute to society in the same way others are, and they have been well and truly stuffed in this budget.
Lynton Crosby and Boris Johnson have both talked in the last couple of years about the “dead cat” strategy in politics. This is where you know you are losing an argument, so you throw a dead cat on the table. Suddenly, conversation will turn to the cat, and away from the thing you don’t want to be talking about.
The Conservative approach to cutting benefits for those most in need is nothing short of shameful. As a party, they have been routinely and fairly pulled apart in opinion pieces and television shows for this blatant disregard of those who need support the most.
However, Osborne made the arbitrary decision to guarantee surplus by 2020, and seeing as he has already gone back on two of his three economic pledges, he can’t afford to lose this one as well if he has any hopes of becoming Prime Minist-hahahaha I can’t even finish that sentence.
Unfortunately, he knows he can target benefits of those with disabilities as he knows the anger will subside. It’s indescribably sh*tty, but the truth is if a person is not directly impacted by the issue they will eventually move on. And given most people are not disabled, people will sadly forget about this awful, awful decision and move on with their lives.
Still, the negative publicity will be damaging, if brief. So what do you do if you’re George Osborn?
Smile smugly and hold a briefcase in front of you like a moron, probably.
But also, you change the conversation. What you are proposing is so disgusting that even a dead cat isn’t going to distract people, because you can little cope with the barrage of abuse a dead animal will bring. You have to try something else.
You throw a live, fluffy cat on to the table.
People will be so excited to see such a cute little creature, they’ll forget that you just unzipped your trousers and flopped your d*ck on the table.
That’s what we have here. By doing something so unexpected and yet so important, the poor treatment of those with disabilities can be swept under the rug. It’s no longer the biggest story of this budget. The sugar levy is.
While we absolutely should celebrate the fantastic news about the taxation of sugary drinks, lets call it for what it is. A necessary, but desperate move of someone who knows he’s doing a shitty thing, and is trying to cover it up by doing something good. It’s bringing out a cat for people to play with while your trousers drop to your ankles.
The Budget 2016 Rating: Boris Johnson literally throwing a dead cat on a table.
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