Is a sensible suggestion nullified when made by Gordon Brown? I refer to the prime minister’s call for Britons to stop wasting four million tonnes of food every year.
This ties in with the publication of a Cabinet Office report report which claims that up to 40% of food harvested in developing countries is lost before it reaches the mouths of over-fed westerners. And of the food that makes it into our heavy-laden supermarket shopping trolleys, £8 worth is thrown away by each household every week.
Reasons for the waste include inappropriate package sizes, bulk discounting and sell-by dates that do not accurately reflect product shelf lives. But there is also a lot of waste in the home, often by people who don’t appreciate the value of food and what goes into producing it. Take for example, the Christmas tradition of buying and boiling to inedible mush huge amounts of Brussel sprouts. This, when virtually everyone detests the little brassicas and leaves them on the plate.
So the prime minister breaks with his usual habit and talks sense. And the reaction from the Great British Public? Going by the BBC’s Have Your Say forum (aka spEak You’re bRanes), it is by and large a single-digit salute to the nanny state. Here we have lumpen “libertarianism” writ large: demands for individual freedom, and to hell with personal responsibility.
The late Sid Vicious, when asked why he didn’t write music for the “man in the street”, replied:
“I’ve met the man in the street, and he’s a cunt.”