Hats off again to the IEA’s Chris Snowdon, for today’s evisceration of two foes: the self-fulfilling health modellers whose findings the government treats as fact; and the press-release journalists who collude in the deception.

On his blog, you can read a comprehensive account of the fallacies behind the coming sugar tax on soft drinks . But – to quote the Sabotage Times – ‘we can’t concentrate, so why should you?’ Here, then, are some highlights from his latest dispatch, for re-deployment at the water-cooler:

‘Regardless of whether obesity rates rise, fall or stay the same, campaigners will produce another model in a few years claiming that the rate of obesity in 2018 was lower than it would have been had there not been a tax…It is impossible to prove that nanny state policies fail. The goal posts are always moved…

‘Since the sugar tax study used figures for 2014 as its baseline, the rate of childhood obesity has already fallen below what it predicted. Do you feel any better for it? Do you think your taxes are now going to be lowered as a result of obesity-related healthcare costs dropping?…


‘There is a narrative in place and mere facts cannot shift it. Unless you dig deep into Excel spreadsheets on government websites, you will not even find out about the most basic facts. If you rely on “public health” campaigners and the media, there is a spiralling epidemic of childhood obesity and a sugar tax is needed to tackle it. It scarcely matters that the first of these claims is based on modelling that turned out to be wrong and the second is based on modelling that will, in all likelihood, also turn out to be wrong.

‘Meanwhile, back in the real world, childhood obesity has dropped by 20 per cent in the last decade in Britain without a sugar tax but has not dropped at all in Mexico where there is a sugar tax.’

A final thought. Although this post has a BBC screen-grab as illustration (with a headline which, for all the quotation marks, is questionable) in fact, Auntie was less craven in her coverage than the Daily Mail. Wake up, Mr Dacre, you’re missing a trick.

by Julia Dixon