Cast your mind back to feverish June, when for a few days it seemed possible our next Prime Minister might be that bounder Boris. For all his brio, it wasn’t exactly a comforting prospect. But while storm clouds gathered, there was a silver lining: Jamie Oliver said that if a Johnson premiership came to pass, he would leave the country.

If only. After years of watching matey get rich through his bish-bosh-buy-my-lifestyle schtick – all the time gleaning public support for his brand by delivering ‘healthy eating’ messages – had this inferior restaurant-franchiser banished himself from the British consciousness, it would have been a great prize.

But reason prevailed, May won through – and Oliver remains to make a fool of himself by advocating school dinners that the children won’t eat, while their parents pass chips through the railings.

Still, we take comfort where we can – and the news that the naked narcissist is currently in Australia, browbeating foreigners about their diet comes as a respite. Oliver has been down under to re-launch his chain of his disastrously managed ‘Italian’ eateries. But never shy of imposing his views, he has been haranguing reporters about the need for a ‘sugar tax’ similar to Britain’s (which comes into effect next year).

Take today’s article in Australia’s Good Food magazine. Plough through all the PR guff and we come to statements like this: ‘I donated 18 months to telling the sugar tax story in the UK, but it’s all based on science and fact and the same science and fact applies to Australia….A modern day prime minister has to act on the data if the story is told correctly. In Australia, not one major party is even debating or sniffing about it. But France, Portugal, Hungary, Ireland and the UK are all in. Australia will fall in line, too.’

Note those words: science, fact, fall in line. But let him continue: ‘The nanny state argument from knobheads is bollocks. This is fucking common sense….The only way you’re going to get a drop-off of anything bad is if it’s an environmental change. So that’s labelling, that’s advertising, that’s education, that’s sugary drinks taxes. That’s making good shit cheaper and horrible shit more expensive or harder to get.’

Articulate, isn’t he? And actually, plain wrong. In the West, childhood obesity has been going down for several years without a reduction of sugar in processed goods. And the rise in sugar – that is, corn syrup sugar, which is now being phased out – in such foods was as a direct result of bad science, which falsely blamed saturated animal fats for a rise in coronary problems. (It’s a fallacy that still persists in Oliver’s beloved NHS, whose propaganda arm is still advising people to drink fat-free milk!)

As for labelling and advertising, you can look elsewhere on Popla for all the arguments against. Tobacco regulation has been used as the template for all nanny-state intrusions, and what has it led to? Restrictions on choice and intellectual copyright, smuggling and poisonous counterfeiting. Australia is already living with the unforeseen consequences of its own cigarette plain-packaging – which may be why none of their politicians is interested in ‘falling in line’ with Jamie on groceries. In fact, they probably wish he’d sod off as much as we do.


by Julia Dixon