The reliably arrogant British Medical Association is now suggesting that a ‘fat tax’ be levied on fine foods such as “sausages, pies and pastries”. As usual in such cases, this piece of presumption is justified on the grounds that it will save the taxpayer-funded National Health Service money and as usual in such cases it appears to take no account of the fact that, in dying prematurely, the obese are rather generously saving the state the expense of paying years of retirement benefit. For those, such as the busybodies at the BMA, who choose to stress the economic argument, the model citizen ought surely to be someone who works, pays taxes and then drops dead on his or her retirement day. An overweight individual is more likely to manage this splendidly patriotic feat than some lunatic in running shoes.
More than that, however, this piece of bossiness is a reminder that, when it comes to the doctor-patient relationship, the BMA (like the equally repellent AMA) has lost its way. Hippocrates had nothing to say about the imposition of penal taxation on his patients’ mealtime choices, and nor should his 21st Century successors. The role of a doctor is to give advice, not orders. The BMA should just go and take a hike.
Or better still relax on the sofa in front of the telly with a nice pork pie and some chicken-flavored crisps.