A "me" as well as a "we" in politics, Dave
Well, it's finally happened. This is a rant about David Cameron.....
"Irresponsible" marketing techniques are being used to sell chocolate and fuel Britain's obesity problem, Tory leader David Cameron has said. This was in his speech about healthcare yesterday when he came out with such sterling rhetoric as "Try and buy a newspaper at the train station and, as you queue to pay, you're surrounded, you're inundated by cut price offers for giant chocolate bars."
Now, aside from the assertion that all obese people are obese solely because they are gluttons who will use any opportunity to gorge their faces - although this is undoubtedly true for some if not many - the principle which underpins this assertion has dangerous ramifications if misused and, in my view, really does place Mr Cameron on a disappointingly patrician wing of the party.
For example, wouldn't it be prudent to at least raise an eyebrow over such responsible corporate action as this....and then to ask whether one shouldn't practice what one preaches. Let's take just one company.
Typical promotions at the Urbium chain (subject of a recent takeover) of vertical drinking establishments include Happy House (5-7pm) cocktails for £2.85, champagne cocktails for £3.25 and spirits for £1.75.
A vital part of the Urbium stable was the notorious Tiger Tiger chain. They've been keeping the cash rolling in by paying incentives to their bar staff who meet sales targets. 50% on top of your regular salary seems a pretty good way of getting booze thrust upon bingeing drinkers.Even now, London Tiger Tiger has a two hour Happy Hour flogging cocktails for £3.10 , jugs for just £8.50 and £2 off doubles of spirits.
Then chairman John Conlan called Urbium "a highly reliable and substantial cash-generating machine".
One Urbium bar is Sugar Reef. Yes, that's it, the one drunken West Ham players were chucked out of after one urinated on a bar top and another was sick.
Urbium, even in its new incarnation, has what it almost endearingly terms "supremacy" of that most reputable area of drinking without violence....Soho.
Oh yes, and before I forget it was David Cameron was until recently receiving nearly £28,000 per year from Urbium as a director.
As the man himself said "Modern marketing techniques can be used to great effect to tackle the root causes of preventable ill-health... just as irresponsible marketing techniques can have the opposite effect." Of course, business has a shared responsibility to help improve public health - that shared responsibility is just not shared when it suits us. Perhaps there is a "me" as well as a "we" in politics.