Sunday, 23 May 2010

Offshore sauce with that?

There’s a piece on Spiked by Rob Lyons about what you might call the reblanding of tomato ketchup that, in turn, led me to an interesting idea.
Lyons (see ) notes how governmental pressure has led Heinz to ‘voluntarily’ reduce the salt content in all versions of the famous sauce, rather than just offer a reduced salt/sugar alternative. It’s only the latest ‘voluntary’ move by the retail industry, and as Lyons sums up nicely:
“Still, there’s something entirely appropriate about the way that our political leaders are trying to save us from ourselves. Because the food we’re being forced to eat is, like them, increasingly bland.”
Tucked away in the piece is a hilarious quote from another Spiked piece, where Mark Sparrow says:
“What was once the nation’s favourite biscuit has morphed into a rather pathetic, pale imitation of itself. The Digestive that sustained, nourished and comforted a generation through two world wars and played its part in keeping the home fires burning is no more. The callous tick of a ballpoint pen of some joyless Whitehall functionary has managed to finish off the biscuit that even Hitler failed to crush.”
Sparrow was fulminating furiously on the wrecking of another comfort food staple by the health and safety Gestapo, and you can read the original at .
The bit that really struck home for me was where Sparrow says:
"Actually, the truth is that these voluntary guidelines are anything but voluntary. The government’s standard practice in these situations is to introduce guidelines and then back it up with an ugly threat of legislation if the food/tobacco/alcohol (delete as appropriate) industry does not kowtow. It’s government by stealth, intimidation, coercion and bullying and does away with the need for all that tedious legislation and accountability."
Now, where have we seen that recently over here. Well at for a start.
By the way, an interesting joke here. A couple of years ago the key participants in this also organised a Fair Trade wine testing to which some of the island’s senior clergy and government ministers were invited, and which is rumoured to have ended with the police van giving night cover for the south of the island being commandeered to take guests home.
But what really got my attention was Sparrow’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion that:
"Perhaps the answer to all this nonsense is to take the production of all tasty and traditional foodstuffs that may offend the tofu brigade to an offshore location."
Because funnily enough, Mick Jagger has fired up a Manx debate with something on the same lines this week. See for an example, and for a local reaction which contradicts attempts by our drug and alcohol ‘therapy’ racketeers to give ‘Manx opinion’ in right wing rags (numerous attempts, for example, by someone who forgot to say she’s the Manx employee of a notorious pro-life cult – how sad, how pointless, try getting a job).
Maybe there’s something in this offshore comfort food lark. Centuries back we had ‘the running trade’ (smuggling), because UK drinkers didn’t want to pay outrageous taxes on European spirits, then the TT developed because the UK wouldn’t allow racing on public roads, as they had in Europe. Then we had offshore finance because, let’s face it, nobody likes paying more tax than they really have to.
All are, to fundamentalist morality, ‘bad things’, and to the rest of us just getting on and making the most of it without puritanical prats interfering.
Or think of it in business terms. There’s a recession, and in recessions people turn to things that remind them of childhood. Now, comfort foods are at one end of the scale, while at the other is religious fundamentalism, abandoning public services in favour of charities run by joyless preachers, and other stuff too horrible to think about.
Maybe a few Manx factories making and exporting ‘proper’ biscuits, cakes, full strength baked beans and other pleasures to the world (in response to miserable legislators in other countries who’ve, effectively, banned them) would be a steady earner. If nothing else, it couldn’t get Obama and other hypocrites on our back the way they are over ‘offshore finance’.
Which, of course, the politicians who criticise us loudest never, ever use to discreetly fund their expensive election campaigns or the ‘educational trusts’ which fund their retirement.

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