Although politicians and civil servants might want to give us advice about what foods we should eat and how much to drink, the UK population does not agree that they should. And when asked in a recent poll if politicians and civil servants are well-equipped to make personal decisions on their behalf, nearly two out of three Britons disagree.
These are heartening figures to those who think that the state nanny intrudes too much into our lives. Government pays vast sums of money to the advertising industry to encourage us regard salt as some kind of poison, and sugar as something to be shunned. It employs large numbers of people to persuade us to eat five vegetable and fruit types every day, and to limit our consumption of alcohol to about one glass of wine per day. Not content with that, it pays people to exhort us to walk more.
There are very few aspects of modern life from which government is absent. It tells us, sometimes in whispers, but more commonly in a shout, how we should live. It treats smokers as lepers, to be banished from civil society's indoor spaces and made to sin if they must on the streets.