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"Mr Cameron's willingness to talk about his family was on full show yesterday"

You mean David Cameron's willingness to exploit his family for political gain was on full show yesterday.

I think you are right when you talk about the influence of his family. I would suggest that is true of all of us. If we have personally experienced something - say for example the NHS doing a great job, then we are much more likely to believe it is good than listening to some "horror story" from someone else.

I think the retail sector often gets a bad press - and actually it does lots of good works in the field of CSR, sustainable development - and indeed healthy eating. You only have to take the example of fair trade goods. They haven't expanded because of legislation - it has happened because of consumer demand - and if retailers get that wrong they suffer the consequences.

I rather like chocolate oranges. I can't see this as being a matter for politicians to comment on at all.

Yes, I'm sure WH Smith clearing their post-Christmas surplus of chocolate oranges is a scourge to the nation.

Methods of fighting obesity must be a matter for politicians - I suspect its going to be (or already is) a bigger issue than smoking. That being said I believe there are certain aspects of this debate which are likely to have greater results.

For exampel, (and I amy e wrong) I understand that the calorific intake of people hasn't risen by too much over the last 25 years. What has happened is there has been a huge decrease in physical activity. Kids cant play in the street. There are less school playing fields. There are less manual jobs which require physical exertion and so on. For me the first weapon in the war on obesity is to focus on exercise.

We dont want to get to a siuation where children have weak bones - and there is evidence of this - as their parents are giving them skimmed milk - as they see whole milk as "bad".

What point is Cameron trying to make when he refers to the many devoted people who work in the NHS? Is he suggesting that in a country like France, where universal healthcare is based on social insurance, the doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and ancillary workers are simply in it for themselves and don't give a damn about the patients?


I've just been at Euston station.

The Smiths on the concourse offered me a five pack of chewing gum with my Spectator.

I declined and bought a creme egg to enjoy while reading the cover's 'Cameron swings to the Left' stories.

I saw the chocolate story yesterday, and was very surprised Cameron picked on an actual retailer and product which doesn't seem that clever. The comment also had a touch of the nanny state about it.

As has been said before, real steps needs to be taken to encourage more exercise. Delivering Conservative leaflets for example!!

Now haven't cream eggs got smaller since I was a kid - or is it just that my mouth is bigger?

"The Smiths on the concourse offered me a five pack of chewing gum with my Spectator."

How dare they be a newsagent rather than a greengrocer's!

"I declined and bought a creme egg to enjoy"

So you enjoy choclalte eggs, but want to other commuters cheap chocolate oranges? Is this really the "new" politics?

Now there's a thought Andrew. We could issue all our activists pedometers and log if they have done there suggested 10,000 steps a day.

Eat chocolate oranges and you too can be as fat as Dawn French. DC's new Tory Party:
'It's not Maggie's - it's mine !'

"You mean David Cameron's willingness to exploit his family for political gain was on full show yesterday."

Boo hoo. He's not the first and certainly won't be the last.

Maybe WH Smiths had so many chocolate oranges because we are becoming healthier and no-one bought them over Christmas!

Whilst I support the intention, I think that attacking specific outlets and products just after Christmas is more than a little naive. A better target would have been, as others have suggested, the time honoured practice of putting sweets and chocolates by checkouts in supermarkets, rather than a retailer trying to offload excess stock after the festive period.

Well, considering that school leavers are going to be asked to do community service....sorry, community work under Tory proposals, they'll have plenty of exercise to burn off the excess calories!

One humourous thing about this is that at work weve just slapped a box full of creme eggs right next to the till for impulse buyers. We sold a fair few yesterday. Bad me!

I wish to point out that The Times was much too soft on him.

I'm all for pretending to be nice and fluffy so that we can get into power and bring back the Poor House (or whatever the horribly right wing thing is that we are going to do) but this is totally beyond the pail.

If you don't like the way retailers sell chocolate buy from somewhere else.

If even the Conservative party is going down the road of Blairite Nannying, this country will be a hell hole in a few years, where only the Government Prescribed life styles are allowed.

James Maskell,

Are you a paper-boy?

No, Im not a paper boy and Im not sure exactly where you get that from.

The thing is - most retailers have opted not to sell chocolate at check outs - as that is what consumers demanded. It didn't require legislation.

Plus we need to get away from this good food bad food debate. Chocolate is not bad. A diet based wholly on chocolate is!

Consumer groups often portray themselves as knowing consumers best - but in actual fact it is the retailers. As Ive said before - if they get it wrong - they go out of business.

My recollection from when the young Tylers were even younger is that supermarkets have always done this. IIRC the correct response is just to say 'no'. Accompanied if necessary by some cunning distraction such as a smack round the ear.

No, sorry, that should have read a 'discussion about healthy eating and personal responsibility'.

I dislike the noise and clutter caused by children in shops. Perhaps they could be barred, thus sparing parents from having to refuse chocolate cravings, and the rest of us from having to witness it.

Cameron didn't suggest using the law to ban the promotion of chocolate; he simply offered an opinion. I understand he's very much against the "nanny state".
Through NHS treatment for his son, he has gained a great deal of knowledge about the way it operates on the ground. He would be cazy not to use the situation, so long as his son didn't suffer in any way.
To offset the relentless negativity on this blog, it shouldn't go unnoticed that Cameron performed fluently and persuasively on the Today Show this morning. I also noticed in The London Evening Standard a few days ago the writer Jeanette Winterson (hope I got the name right) liked the cut of Cameron's jib on environmental issues and thought she would probably vote for him at the next election. Hopefully she'll be the first of many influential lefty chatterers/scribblers to come out and embrace the party they once depised.

Agree with the editor on this. People have real concerns about social and cultural issues (of which their childrens's eating habits are one) which they want politicians to talk about. In an age when politics is less about ideology and more about practical responses to a changing world, politicians need to lead the way in, as the edited pointed out, influencing social and cultural change. People are crying out for a more 'values' based politics.

What people want is not always what is best for them. I would much rather tuck into a full English than a salad.

The dilemma for governments is where education stops and compulsion begins. Where choices do not affect others I would be against compulsion.

However, linking this debate to another, with a tax-funded health service, one persons desire to live on a diet of bacon, eggs, fags, beer and chocolate has an impact on everyone else in the community. This makes it a government problem.

With an NHS struggling to cope, the question of 'free' treatment for people who willingly put their health at risk through their lifestyle choices will become more and more of an issue.

Whilst we persist with the illusion of a 'free' health service that will spare no expense to fix us no matter how determined we are to break ourselves, then the private eating and exercise habits of the people will be an issue of government concern.

"That would obviously be a step too far but there is nothing wrong with a politician identifying with other parents across the country who resent retailers' marketing methods."

As I said yesterday, I have some sympathy with the view that irresponsible marketing does contribute to the obesity problem, however I'm not sure that attacking convenience outlets for offering convenient snacks was particularly well-judged, but of course, we couldn't expect him to let the opportunity to use a clever soundbite about oranges pass him by. Has he ever tried eating an orange on a train?

Seriously though, he'd have been far better off highlighting other examples of irresponsible marketing, such as children's television being flooded with commercials for junk food and sugary drinks, supermarkets placing sweets and chocolate next to the checkout, and fast food restaurants offering children's toys with meals.

This stuff is candidate gold. Whoever said you shouldn't work with children or animals didn't know what they were talking about when it came to politics.

The "shops shouldn't plug chocolates for kids" and "my son's needs have shown me the importance of the NHS" lines are great ambience stuff, that cuts through dry policy talk for connecting with those under-40 females that disproportionately run away from the Party.

PS: Ed what are you doing eating a chocolate egg barely after the new year?? It's like putting up a Christmas tree in October!!!! Geez.

The snotty reaction to DC's Chocolate Orange remarks is daft. OK, it's not the biggest issue in the world but Capitalism must be socially responsible if it is to survive. There is a disturbing tendency for politicians to ban anything they deem immoral or unhealtly. Cameron is taking a sensible stance - calling the shots on irresponsible and greedy retailers whilst resisting coercion.

A Conservatism that refuses to even express an opinion on the slimy tactics of businesses operating in public view will find itself cast aside by voters.

DC should remember that people have a right to a life before politics and don't have to answer questions about whether they have bought a chocolate orange from a newsagent.

"Cameron is taking a sensible stance - calling the shots on irresponsible and greedy retailers whilst resisting coercion."

No, he's trying to name and shame a business which has done nothing wrong. If its customers weren't happy with this practice, it would have moved its sweet displays as so many other retailers have done.

Whenever I've bought one of these things, I've never thought I was doing anything wrong by buying one, or that the retailer was doing anything wrong by selling me one.

Come on Tory T - lets not bash retailers. What about producer responsibility. Im sure people in York (where I lived for five years) never thought the product they produces at the Terry's factory was contributing to corporate greed.

Then we have to look at individual responsibility as well. There was talk through EU regulations that things such as King size chocolate bars would be banned for "the good" of consumers. How that would stop someone buying two regular sized ones I dont know.

In the Nutrition and Health Claims directive - brand names such as "Diet Coke" were under attack - as they were seen to be making some sort of Health claim.

We hear that adults are persuaded to buy kids chocolates and that is really unhealthy. More worrying for me is buying a playstation, and letting children have a TV in their bedroom - so they sit on their bum all day.

More worrying is the old socialist philosophy that competitive sport was bad - as someone had to lose - which Labour are finally seeing the light on.

Full marks for DC for raising the obesity debate. Lets focus on coming up with some policies that can contribute to tackling this problem.

Mind you - I could do with shedding several pounds so who am I to talk.

And here's WH Smiths' reaction:

The store said it was perplexed by Mr Cameron's comments, and added that it was offering its customers a choice as some of its stores now sold bananas and apples.

"We are slightly bemused by all this. Confectionery is a relatively small part of our business," said a spokesperson.

"We sell a wide range of products. Customers could buy chocolate or healthier alternatives such as cereal bars or fruit and nuts.

"Oranges are not that easy and our customers don't want them, but they might want chocolate oranges. They were very popular in the run-up to Christmas."


Sorry James, it IS wrong for a shopkeeper to deliberately place an unhealthy product at the checkout.

Let's be absolutely clear about this - it is ultimately the responsibility of adults (not the state) to (a) control their weaknesses for chocolate, alcohol, fags etc and (b) resist inappropriate demands from their children. The state has no place legislating to tell shops where goods should be positioned.

However, Capitalists and employees of WH Smiths cannot park their ethics at the front door when they come in to work. To place a product like chocolate in a way that you KNOW is likely to lead to kids pressurising their parents is a manipulative act that preys on human weakness. On a scale of 1 to 10 it's a 2 but those who do it cannot entirely evade moral responsibility and the way that a good society should respond to this kind of wrongdoing is not to rush to legislation but to name and shame the culprits - which is precisely what David Cameron has done.

Good on him.

I'm sure it's true in one or two stores but I've never known a WH Smith sell fruit.

"Oranges are not that easy and our customers don't want them."

Of course not, but let's not let that get in the way of a good soundbite!

"Sorry James, it IS wrong for a shopkeeper to deliberately place an unhealthy product at the checkout."

That's a hysterical description of chocolate. It may be bad for you if you eat it to excess - like so many things - but is actually good for you in moderation. Link!

There's nothing wrong with a retailer giving people the choice. If they then choose to eat to excess, that's their own fault. Eating anything to excess is bad for you.

"To place a product like chocolate in a way that you KNOW is likely to lead to kids pressurising their parents is a manipulative act that preys on human weakness."

No, it's a response to the demands of their customers, just as other stores have responded to theirs by relocating such displays.

This is just nannying hypocrisy from David Cameron, which undermines his claim to have not entered politics to tell people what to do.

Trust them? No. They might buy chocolate!

"I'm sure it's true in one or two stores but I've never known a WH Smith sell fruit."

Actually most of the ones at railway stations I've used seem to do so - they're stocked in the cabinets with the sandwiches and bottled water.

"I'm sure it's true in one or two stores but I've never known a WH Smith sell fruit."

In which case it's patently absurd for WH Smith to be criticised for not selling a product that it's never sold. Perhaps he'll have a pop at Texaco for selling petrol instead of bicycle pumps and thereby contributing to obesity (through lack of exercise) next?

The War of the Chocolate Orange will become one of the defining issues of our time. I am often annoyed by WHSmiths pestering me with offers of chocolate. I think it's more annoying because the lady knows I won't take it (I see her nearly every day at some ungodly hour of the morning), yet she has to go through the rigmarole of asking as-per whatever passes for management training in the slow car crash that is WHSmith these days.

If I had kids, I would be mad at Smiths' policy. But it's not the real point is it. Mr Cameron was hardly saying "On day 1 of my government I will outlaw sales of confectionery to unsuspecting newspaper purchasers". It was a bit more of "hey - guess what, public, we're normal and have the same frustrations as parents as you have. Maybe you'd like to listen to what we're going to say over the next few months?". Personally I found it a lot more human than having that harridan Hewitt screaming at me about smoking etc. And I think those who fear that this "I'm human, like you are" comment signals a shift to paternalistic interference in the market should, umm, keep off the funny oranges for a bit.

Tory T, what is morally wrong about selling chocolate? It's about as innocent an activity as one can engage in.

"I am often annoyed by WHSmiths pestering me with offers of chocolate."

Then why not say so to them. Or if it really annoys you, buy your newspaper elsewhere.

Do we really need politicians lecturing people for us?

I am with the Editor on this. Cameron was not being a nanny - he proposed no regulation or legislation, nor, thankfully, did he suggest appointing a confectionary czar. He was simply making a cultural point.

Many of the issues we face are best dealt with as cultural issues, rather than regulatory ones. If we don't like the way organisations behave, we can criticise them publicly and hope they take notice & change.

For me, a far worse habit of too many newsagents at the moment is the practice of positioning lads' mags like Nuts or Loaded at the eye-level of my 3 and 4 year old children. I am really very keen to protect them from over-sexualisation at their age, but every so often I would like to take them into a newsagent. It would be nice to be able to do that without them seeing covers like the one at the end of this link:


or this


Although in fairness I should say that, thus far, they have been more interested in the chocolate orange bars than scantily-clad young lovelies.

I don't think we should deal with this by way of legislation, statutory instrument, or even code of practice. I would like to see newsagents act a little more responsibly when deciding where to position products.

It is entirley legitimate for politicians to try and influence our prevailing culture simply by talking about it & trying to influence prevailing social attitudes. Liberals have been doing it for ages. It's high-time conservatives did it with more conviction and less hang-up about being accused of nannying. Particularly when, as here, no nanny-ish soluition was proposed at all.

I can't believe this thread has provoked such strong reactions.Even more unbelievably I find myself in complete agreement with James Hellyer.I very much hope that this type of remark from Cameron was strictly a one off.

"It is entirley legitimate for politicians to try and influence our prevailing culture simply by talking about it & trying to influence prevailing social attitudes."

It's silly of them to try and do so by making such a stupid point. If Cameron wanted a legitimate target at railway stations, he might have considered the bottle shops, which contribute far more woe. Or the burger chains, which make a far more obvious contribution to obesity than WH Smiths.

Instead he picked on a newsagents that had some chocolate on special offer. And they're probably the most innocuous retailer at railway stations!

It seems ridiculous to try and make a point by "naming and shaming" a retailer who is historically very reactive to customer demands. Smiths has changed policy on what magazines it stocks and where they are shelved nationally in response to customer complaints. In the 90s, Doctor Who spin off novels contained sex and bad language, and when customers complained this made them unsuitable for children, Smiths moved them from the children's section. In the light of this, the fact that they stock sweets on special offer at their counters would seem to indicate that that's what their customers want. Unless, like Graeme, they don't express their preferences ever.

Does that mean, James, that you accept the idea that politicians should make cultural points, but disagree with the particular tactics and target here?

For the sake of clarity, I was not referring to WHS in relation to magazine positioning - I haven't checked them at Kings X recently. It was a wider point.

Sean - I eat chocolate too so I'm hardly a nut cutlet-guzzling sandal wearer.

We don't want to indulge in a panic attack but there is a very real problem with obesity and lack of fitness in modern society.

People should respect their bodies. Excessive boozing, binge-eating of fatty foods, heavy smoking, taking no exercise - all of these are BAD THINGS.

I'm perfectly willing to accept that it's not for the state to force people to be healthy. I'm also clear that, in a society where little girls can be abducted and raped, this is very far from being our biggest problem.

But for a politician (or any other public figure) to criticise manipulative retailing practices that encourage impulse consumption of chocolate by children strikes me as a good and responsible thing to do.

As a society, we are over-nannied - so discourage the passing of coercive legislation. AS a society, we are also overweight - so discourage the overconsumption of 'treats' like chocolate.

Where's the contradiction?

The chocolate oranges comment is not worrying in itself -- so long as it does not suggest the direction Cameron wishes to take. If he was just saying it to show how "caring" he is, and how he is "concerned" about the darker side of business, then it was actually probably a smart move (in my opinion).

I am just very suspicious -- even neurotic -- about all of Cameron's pronouncements. Even relatively innocent things like this I'm inclined to see as movements towards Blair-like nannying. But I do think we should focus our concerns towards his policy pronouncements; that, in the end, is what matters.

From today's news it seems that DC has moved swiftly on to finding new activities for alienated and disaffected youth. From Chocolate Orange to Clockwork Orange.

The problem is that healthy foods are unprocessed and cheap by and large, (bar fish which, due to EU incompetence and the CFP has sky-rocketed in price). And big companies can't make money selling it.

Big companies make money by persuading people to want unhealthy expensive preserved food and drinks.

Drink water. Eat fruit, nuts, seeds, green veg, fresh meat and fish - and you will never feel healthier. But big retailers will go bust in droves.

The smaller retailers who would purvey cheaper healthier foods are driven out by excessive regulation and the bureaucracy of the food-retailing industry, much coming from the EU, which suits big retailers just fine.

Food in restaurants is now often prepared in factories, and only heated, for the same reason...the effect of regulators.

Cameron is entitled to comment about this. This is a democracy. Let's make sure that nothing is sacred though. Big business can be criticised, as can incompetent government, and corrupt government - including the EU, the EPP, the CAP and the CFP....and the regulations that drive out smaller food retailers and restauranteurs.

The public understand obesity and chocolate/sugar intake - but they don't yet understand the corruption and incompetence of the CAP and the CFP, and the EU bureaucratic system which underlies high fresh food prices, the lack of small retailers, and the growing obesity, diabetes and other diet related diseases, which are the result.

R UK - DYING OF BUREAUCRACY - excellent post. A fine stating of the authentic Conservative position. Supporting individual freedom and the free market should not equate with dribbling deference to the CBI, Tescos and other EU-loving greedheads who would happily live in a Soviet-style command economy - as long as their noses has a comfy position in the trough...

I'm a committed Eurosceptic but I don't think that 'the EU makes people fat' is a particularly cogent argument. I wonder how long it'll be before somebody blames Hitler.

DVA - Hitler was, of course, a teetotal non-smoking vegetarian (which, I feel, illustrates a deep and meaningful truth could we but grasp at it) - BUT: he was addicted to sweet Viennese pastries. (See Kershaw "Hitler: Vol I", page 261)

Therefore, Hitler would probably have adopted a centre-ground position on this critical issue of our times and tried to avoid alienating either political fringe.

Presumably, had Germany won WWII, WH Schmidt would today be offering cut-price Wagner CDs instead of chocolate oranges.

Simon C makes a good point. If Cameron had said, "As Britain faces a teen sex crisis, why does WH Smith’s promote Loaded magazine instead of The Tablet?" one can imagine the moans and groans from many of the people who applauded Cameron's remarks. As Burke once said, "Religious persecution may shield itself uner the guise of a mistaken and over-zealous piety." I believe Cameron has been mistakenly and over-zealously pious in his last few pronouncements. I hope persecution of those who disagree with him does not follow.

Tory T - Do you equate all business as bad? I mean what about other extremely large organisations that are heavily involved in Business in the Community. Im not sure we should start bashing organisations becauses they make a profit.

Isnt it interesting that those companies making chocolate - Cadbury's/ Terry's were actually hugely socially responsible and probably looked after their workers far more than contemporary firms in their day.

Do you regard the CBI as awful? Why?

If we look at health we should actually remember that all the drugs we use are pretty much made and developed by private companies.

Cameron's leadership gets more intectually debased by the day. It is truly pathetic for the leader of a supposedly great political party to descend to such rubish as this.

Strangly enough retailers do not stick unhealthy products by the checkouts because of some twisted notion of promoting obesity. Retailers naturally wish to maximise turnover (obviously without unduly effecting their margin) and therefore aim to use all of their shopfloor space in an effective manor. The decision to place confectionary at the checkout as opossed to citrus fruit is based on a number of factors. Firstly and most importantly is that impulse or 'pick up' items are the most effective lines to be sold at the checkout because by the time a customer has reached the checkout they will normally have picked up all the items which they had planned on buying. Chocolate oranges are an impulse line, oranges are not. Secondly fresh oranges are a perishable product and as such are best kept refigerated. Placing refigeration cabinets by the checkouts tends to be impracticle (with the exception of refigeration cabinets designed for carbonated drinks which are normally provided by the suppliers of such products). Thirdly on highly perishable goods it is important for stores to maintain strict product rotation (ensuring that stock delivered first is sold first). Where products are displayed in one place it is fairly easy but it becomes more difficult when they are displayed in several places.

Whether David Cameron actually understands that is not the issue. Unlike me he does not have a background in retail management and his role as leader of HM opposition does not require him to knon such things. The issue is that he seems to think it is the governments role to interfere in things which don't concern it and which it might not really understand. If consumers have a major objection to product placement in a store they can shop elsewhere.


Unlike you, I do not have a background in retail but I do worked in finance. But you need neither to realise Cameron has lost it.

I'm really bloody fat. I mean, gigantic. 22 stone of wobbling, flaccid lard.

I love chocolate oranges and would cheerfully stuff 5 down my gaping maw in a single sitting. I also hate exercise and consequently will probably make the 30 stone mark before my wheezing ticker finally packs up, leaving a lifeless mini-mountain of suppurating flab. The only sign of life will be the bacteria-filled fungal cream cheese oozing its way out of the bulbous folds of my belly and buttocks.

So stuff you, Cameron, you toffee-nosed twat. If WHSmith want to sell me a chocolate orange, they bloody well can.

*quiver, wobble*

Lets watch the language please, Mr Arbuckle.

Why, what's it going to do?

We've had posters in the past causing trouble by writing posts like that, especially ones like your comments direct to Cameron. Its not polite and I dont think its very welcome here. Important people read this site.

I had no intention to cause any offence, so apologies for any caused to the more sensitive wallflowers here. I actually think Cameron is a really good prospect.

However, "important people read this site" is arguably the most pompous thing I've read in months. You're not Simon Heffer, are you?

In the Tory world of personal responsibility, we're all important people!

There are many influential people who read this site, who won't read it anymore if it becomes yet another forum full of personal insults, hence the desire to keep it constructive.

Francis Maude, Jenkins, Gove wrote on this forum in recent months. May wrote here too. Pompous would be me saying "Important people like me read this site". The fact remains that this site has grown in importance recently and is read by important people.

These people are our servants NOT our masters. It would do you and them good to remember that.

You can make your point without abusing them though.

Guys, lighten up. I think if DC read that whole post he would have been as curled over with laughter as I was. Harmless humour.

Im sorry, Mr Editor, but, for the first time, I completely disagree with you. DC's remark (about the chocolate orange) sounds to me just like the half-baked things that Tony Blair has too frequently come out with over the last few years.
I wouldn't call it "bully pulpit", so much as "pop-star prattishness". There was a time when pop stars seldom said anything much in interviews other than that they wanted to buy their Mum and Dad a house. These days, they - and anyone else enjoying a few weeks of fame - are liable at the drop of a hat to give the waiting world the benefit of their wisdom as to how society should be run. DC's remark sounds just like that to me. In other words, he has succumbed to one of the deadly temptations of fame, to give voice in public to what is really just a passing private thought.
In any case, apart from the fact that his remark is on a fashionable health issue, and thus more likely to appeal to the muesli-eating sector of the population than the beer-drinking sector, it sounds pretty much like the sort of remark you might hear in a saloon bar any day of the week:
"Don't talk to me about WH Smith, mate. I hate it! I can never find what I'm looking for in WH Smith's, and it's always so bloody crowded. Tesco's is the same, and Woolworth's. They're all the same these shops! They're probably all run by the same bloody people. And I'll tell you another thing: Have you seen those bloody mega-sized chocolate bars they have in Woolworth's? It's disgusting! Who wants that sort of thing? I ask you! It shouldn't be allowed! And have you seen all those bloody fat people you get in Woolworth's? I'll tell you something: they're not just putting a strain on their hearts, mate; they're putting a strain on the Health Service as well! Somebody should do something about it! And I'll tell you something else: that David Cameron: What's he given his son a bloody Russian name for? What is he - a communist sympathiser or something?"

I meant to add:
You said, Mr Editor: "Just before Christmas I watched an unhappy parent have to repeatedly stop his toddler son from snatching at sweet packets at a M&S till."
I find this remark incredible. I have had three normal, average sort of children, and none of them would ever have "snatched at sweet packets" at a till or anywhere else. I'm certainly not claiming to be a perfect parent, but surely this sort of behaviour is down to the parents, and cannot be sensibly blamed on a shopkeeper? In any case, it's pointless to try to consider this type of thing in isolation. Whatever a child does in any one situation is always simply a part of his overall behaviour, which is, in turn, merely a part of the whole home-life of the family.

fresh oranges are a perishable product and as such are best kept refigerated.

I can't remember ever seeing fresh oranges in a shop refrigerator in my life. They would soon shrivel up and get hard. Where do you shop ?

I would like to condemn my local Co-op and their 2 for the price of 1 chocolate caramel digestives placed at the checkout... I can resist everything except temptation!

I feel used and manipulated! Well no... I actually feel like a cup of tea and a biscuit.

"I can't remember ever seeing fresh oranges in a shop refrigerator in my life. They would soon shrivel up and get hard. Where do you shop?"

As I stated in my post I work in retail management and I can absolutely assure you that fresh oranges (like all citrus fruits) are best kept refigerated (though it is not essential that they are) and that they most certainly do not shrivel up and get hard as a result.

"Now there's a thought Andrew. We could issue all our activists pedometers and log if they have done there suggested 10,000 steps a day."

I remember there were free pedometers being given out at the BBC Sport reception held at the 2004 Party Conference... I did suggest at the time that my constituency chairman would be checking mine on a regular basis!!

Can anyone remember exactly what the chocolate orange offers in WHSmith were?

Was it half price? or buy 1, get 1 free, or something?

Half price when you bought any newspaper or magazine.

You can buy the chocolate orange bars for 29p now. Hald a dozen segments in a bar.

"You can buy the chocolate orange bars for 29p now. Hald a dozen segments in a bar."

In that case, for the sake of the nation's health, may I pre-empt David Cameron by suggesting those grossly irresponsible bastards at Terry's be rounded up and shot at once?

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