Sorry … what did the Conservatives say about Blair and the ‘nanny state’?


Throughout the last decade we heard little else from the Conservatives by way of criticism about Tony Blair than ‘the nanny state’.  The term nanny state was even coined by the Conservative British MP Iain Macleod who referred to “what I like to call the nanny state” in his column “Quoodle” in the December 3, 1965, edition of The Spectator. It then comes as the most awful shock to discover that the Tories have become ‘nanny statesmen’ themselves!

Overturning the culinary experience of 116 years, David Cameron’s government has put the nutritional nutcracker on the makers of HP Sauce and made them reduce the salt content from 2.1 per cent per 100g to 1.3 per cent, in line with government health guidelines. The changes were made by the manufacturer after signing up to the Coalition Government’s Responsibility Deal, which aims to reduce salt used by food manufacturers. The key pledges include an agreement to reducing salt in food so people eat 1g less per day by end of 2012.

HP became synonymous with greasy fry-up breakfasts and bacon sandwiches, the quintessential English ‘brekkie’. But woe! The experience is simply not the same now they have succeeded in reducing the salt level in the nation’s favourite brown sauce. The most famous critic, Michelin-starred Marco Pierre White, said he sent back a meal of sausages and mash at Piers Morgan’s Kensington pub The Hansom Cab last week because he thought it was off. “At first, I thought it was the sausages, but it wasn’t,” he said. “It was the HP, which tasted disgusting. It was definitely dodgy. I had no idea they had changed the recipe.”

It seems to have bypassed the logic of the Coalition that one would need to drink an entire bottle of HP Sauce to exceed the recommended daily allowance of 6g! So it would appear that the nanny state is alive and well but is now a Tory ethos. What a sauce!

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approvalof their own conscience.”

C. S. Lewis, (1898-1963), British novelist. Source: ‘God In The Dock’, 1948


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