As far as George Orwell was concerned, the hallmarks of a totalitarian society can be summed up by bad cigarettes and compulsory fitness. The opening chapter of 1984 came to mind as I watched the first segment of TV3 ambitious new current affairs show The Vote.
The format seems robust enough, but the subject matter gave me reflux. Taxing 'bad' food is a mind-numbingly stupid idea, up there with Labour's aborted policy of exempting 'fresh' fruit and vegetables from GST.
But New Zealand has no shortage of bashers. Everybody needs somebody to hate, after all. The smokers are sufficiently marginalised, so now the puritans are after the drinkers and eaters. Can you spot the epicurean persecution yet?
No drinking in bars after midnight tonight. Blame the Christians.
[And lest you think I've dodged the 'Obesity Epidemic' argument, I put the temporary rise in fattery down to a combination of anti-smoking hatred (besides bulimia and cocaine, cigarettes are a model's best friend), Soccer Mum protectionism (e.g. stranger danger), the rise of imported cars in the '90s (especially in Auckland), the corresponding decline in cycling (especially when helmets were made compulsory), as well as added time pressures of modern life (e.g. fewer housewives chained to the stove). Access to fast food is at best a contributory factor.]