Which is why the latest nannying drive is so incredibly stupid and, as my impecunious Athenian friend points out, so utterly farcical.
There are occasions - not many, admittedly, but occasions nonetheless - when even hyperventilating, loony bloggertarians like myself have to stand back in silent astonishment, mouths agape, and admit that the sheer pace of state nannification is leaving cheap satire in the blocks. Consider this, for example:A team of NHS nurses is patrolling Scotland's streets to target pot-bellied members of the public and tell them how to lose weight.
Armed with measuring tapes to check waists and equipment to test blood pressure, the "Street Nurses" are policing busy shopping centres, supermarkets and community centres. Any man with a paunch, or woman with an "apple-shaped" body whose waist measurement is higher than recommended limits is given diet and lifestyle advice or referred to local slimming classes.
Under the scheme the nurses, wearing high-visibility waistcoats, set up portable tables and chairs in town centres to monitor passers-by. If they spot someone who looks overweight they will approach them and strike up a conversation about their health, inviting them to have a "rapid nursing assessment", which includes having their waist measured and their blood pressure checked.
Overweight women can be referred to local Weight Watchers meetings, and men are sent to the NHS Ayrshire and Arran men-only weight loss club 'Slimmin Withoot Wimmin'. Locals can also attend cookery classes where they learn how to prepare healthy meals on a low budget.
I live in a country where government employees are coming up to me in the street and telling me that I look overweight? I mean, what?
They really don't, do they? Because this is how it begins, whether it's CCTV cameras that tell you off for dropping litter or a spy satellite in the sky, tracking every journey your car makes: a weak attempt at satire on a right-wing blog, usually with some crass reference to Stalin or the Nazis, pops up a year or two later, incredibly, as government pilot scheme, gets 'rolled out' nationally - at galactic expense to John Q. Taxpayer, naturally - and before you know it, there are nurses in hi-vis jackets coming up to you in the street, asking you your waist size and then sending you to - Christ, I can barely type the words, so tightly clenched are my fists with rage - "Slimmin Withoot Wimmin". Well, I'm sorry, but - dear God, I'm repeating myself yet again - mist descending - blood vessels rupturing in my eyeballs - not sure I'm even going to make it to the end of this paragraph - it is none of your GODDAMN BUSINESS. It just isn't, and if there are people out there who honestly and genuinely believe that it is the role of government to walk the streets policing this shit, then we have a real fucking problem here.
The Greek has put it pretty fucking clearly (and do go and read the whole of his piece) but it seems that our government just doesn't fucking get it. But the truth of the matter is that so many people in this country will see nothing wrong with this at all.
They will nod their heads sagely and mutter that it is great that those poor, benighted people who are unable to make their own decisions will be helped towards the path of righteousness by the caring NHS.
They will not realise how incredibly snobbish and condescending their attitude is—"oh, the poor! Yes, I know that one shouldn't stereotype anyone and I, of course, wouldn't dream of doing so but the poor are so terribly stupid, aren't they? It's really our duty to cajole, badger and force them into a healthy lifestyle."
Furthermore, these bien pensant twats do not dream, for one second, that any nurse in a high-viz vest would actually come and start hassling them—no, no, no: this measure is purely for the poor.
"Oh yes," they will twitter at their parties, "I know that I could do with losing a few pounds, but at my time of life...? Besides, a little insulation is healthy, isn't it? And I'm sure that Rubens would have approved!
"Now, have you heard about this wonderful little scheme they've launched in Scotland? Yes, that's right: the one where nurses go and educate poor, fat people in the street. Telling them not to eat so many deep-fried Mars Bars is suppose!" Giggle.
There are a number of posters around Brixton which display the silhouette of a man or woman in profile, with a tape measure around the waist: in the case of the man, the tape measure is at 32 inches and the poster screams that "if your waist is bigger than this, you may need to have a test for diabetes. Go and see your GP."
Thirty-two fucking inches?
Fucking hell: I am about a 32 and I am, as those who know me will testify, definitely on the thin side. Seriously, what the fuck?
These idiot posters are bad enough but one could at least argue that they are attempting to provide information to people. They are irritating but they are a million miles away from the harassment being outlined in Mr E's neck of the woods.
And the British people stand passively on, whilst the government continues in its scheme to make all citizen-units as homogenous as possible. Because, you see, when you are trying to run any system, you want the units to be as near the same as possible; if they are not, they might buck the system.
So the government has been attempting to make the population-units as near identical as possible for ease of control: it has been doing pretty well through the education system, and now they are moving against us with the health system. And the majority of our citizens meekly accept all this.
One looks around and is tempted to use the words that have become Obnoxio's refrain of late: this country is so fucked.