The government recently come out to say that it wants to make every restaurant in this country display calories on their menus, probably because with the fall of the Catholic Church in Irish society they’ve decided we need to find new things to feel guilty about.
This follows the Government deciding to ban cheap drink, because poor people can’t be trusted, ban the usage of bonus points to buy alcohol, because poor people who are brand loyal particularly can’t be trusted, and saying it wants to heavily regulate vaping, because the natural order of things is that poor people who smoke die young.
At this point there is hardly an activity that could be described as fun that this government hasn’t tried to tax, regulate, or commented disapprovingly of. It doesn’t matter if you want to have a quiet drink or if you want to play a game of bingo, this government has decided you’re ruining your life and have to be stopped.
All part of the Government’s clearly defined strategy to make everyday life just a little bit more grey, a little bit less fun, before their term is up.
This latest move against Irish businesses is particularly pointless as research says putting these sorts of things on menus has little to no effect on consumer behaviour, so it certainly won’t change how many people in this country are overweight. What it will do, according to the Restaurant Association of Ireland, is cost their members, most of whom are small businesses who work with other local businesses to support an incredible number of jobs in this country, ‘tens of millions’ of euros to implement.
The move may also provide some help to those with eating disorders. As long as we understand ‘help’ here to mean ‘will ensure teenage girls can binge and purge more efficiently’.
So why don’t these things work? Because people, in general, know what option is healthy and what option is not healthy. If you put a salad and a sticky toffee pudding in front of people, no-one thinks the sticky toffee pudding is the diet option. What sticky toffee pudding is is delicious, and thereby fun to eat.
If you stand in front of every person who wants that pudding, and ask them if they know how many calories are in it, you make eating it less fun, because now people have to think about their weight instead of the delicious food. No surprise that people who care about food, and the experience of eating it, might have an issue with the plan to do just that.
The fact it won’t work of course means that we’ll bring this in, the Government will realise it’s done nothing but hurt Irish businesses and, in the way only Government can, they’ll decide it didn’t go far enough and we need to put some bloody stupid cartoon system on all menus.
Probably either a traffic light style system, “the green light is good and you need to be told this because you’re an idiot” or an emoji style system, “the frowning face is unhealthy and you need to be told this because you’re a child”.
This will lead, inevitably, to a bureaucrat with a cattle prod standing behind every man, woman, child, and pronoun free entity in this country waiting to ensure you make the right choice and so ‘live your best life and be your best self’.
What your ‘best life’ will be will of course have been determined, using machine learning, by the sort of people who have convinced themselves that kale smoothies are something you can enjoy having in your mouth and that taking part in an Ironman is the most fun a human can ever have. The sort of people whose faces constantly look slightly pained by existence and who tell you you should cycle to work even though you commute into Dublin from Dingle.
There will be an election shortly. Very shortly most likely. People should use that election to take these scolds out behind the sheds and beat them with sticks. Figuratively of course; given their love for running, and the general public’s love for lard, there’s no chance you’ll manage to catch them to administer the beating literally. But maybe you should try. After all, it might be fun. And fun is what makes life worth living.