Letters to the Editor, February 28, 2016…

An amusing, and IMHO not too unlikely, take on what the Nanny State will look like in the next ten years.

Sir – Further to your recent correspondence, I welcome proposals by the Government to place a CCTV camera in every household fridge. How else are we to stop the forward march of clinical obesity?

The innocent have nothing to fear. Those existing on a balanced diet, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, need not expect a visit from the health inspectorate. It is only those who flout the Government’s health guidelines by stocking up on too many fatty foods – butter, clotted cream, full-fat milk, cakes, fizzy drink etc, etc – who will find themselves in court.

Those of your correspondents who remain opposed to CCTV cameras in the fridge are living in cloud-cuckoo land. They are the sort of people who, five years ago, would have opposed our introduction of CCTV in the car.

Yet today statistics show that this innovation has led to a sharp drop in seat-belt crime, and a 50 per cent rise in prosecutions for talking, whistling or singing whilst driving. The benefits are incalculable.

Lord Blair of Great Ham

While this sounds rather over the top pause and consider the lawsuits against McDonalds, the various pieces of legislation to forcibly prevent people from engaging in certain types of behavior such as drinking sodas, and so forth.

Sir – To my horror, while watching an old DVD of the series World at War, I noticed that Winston Churchill was shown puffing on a large cigar, whilst Adolf Hitler, a dedicated non-smoker, was revealed as having lost the war.

This is sending out all the wrong signals to our children. Something must be done. Either, World at War must be re-edited, showing Hitler brandishing a cigar and Churchill as a non-smoker, or the ending of the war should be altered, with the non-smoker Hitler winning.

Baroness Hewitt of Bagshot

Given some of the other dopey things I’ve seen anti-smoking zealots endorse, this doesn’t strike me as all that implausible either.

Sir – Am I alone in wondering whether the spread of CCTV may have gone too far? Lying in my bath the other day, a voice came over the loud-speaker in the tap (which is now, as you know, a legal requirement) asking me to clean behind my ears. It seems to me that the insertion of CCTV in the bathroom is an infringement of civil liberties, and one step too many.

Jemima Askin

Clearly Jemima needs to be sent to a re-education camp.

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Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. DC Loser says:

    You could’ve worked the vegan/meat eater angle too since I’m sure Winny loved a good rare roast and Adolph was a teetoatling vegetarian.

  2. my cat says:

    A more likely scenario is that the Republicans will promote a nanny state by restricting access to birth control. Missouri is already in the process of banning family planning information from state-funded county health facilities. Bush just tried to put another anti-Plan B person on the FDA, and Republican religious fanatics are pressuring pharmacies to refrain from stocking Plan B. Lest there be any confusion, Plan B does not cause an abortion: it prevents conception, so it is no more like an abortion than a birth control pill.
    It is the authoritarian right that wants a nanny state, a mean Puritanical nanny.

  3. D. C. Russell says:

    I would find it much easdier to live with the proliferation of Big Brother spy cameras if our disgustingly hypocritical government and business leaders would agree to the placement of such cameras in their offices, conference rooms, and favorite eating places, and allowed voters, stockholders, or public interest groups to monitor those cameras.

    I bet Enron would not have fleeced very many people if their business dealings had all been on TV. Nor would Abramoff have had as much influence.

    If the corrupt pols want to watch us, why shouldn’t we be able to watch them?

  4. Steve Verdon says:

    Well D.C. Enron did have a big fake trading floor in their Houston office. The design of the trading floor was to give visitors the idea that Enron was the center of the [energy] universe, so to speak, and it worked for awhile (unitl the fact that Enron was bankrupt couldn’t be kept hidden anymore). But still, putting the cameras in the apartments/offices of Representatives, Senators and the like sure would get my support!

  5. Betyer Bippy says:

    What next? Bartenders are not allowed to serve a drunk patron…..soon they’ll have a law that will ordain not serving food to the over weight.

    Everything the Russians are trying to UNDO in the Soviet Unions, Americans are doing to themselves.

  6. John Burgess says:

    my cat: You need to check your facts. Plan-B works by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg (i.e., the conception has already happened) in the uterus. For those who believe life begins at conception, Plan-B is, indeed, an abortificant.

    What’s odd to me is that a line is being drawn between contraceptive pills and Plan-B. The Pill also works by creating an environment hostile to the implantation of a fertilized ovum. It just does it slowly rather than providing a sudden surge of hormones.

    This, of course, makes no difference to strict Catholics who condemn any form of contraception as an act against the will of God. But most anti-abortion people aren’t against The Pill. They’re drawing a line where none exists.

  7. denise says:

    John, that’s not really right. Birth control pills are designed to prevent ovulation, and that’s how it does work most of the time. Now, when that fails (and it occasionally does, especially with imperfect use), you’re right that there is widespread belief (although not unanimous I recently learned) that when ovulation has occurred, and the egg does get fertilized, then implantation is prevented (not always though; there are birth control pill babies out there).

    By contrast, Plan B is designed specifically and solely to prevent implantation of an egg that has already been fertilized. (So does the IUD by the way, and no one’s talking about outlawing those, so you still have a point.)

  8. Rick DeMent says:

    By contrast, Plan B is designed specifically and solely to prevent implantation of an egg that has already been fertilized.

    And how is the creation of laws to prevent the killing of a blastocyst any different then any nutty thing PETA has ever advocated. My dog has more sentient understanding then a blastocyst and I can put her down with no legal consequences. But mention plan B and the nanny staters get all riled up.

  9. floyd says:

    steve; thanks, wonderful work. how long before cynical satire becomes impossible, due to reality’s charge in that direction?