Jack Sprat won’t lay off fat: his life’s not worth a bean

The nation is disfigured by the carbuncle of corpulence, but one brave organisation is battling the fatties. Iain Murray knows which side his bread’s buttered on: neither

It has come to this column’s attention that a great many Britons – no, let us not be mealy-mouthed – a lolloping excess of Britons are fat: too fat, in fact, for their own good. Fatness on this alarming scale is a health hazard. Report after report has shown that fat people suffer more than non-fat people from heart disease, diabetes, and an increased risk of personal injury due to their unwieldiness.

Something must be done. We cannot stand idly by and allow people to become fat – in many cases, wilfully fat. That is why this column is proud to announce the formation of Fight Against Tubbies (FAT), a campaigning organisation dedicated to eliminating the scourge of fatness from our society.

To those of you who say, “Hold on a moment, what business is it of yours to set yourself up as an anti-fat organisation?”, I reply that medical science has shown that fatness is a killer. So which is the greater evil – to tolerate this appalling incidence of premature, fat-related deaths, or to do something about it before it claims more lives? And what of the enormous burden that fat people place on our already overstretched National Health Service? In any case, we at FAT like the idea of campaigning. It makes us feel good. We want to make a difference, and if that means appearing on radio and TV, giving press interviews, lobbying Parliament and generally putting ourselves about a bit, then so be it. It is a price we are prepared to pay. To those who say we are meddling busybodies, we reply, in a humble sort of way, that we know we are right and we forgive you.

Our campaign is many-pronged. Sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind, so it is an absolute essential that fat people should be made to feel outcasts from mainstream society. It won’t happen overnight, but the aim is to ban fatties from all public places such as pubs, restaurants, theatres and so on. After all, they take up far too much space and, let’s face it, they are pretty unpleasant to be near.

As a first step towards that ultimate goal, public places should have designated no-fat areas, where people can eat, drink and enjoy themselves without being forced into the company of the chronically overweight. Employers will have a part to play too. Staff members who choose to be fat should be made to eat their food standing outside the building. Such a measure is in the interests of non-fat personnel, who – quite understandably – do not wish to be near fat people indulging in the filthy habit of mixing saliva with masticated comestibles.

We are confident that, as our campaign gathers momentum, more and more organisations will take action against fat people. Public transport will have a crucial role to play. Fatties will be banned from indulging their fatness on buses and trains, and in the interests of safety all fatness will be prohibited on aircraft. Aeroplane toilets will be fitted with fat detectors, so it will be no use sneaking off to the back of the plane for a quiet double cheeseburger with extra fries.

Getting the medical fraternity onside will be a doddle. After all, they kicked the whole thing off with their studies into the dangers of obesity and their classification of the problem as an epidemic. Medical scientists do not wish to be mute and inglorious and therefore may be depended upon to deliver the goods: study after study revealing new and hitherto unsuspected dangers of obesity. Fatness will, without much effort, be linked to sterility, malformed babies, cancers of all kinds, rabies, hepatitis A, B and C, and, of course, SARS.

Politicians are a pushover. They share our determination to make a difference, and they, like us, relish the thrill that comes from compelling weak-willed, poor and ignorant people to be good whether they like it or not. So much can be achieved in this area. Take taxation. Food deemed to be fat should bear a heavy duty, not because of the revenue it would bring in, but because of the good it would do. Then there are health warnings: “Fat Kills” has an arresting immediacy, while “Warning: Fatness Destroys Libido. For Ever” packs a certain punch.

And if politicians are easy, journalists are veritable doormats. You can depend upon them to accept, uncritically, any story, provided it is a) sufficiently scary; and b) comes with the label “expert” attached.

Now we know what some of you are thinking: if fat people want to be fat, that’s their affair: it’s a free country, and what’s the harm in going to the devil in a way of your own choosing? Well, we’ve got an answer to that – passive fatness.

Yes, it exists all right. We have the statistics to prove it. Studies of non-fat people living with fat people show a 25 per cent increased risk of suffering a fat-related illness such as diabetes or swollen ankles. And don’t believe reports to the contrary. They are either sponsored by the big food multinationals or fatally flawed in ways that our studies are not. Remember, too, June 1 is No Fat Day. And bear in mind our campaign slogan: “Britain’s no place for stuffing your face”.


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