“If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

File under: “to man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail“.

We can save lives by taxing red meat.

The British taxpayers recently funded a generous research grant resulting in a report that explained to them why they need to pay more money for luxuries such as food because they are too stupid to eat a sensible balanced diet.

Taxing red meat would save many lives and raise billions to pay for healthcare, according to new research. It found the cost of processed meat such as bacon and sausages would double if the harm they cause to people’s health was taken into account.

Well, if you put it like that, who can disagree?

Presumably this research is solid and isn’t predicated on any assumptions that are easily falsifiable?

Oh;

Governments already tax harmful products to reduce their consumption, such as sugar, alcohol and tobacco. With growing evidence of the health and environmental damage resulting from red meat, some experts now believe a “sin tax” on beef, lamb and pork is inevitable in the longer term.

Really? Tobacco is taxed to reduce consumption?

How successful has that strategy been over time do we think, compared to other potential strategies such as an outright ban or simply reducing the locations where smoking is permitted?

And this tax on alcohol to reduce consumption, hows that working out?

Hmm, not the most successful initiative in human history, then.

Bill’s Opinion

As Tim Worstall points out, this study fails to consider one very important fact in its faux economic analysis; if people are dying early due to an unhealthy diet, they aren’t costing the taxpayer-funded health service a single penny the day after they die.

The great thing about the negative health consequences of eating too much red meat is that heart attacks often occur quite suddenly and the victim shuffles off this mortal coil with little warning or chance to incur expensive palliative care.

Prima facie, this is yet another politically-motivated report disguised as academic research. The answer was known before the study commenced.

Interestingly, I discovered this chart whilst researching relative prices for beef around the world.

The Uk is ranked #37 most expensive for a 1kg lump of cow. Counter-intuitively, that’s slightly cheaper than the US and Canada.

Amusingly, India and Venezuela are significantly cheaper. For very different reasons, best of luck finding a steak in either of those locations!

Vegan humour failure

tautology (noun)

1 the saying of the same thing twice over in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style (e.g. they arrived one after the other in succession ).

This definition amuses me. Although not a tautology in itself, it is verbose. My preference is, “redundancy of words“.

Anyway, “vegan humour failure” is clearly tautologous.

Witness;

Vegan pitches rubbish idea, is rejected in a mildly funny way, then gets the guy fired.

BuzzFeed reported that Sitwell, the former editor of Waitrose Food magazine, made the statement in an email to freelance writer Selene Nelson, who had pitched a series on plant-based cooking.

In his response, Sitwell reportedly wrote to her, “How about a series on killing vegans, one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat? Make them eat steak and drink red wine?”

Not the funniest rejection letter in history, granted, but it’s not without humour.

Of course, if he’d have realised that it was going to be read by the vicariously offended, rather than just the original recipient, he may have worded it slightly differently. “No thanks, this is not of interest to our readers“, probably would have sufficed.

Here’s an interesting statement;

Following an uproar, Sitwell, who is also a food critic on BBC’s “MasterChef,” apologised and said that he is resigning from his position at the magazine, which states it features “recipes and articles from the world’s best chefs and food writers.”

An “uproar”?

I must have missed the edition of the Oxford English Dictionary where the definition of “uproar” was amended to include “half a dozen Twitter users complaining“.

Bill’s Opinion

The correct response to the criticism should have been, “it was a joke, feel free to laugh or fuck off“.

Instead, William Sitwell made the fatal mistake of apologising. This only encourages the social media mob pile on until their target’s career has been destroyed. Better still, if their life has also been destroyed.

The rule of our age is simple; never apologise, never explain.

There is another axiom we have been reminded of too;

There are three questions one never needs to ask;

1. Are you from Texas/Yorkshire/Queen’sland?

2. Do you do CrossFit/BootCamp?

3. Are you vegan?

For those of you who may have been traumatised by the gratuitous mentions of vegans in today’s post, here’s a soothing picture of a delicious serving of Steak Tartare;

Luxurious lamb

Welsh farmers will need protecting against evil foreign farmer following Brexit.

It’s obvious isn’t it, really?

The poor farmers of Wales will have to contend with the unfair competition from New Zealand farmers once the UK has exited the EU and struck trade deals with its former colonies.

This is indeed an economic tragedy on a scale of which there is no precedent.

Imagine the devastation to the British consumer of cheaper, market-priced food appearing in the supermarkets.

The Welsh Assembly is correct in its assertion that government intervention is required to ensure that no farmer is negatively impacted by this loss of EU subsidies and market protection from superior or cheaper imported products.

Or perhaps we are being sarcastic.

Bill’s Opinion

Why would the Welsh Assembly prioritise a small group of farmers above every carnivorous UK citizen?

The best interests of everyone in the UK who enjoys eating lamb is for them to be able to source a quality product at the best possible price.

Protecting a particular special interest group at the expense of the consumer is a return to mercantilism and the Corn Laws. Of course, this is precisely what the EU has been increasingly implementing over the decades following the UK’s entry into “The Common Market” (that was the name of the entity of which the 1975 referendum confirmed continued membership).

That joke isn’t funny anymore

Think of your favourite jokes, comedy sketches or scenes from a funny film….

What is the one common thread that ties those chuckles together?

May I suggest, “laughing at someone’s expense”?

At the root of every successful form of comedy is some level of poking fun at someone else or oneself.

Comedy needs a victim.

The victim is seen to be deserving for various reasons; hubris, pride, arrogance, stupidity, aggression, etc. but, for whatever the reason they have deserved to be the butt of the joke, we find it amusing.

The acts of smiling, chuckling or laughing at joke, sketches or slapstick are completely involuntary, it’s almost impossible to control in advance what one finds amusing.

Yet, apparently, “Food allergies are not a punchline“.

Bill’s Opinion

Be very, very afraid of the joyless people who require us to not laugh at a joke.

As P.J. O’Rourke explains, they’ve confused the fact that they would prefer it if we didn’t find something funny with the reality that we still do.

He gives the example of Helen Keller falling down the well and breaking 4 fingers shouting for help. We know we shouldn’t laugh at that but we still do.

Q. How do you know if someone is gluten-intolerant?

A. It’s the first thing they’ll tell you.*

* also works for vegans, boot camp participants or people from Yorkshire.