Do you know, in all these years I’ve never really understood what happens in Westminster. I mean, with my little shop being what it is I see more than my fair share of politicians and civil servants popping in for a shrink-wrapped copy of Whiplash (£4.99) or Practical Brexiter (€4.99). But for some reason I never once asked exactly how shouting at each other, fiddling expenses and taking two-month holidays really benefits what Mrs May likes to call the Jams (Hartley’s 340g £1.79).
Well, now I know. It seems the government is to save us all from ourselves by getting us to pay them even more for soft drinks that use real sugar instead of benzoic sulfimide or methyl ester to make them taste nearly acceptable.
Those boffins really are something. You see, if I was in charge of the War on Fatties I would probably have started somewhere else - perhaps McDonald’s or Greggs. Or I might at least have had a little diversionary skirmish with the makers of, say, Krispy Kreme (glazed, creme-filled, 340 kcal) or Sun-Pat Crunchy (611 kcal per 100g) or Lemon Drizzle Slices (698 kcal per 172g slice at Pret a Manger). None of which we stock, of course, though I would venture that politicians partake of these almost as much as they do of the Scotch.
But no - it’s fizzy pop that is public enemy number one, as I discovered when I accidentally tuned into the Parliament Channel on the NowTV Box I installed to follow the Crown Green Bowling. There they all were on channel 838, forcefully declaiming that if only they were allowed to raise hundreds of millions pounds more from products representing perhaps 1% of the UK average shopping basket (or 73% of the average Asda basket) then all would be well.