How long will it be before we ban fast food?

You can't have that. You're far too fat.

Soon, it seems, we will no longer be able to do anything that's bad for us. A hospital chief in Cambridgeshire has said that he would like to ban fast food from the hospital site, but is currently "contractually shackled" to provide it. Once free of the contract however (not until 2024), the hospitals will remove anything deemed too "unhealthy" despite a high level of customer demand.

At the moment the hospital offers a number of healthy food options to staff, visitors and patients using the food court and currently people are able to choose from a wide range of food options, from various reports it seems that the hospital’s Burger King outlet is the most popular of food choices available.

The hospital boss Dr McNeil has said that he wants to send a clear message on healthy lifestyle and healthy eating, and has said the hospital is in discussions to remove the Burger King from the food court.

While we have gotten used to the idea of being told whether or not we can smoke in public it seems we need to get used to being told what we can and cannot be allow to eat in certain public places as well. Could this be the first step in "unhealthy" foods (arguably any food eaten in excess) being banned from general accessibility for the public?

While this may prove healthier for patients it reinforces the already well-established fear that we are becoming a society that finds it easier to ban things than educate people of their detrimental effects, ultimately removing their right to a freedom of choice in what they eat.

We need to look past the short term effects if the ban to how it will affect our society. No one wants to live in a country in which people have decisions made for them and are not given the trust and freedom to make the choice themselves.

The key point here is that forcing people to be healthy won’t make them healthy. Removing just one option which is perceived to be worse than others will only encourage the take up of faux-healthy options which the hospital will never be able to remove entirely, while still leaving people ignorant of the health risks associated with certain foods and lifestyles.

As is always the way, prohibition is never the answer and will only leave people ignorant of the facts and how to look after themselves, ever more dependant on the state making decisions for them. Health through education and improved long term results should be the looked to over impulse banning and the instant gratification that accompanies it. 

Photograph: Getty Images

Billy Bambrough writes for Retail Banker International at VRL financial news.

Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
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Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.