Monday, October 15, 2007

Nanny State or Au Pair State?

I signed a petition in my local health store the other day. Citizen democracy in action and all that. It is part of a protest by the Irish Association of Health Stores (IAHS) to stop the government removing our right to buy higher dosage vitamins and minerals - something we have been able to do as free citizens for many decades now.

The government's decision is a classic example of the 'nanny state' in action - one in which anonymous experts decide to 'save' us from our inability to fend for ourselves. And because 'nanny knows best', we don't really get to discuss the matter. Instead, the excuse is that we must do it in order to be 'compliant with EU regulations'. Democracy not in action and all that.

Worse, the government's action in removing our rights as consumers is (another) example of 'evidence-free' policy making. Check out the Department of Health & Children web site (or the CSO statistics on causes of death) for data on mortality and morbity relating to vitamin overdoses in Ireland - you won't find any.

And the scary thing? The 'experts' are probably wrong about the dangers of vitamins and minerals just as it now seems they have been wrong all along about the idea that fat is bad for you.

So let's have policy making for grown ups. Let's have an 'Au Pair' state in Ireland - one where we (the taxpayers) pay the au pair (the government) to help out when we need help, otherwise we can manage fine by ourselves thank you.

By the way: eDemocracy in action - you can fill out the IAHS petition online if you wish (nanny says it's okay ;-).

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