Maybe it’s the Greta Thunberg effect. If a 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist focused on the risks posed by climate change can tell the General Assembly of the United Nations what it should be doing, why should Portsmouth City Council policy not be steered by schoolchildren?
Members of the city’s health and wellbeing board have approved the trial of an obesity-tackling superzone around Arundel Court Primary Academy in Landport – based on ideas from the pupils themselves.
It means now new hot food takeaways will notbe able to open within a 400m radius of the school.
Fair enough, but now the council wants to take things further by encouraging existing takeaways in the area, including McDonald’s and KFC, to serve smaller portions in its war on obesity.
Seriously? And if these global brands deign to listen to what the city councillors have to say, will they consequently drop their prices for these smaller portions?
Surely if customers were sensible enough to want smaller portions they would ask for them, or leave what was left from their supersized dollops once they were full?
Councillors watched a Powerpoint presentation from the children at Arundel Court, and health and wellbeing boss, Cllr Matthew Winnington enthused: ‘It really was from the mouths of babes.’ Quite.
Presumably the children who taught that lesson were not those most at risk of obesity.
An extension of the nanny state is surely not the answer to this problem.
And if school pupils are now setting council policy, why do we need councillors?
Everybody knows eating too much and not exercising enough might make you fat.
A child could tell you that.