“I’m a travel writer, but I’m not going to fly any more.” Michael Kerr, the Telegraph’s travel writer has just announced that he is joining the climate-change warriors and will no longer go anywhere that cannot be reached by rail or sea (or foot?). He deeply regrets his past carbon footprint. Of course, he has already been to places that most people can only dream about (or read about) so perhaps there is an element of boredom in his decision. However, he is trying to save the world and we must admire him.
But there is a matter of principle here. Can we now expect the Telegraph’s Food & Drink correspondents to stop writing their articles for fear of encouraging the obesity epidemic, of creating even more alcoholics?
Currently 29% of the UK’s adult population is obese or overweight. The cause of obesity is easy to understand, eating too much and working too little. But obesity is not always due to a lack of willpower. Lifestyle-related problems such as the “obesogenic environment” encourage people to eat unhealthy foods, and more than they need. Causes of modern-day obesity include dependence on cars, desk jobs, playing computer games, watching television. And the biggest problem, eating high-calorie food sold by aggressive marketing techniques that motivate you to buy more. Do we really want assist the marketeers with pages of articles pushing yet more high-calorie culinary delights?
In England in last year, there were around 1.2 million hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption; that’s over 7% of all hospital admissions. There are close to 10,000 alcohol-related deaths each year.
And while we are looking at the ‘dry’ statistics for last year, in the UK, victims in 39% of violent incidents and 24% of robberies believed the offender to be under the influence of alcohol. In 35% of sexual assault cases the offender was under the influence of alcohol. And 12% of theft offences, 20% of criminal damage and 21% of hate crimes involved alcohol.
There are currently some half-a-million dependent drinkers in England alone, many more in Scotland an Wales. Even more worrying is the fact that nearly 25% of 15 year olds reported having been drunk in the last four weeks.
Do these alcoholics and potential alcoholics really need to read glowing reports of the latest wine or advice on a really strong cocktail in the Food & Drink columns?
And how about the Telegraph’s Defence and Security correspondent, Dominic Nicholls? Many of his articles seem to be more about war than defence. Do we really want to bring up a generation of children waiting impatiently until they are old enough to “Join the Army and travel around the world, meet interesting people and kill them”? Yes, he should definitely fold up his flack jacket, boldly marked Press, hang up his helmet and retire to the country.
It seems that we would be much better off if the Telegraph were to close its doors and quietly go away. Any news you need to know you will be able to get from my Blogs!