How totalitarian do we want to be in the war on obesity?

We, of course, do not think there should be a war on the outcomes of freely made choices. If it is true that we prefer more food and less exercise to a long life than that’s the emergent outcome from our liberty and that’s the end of that.

There are those, obviously enough, who disagree. They then using that rhetoric of a war, an existential struggle, because that is the manner in which it is possible to restrain liberty in order to gain some desired goal. The thing is, how totalitarian do we want to allow them to be about this?

Restaurants and takeaways could be forced to reduce portion sizes, abolish children's menus and change unhealthy recipes, under official proposals aimed at tackling Scotland's obesity crisis.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS), the government agency governing food standards and nutrition, argued urgent action was required to make meals purchased outside the home less fattening.

It unveiled a public consultation on proposals to create a calorie limit on the dishes offered, alter recipes to include more fruit and vegetables and "redesign" menus to exclude the fattiest foods.

"Small or half portions" should be offered to diners, it said, and a cap imposed on the "energy density" of meals…

To argue that restaurants should do this is just fine. Argue for anything you like. To use the power of the state to force? Seriously? Only x number of chips allowed on a plate by government dictat? They can go boil their heads, can’t they? For that is that step too far into totalitarianism.

We would remind of one little thing. 1939 to 1945 saw Britain at its most vulnerable, engaged in total war against a truly vicious enemy. Certainly, there was food rationing. And what was never rationed? The takeaway food of the day, fish and chips. If we could beat the Nazis without allowing the government to do that then other wars such as that upon obesity, being the mere bagatelles that they are in comparison, can be fought without it too.