Now they're designing a tax system to cure a problem that doesn't exist

One of the criticisms of the banking system post-crash was that it was too homogenous. So many people - males mostly - all from the same sorts of backgrounds, believing the same sorts of things led to significant groupthink and thus an inability to recognise reality outside the window.

Harriet Harman’s famous statement that if it had been Lehman Sisters then all would have been different. She’s got a point too even if not the one she thinks. All female organisations are, as with women generally, less risk loving than male and men. But mixed gender organisations and groupings are more risk loving than either single sex one.

But Robert Shiller’s share of the Nobel, the story of Galton’s Ox, that Wisdom of the Crowds - all underlying the same point, that everyone’s views must be taken into account, not just the ingroup. For such ingroups are all too prone to that groupthink and thus error, that not looking out the window at reality.

At which point we get the Chief Medical Officer trying to design a tax system to reduce childhood obesity:

The Chief medical officer is considering a tax on all unhealthy foods in a bid to reduce the levels of childhood obesity and persuade parents to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.

A review by Prof Dame Sally Davies will examine these ideas as well as further measures in order to halve the levels of childhood obesity by 2030 after more than 20,000 of primary school children were classed as obsese when they left primary school last year.

One problem with this being that there simply isn’t an epidemic of childhood obesity that needs to be reduced.

And yet, one in ten kids are classified as obese when they start primary school and one in five are 'obese' by the time they start secondary school. According to the latest figures, 23 per cent of 11-15 year olds are obese. And that’s before we add those who are merely overweight.

These are shocking statistics and we are reminded about them at every opportunity. Organisations like Public Health England repeat the claim that ‘more than a third of children [are] leaving primary school overweight or obese’ like a mantra whenever they have a new anti-obesity wheeze to push. So where are they all?

You can’t see them because most of them do not exist. They are a statistical invention. The childhood obesity figures in Britain are simply not worth the paper they are printed on. The childhood obesity rate is much lower than 23 per cent.

The public health authorities are in the grip of that groupthink. They’re simply not looking out the window at reality. Which is why the’re trying to cook up a taxation system to solve a problem that simply doesn’t exist.