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By Graham Strachan

October 8, 2002

The problem with ‘post-modern’ society is there are too many people with nothing meaningful to do, building ‘careers’ around controlling the lives of others and generally making social nuisances of themselves. They justify their meddling by discovering social ‘problems’ and getting the media to magnify them out of all proportion.

The latest example in Queensland, Australia, concerns the ‘discovery’ that schoolchildren are in danger from their own lunchboxes. While millions of members of former generations ate lunch out of lunchboxes and lived to tell about it, it seems today’s mummy-chauffeured generation is at risk. A recent lunchbox survey (sic) at six Queensland schools revealed that 70 per cent of students came to school with an unhealthy lunch, according to ‘nutritionists’ from the Griffith University School of Health [The Courier Mail: Lunchboxes targeted in war on obesity, 07 October 2002].

The nutritionists want lunchboxes banned because they “may encourage youngsters to graze on snack foods.” How could a lunchbox encourage kids to graze on snack foods? According to nutritionist Shawn Somerset, “The lunchbox is a bad system, because it makes it difficult for parents to provide a healthy mix.” How could a lunchbox make it difficult for a parent to provide a healthy lunch? It seems that from the very fact that a lunchbox is a lunchbox, “It’s not surprising that the easiest food gets thrown in.”

Aha! But this is not a problem of bad parenting, or of working mums more concerned with the career than providing healthy lunches for their children. This is a lunchbox problem. The lunchbox is not only a menace in Australia. So bad is the situation in Tony Blair’s socialist paradise, that schools in Britain have begun confiscating unhealthy lunchbox items. One supposes there are people actually employed as ‘lunchbox inspectors’ with the power to ‘confiscate’. One can be sure Australia’s nutritionists would like to see similar measures adopted here, if only to bring Australia into line with growing international practice.

The nutritionists want to see Australia adopt a cafeteria system, whereby a government-funded full lunch is provided for each student. This will presumably overcome a particular problem with the lunchbox - revealed by an examination of lunchboxes at the start and end of the day - most healthy items such as fruit and vegetables were left untouched. Right. But why kids would eat with relish in a cafeteria, things they leave untouched in a lunchbox is left unexplained. It’s clear that logic is not part of the nutritionist course.

As usual, with every case of social meddling, there is the ‘growing social problem’. This time it’s ‘Australia’s growing obesity problem’. Always the scheme is justified by wildly optimistic estimates of huge cost saving somewhere else in the system. This scheme is no exception: “Obesity is expensive. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year in the health system treating diseases related to obesity.” As usual the problem is on the increase: “This is a problem now, and it’s going to be an even bigger problem in the future. The cost of putting decent meals through the school system has got to be cheaper in the long run.” Got to be, you see.

It seems a cafeteria system would also reduce the risk of another problem: according to a senior nutritionist at Nutrition Australia, there are concerns about bacterial infection when food is left to sit in a hot lunchbox. “In the Queensland climate, a chicken or meat sandwich kept at room temperature has a risk of bacterial growth.” One supposes that would apply to picnic hampers too. Is the next step to make picnic hampers illegal and force picnickers to go to cafeterias? Has nobody ever been poisoned in a cafeteria?

Lurking in the background to all this is something far more sinister than obesity: a thing called Agenda 21, adopted illegally by Australia at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, never debated in any parliament, and being implemented in Australia by stealth. One stage of that programme concerns the regulation of ‘Patterns of Human Consumption’ – controlling what people are allowed to eat. As in all United Nations social programmes, the targetting of women and children is emphasised. Expect more of this type of activity as funds flow into universities for projects of this nature. Absolutely nothing human beings do is to be left uncontrolled.

© 2002 Graham Strachan- All Rights Reserved

Graham Strachan is a lawyer, author and international speaker on globalization and world affairs who lives in Queensland, Australia. Buy his books at