Our False Saviours of “Public Health” and Their Consequences | Frederick

The BBC has recently published an article drawing light to the upswing there has been in food and catering home-enterprises in Britain in light of the lockdowns and what they have obliged people to do to maintain a source of income with their catering skills in their local vicinity.

BBC Business reporter Dougal Shaw reports :

“Some people are starting food businesses from their home because they have lost work and need to generate income – including professional chefs who have been hit by the closure of restaurants. Others are on furlough and have time to set up ‘side hustles’. Takeaway eating and the idea of cooking for neighbours in need has also become more common in lockdown. As well as social media platforms, websites such as Olio and Cook My Grub also now allow this new army of at-home food entrepreneurs to find customers, selling everything from cakes to Sunday roasts.”

In my view, any sensible and ordinary person – particularly one of a politically and socially conservative disposition – should be greatly inspired and heartened by these stories. Ordinary people using the skills they possess to be so innovative in finding new ways to earn a living – in these difficult times that have been so suddenly enforced upon them – and similarly helping to cultivate new localised community spirit and activity in sharing and trading food.

On top of that, it seems – according to ONS data – that the rate of creation of new enterprises has actually exceeded the rate in the previous year despite the great increase in state restrictions on economic activity there has been in 2020. What is there genuinely not to like about any of these events? Sadly, what there is not to like is the disapproving attitudes of the ‘Public Health’ experts. Too many of the stupid plebs have been a bit naughty by contradicting the heavenly wisdom of public health about how to safely prepare and distribute food.

The BBC report explains that the non-ministerial government department Food Standards Agency has found ‘at-home food selling concerning’ and how the ‘rise in food businesses operating out of people’s homes during lockdown’ are ‘putting further pressure on a hygiene inspection system that is under strain because of the crisis’.

The ‘experts’ are ‘worried’ and – as we all know full well – Hell hath no fury like an expert civil servant scorned.

Julie Barratt from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health proclaims that “Little food businesses are popping up like mushrooms in lockdown” and how “There are rank outsiders operating off the radar, who think, ‘Oh, my mum can cook’, and confuse cooking with catering”.

These comments here are most telling about the malice, elitism and snobbery of these public health authorities. There is obviously a large degree of ambiguity and grey areas between mere home cooking which is then shared and traded outside of the home and an established catering enterprise that is subject to taxes and official safety regulations. And the public health authorities are very much out to exploit this ambiguity and push the threshold of what constitutes an official taxable enterprise as close to your front door as possible.

This is all in a similar way to how traditional Marxists would have a high degree of sensitivity to when a person’s “personal property” (which is acceptable) might be used by them in such a way for economic activity that it may be considered ‘private property’ or a form of capital to make profit from (which is very much not acceptable?’

But don’t the regulations have a purpose in their existence? Of course, checks and balances in safety catering enterprises are important, and these checks and balances would be more important for when a catering enterprise operates over longer physical distances between customer and seller. But the central public health authorities would rather have absolutely no scope for debate as to what is the most efficient and favourable method of checks and balances in food safety. Mostly because they are a bit fearful that their high-paying jobs could be possibly decreed as not useful enough to exist!

I challenge anyone to genuinely contradict the idea that if no or minimal legal restrictions on food safety existed, there would exist absolutely no incentive whatsoever for catering enterprises to produce food that was of good quality and safe for consumption. If you have unhappy customers (for whatever reason) they will not come back and they will advise their friends not to bring their custom to you. For a business – particularly those in the catering industry – that relies heavily on local custom, with less scope for custom further afield that online retailers have – local reputation is particularly important. Some believe that no legal restrictions at all are needed. Whether they are right or not, it is impossible for us to know, as no scope for debate and trial and error on optimally effective food safety checks and balances is allowed. Maybe there are some who would be quite fearful of the revelations from the results!

If we are to just consider catering enterprises operating in localised vicinities, it is quite apparent that there would be an incentive that you do not produce and sell food to your neighbour (or anyone who lives within walking distance of your house) that is unsafe for consumption. Anybody who has ever hosted a self-catered garden party or dinner party for local friends would understand why this is. Usually it’s not nice, and hopefully avoidable, that anyone be given food poisoning from such an occasion. Certainly, this is the case if a good relationship with one’s neighbours is important. People who are of a good moral conscience would very much not want it on their conscience that they have given a neighbour food poisoning.

Few people these days see the problem with the deprioritisation of cultivation of a good moral consciousness in the individual’s conscience and instead allow the outsourcing of moral responsibility – in matters of food safety especially – to the state; to people who you likely will never meet in person in your life, who don’t even know well the area you live in and will likely never set foot there, but supposedly they will know more about how you should cook and serve food out of your own kitchen to local acquaintances than you know yourself.

The fact of the matter is that there should be the greatest ambiguity as possible when it comes to what constitutes mere home cooking project that is shared with local households and what constitutes an officially established locally-operating catering enterprise.  This is how small businesses develop in the most organic and sustainable way; out of something that one has just so happened to find an immediate need and demand for and they would like to offer their services in it.

But the fact of the matter is that such business regulations that are commonplace now are predominantly achieving nothing of any significant value further than raising barriers to entry in the market for smaller businesses that have fewer resources and less time to be able to deal with the safety regulations. This is something that is noticeably less detrimental to the progress of much larger businesses and corporations for which these regulations can be dealt with in the craftiest ways that money can buy. 

If the governing Conservative Party – or any nominally conservative government – wants to genuinely campion small businesses and cultivate localised economic activity that compliments a local community spirit – and by extension not be described as the party that represents the interests of the rich and powerful – they will do more to reject the elitist and snobbish consensus of these urbanite moral busybody ‘Public Health’ experts and start developing sound economic policy to spur effectual microeconomic activity, and the macroeconomic prosperity that is naturally downstream from that, which will help counteract the current recession in the most sustainable and sound way possible.

Are we to expect any effort on this from the official government opposition and the rest of the British left by extension? I think we can assume and speculate without much error that their attitudes on the matter would range from a more moderate takes on how state welfare policy is always infinitely more important than the cultivating of optimal conditions for the flourishing of small businesses in local communities to the more extreme takes that these small humble catering enterprises are of the petit bourgeoisie that are just as bad and oppressive as the proper bourgeoisie.

Hopefully one day, the overall concept of ‘public health’ can be considered laughable that we do away with as much as possible in the popular consensus of the purpose of the state. There is already much evidence of the particular new ludicrousness of ‘public health’ objectives that have flourished recently in the United States, when issues of “public health” are so easily conflated with race politics, and the UK is likely not to far off from that too. The full logical consequence of the concept of “public health” is to treat the entirety of a nation as a single organism that must be forcefully and legally purged of the undesirable pathogens that cause illness to it, and on that basis, we may as well be living in a nation more akin to a fascist state. Is that too harsh a condemnation? Well, you’ve heard yourself from Ms. Julie Barratt from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health that ‘little food businesses are popping up like mushrooms in lockdown’ as if these heterodox catering enterprises that are subverting official health standards are like a pestilent poisonous fungus, or certainly the food they produce would be as horridly unsafe to eat as an unidentified wild fungus! Further indications of physical disgust in her attitude by describing them as ‘rank outsiders.’ Make of it all what you will.

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