Page last updated at 07:32 GMT, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Scrubbing up: Your comments

In this week's Scrubbing Up, public health expert Dr Alan Maryon Davis says we need more nannying, not less.

He argues there's plenty of evidence that people want to see the government doing more to help us avoid big killers like heart disease, stroke and cancer.

What do you think? Here are some of the comments you have been sending to this week's Scrubbing Up.


Information is good and food labelling should be as informative as possible, but let's not encourage our government to pass even more laws against personal freedoms - they're far too keen on it already. I don't want to be arrested in ten years time because I drank more than the state-approved amount of coffee.
Marie, Sutton

No, It's a massive and intrusive waste of money. These campaigns should be dumped, along with those threatening the public if they claim the wrong benefits or don't pay their road tax. Adverts that effectively say "Don't break the law" and "Don't harm your health" are stupid, patronising and downright threatening. I notice the tories are committed to slashing the advertising budget, so their days are numbered.
Andy Edmonds, Milton Keynes

Dr Alan Maryon-Davis appears to be one of those that forces these things down our throats, virtually at gunpoint, and then says "thank you for your understanding and patience". The "consenting public" he mentions are really the vocal minority who feel they have a responsibility to force their views upon everyone possible. We now live in an unwelcome nanny state, and no amount of forcing it upon us with calm reassuring words will make it otherwise.
Ian, Gloucester

Utterly ridiculous. What the public wants to see is stronger policing and penalties for those who drink irresponsibly. Those of us who can handle our drink and do so without resorting to violence or anti social behaviour, overwhelmingly are not interested in seeing prices go up as a punishment. By all means educate, anything more than that is unjustifiable and a sign of the 'nanny state'.
Alex C, Portsmouth, UK

Only an 'expert' who's got rich off the taxpayer's teat could write such a self-congratulatory, self-aggrandizing puff for himself and his fellow bureacrats. Only the BBC, a self-appointed quango paid for by a compulsory tax would print it as 'serious news'.
Alex Clarke, Brora, Highlands

I think the Government has the duty to legislate against, on our behalf, what is known to science to be harmful. The guiding rule for the legislators or the public in general should be whatever is harmful to our health, honour or wealth should be forbidden.
Hilal bin Ali, Muscat, Oman

No we do not. We fought for freedom in this country. I, for one, do not wish to grow much older only to live in a dependant situation. It is not much fun being old. Why cant we just live our lives and the government get on with what we pay them for. Get on and and sort out the financial situation instead of telling me how to live and grow old.
Bagel, Horsham

Government agencies tell us X is bad for us one day and at a later date tell us how good it is for us. If they were made to apologise every time they got it wrong or changed their minds they might think twice jumping aboard every passing bandwagon.
B J Nicholson, Manchester

Of course we should ban anything that is bad for someone, most people are far too stupid to make their own decisions so we should ban bad things such as smoking, fatty food, fluoride and disagreeing with the government. As people will simply vote out a government who is passing all these laws and that is bad for the health maybe we should completely remove all elections and do away with democracy, as it seems to be bad for your health.
Alan Parrish, Doncaster

To translate: "We need more government health advice", says man who makes his money from providing government health advice. "Government acting on behalf of a consenting public"? This member of the public does NOT consent. Who asked me? I certainly didn't vote for this bunch, and I definitely didn't vote for Dr Alan Maryon Davis, either. *sigh* Roll on the day when I can get out of this stupid, micromanaged country run by idiots who think that, because THEY don't like something, none of us should either.
John Yeates, Arundel

NO! I have a right to make my own mind up what I want to do in my life and I don't need a government I didn't vote for and let alone a PM who is not even an elected PM telling me what to do. Who the hell do they think they are?

Having read the number of ban that Dr Alan Maryon Davis, wants to bring in, I worry! Who was it who said 'The road to Hell is paved with good intentions?' Why can we not be left alone to decide ourselves, on these issues? 1984 indeed.
Bert, Wisbech

I'm afraid that the proposal to ban smoking in cars occupied by children represents an unwarranted intrusion into the privacy and autonomy of parenthood. The autonomy to make one's own decision about risks to subject a child to is not to be interfered with lightly. It should only be done in cases where there is a substantial threat of severe harm to the child. Interfering with parental autonomy in a case where there is only minor risk involved is unwarranted.
Thomas Laprade, Thunder Bay, Canada

Really, it is up to people themselves on how they look after their health. Sometimes, experts and doctors do everything they possibly can to help people with health problems, but a lot of the hard work is ignored. I do think their should be some guidance on how to live - because some people (not all) want to make a difference, and they need help.
Hattie, Herefordshire

If only we could have a real nanny state - one that would protect us from the chaos and devastation of our uncontrolled economic system, that is leading to a real reduction in the ation's physical and mental health! The more working hours increase, the more pay and working conditions deteriorate, the more people are forced by poverty to move away from healthy life choices, the more governments rush to impose laws that attack our few remaining individual liberties - which surely the point of a 'free market democracy' in the first place. It's as if governments need to try and persuade us that they really are necessary and doing something -anything. A bit like Dr. Maryon-Davies, really.
Silvia, Glasgow

Some of his comments are valid - a common labelling system for food, for example, would be useful. However, I disagree with more nannying being required. The problem with over legislating is that people have now stopped taking responsibility for themselves and expect that the government will tell them what to do. What is right and what is wrong. That situation is not right - people should be allowed to make an informed choice, of course and I agree with steps that allow that to happen but ultimately people need to take responsibility for themselves and not rely on a faceless lawmaker to tell them. We need a culture change not more legislation.
Stephen Nicol, Newmains, Scotland

I would like to see more emphasis given to the quality of life while living rather than the length of life if the choice was eat and drink and do what you like and live to an average age of 60 or live to your 80 with dementia? getting treated for cancer and there is no choice.
Richard Harvey, Brighton

Don't confuse the nanny state with responsible advise such as - Food labelling to tell us if an item is high, medium or low in fat, sugar and salt. Seat-belts, crash helmets and drink-driving Bans on tobacco advertising and the selling of alcohol and tobacco to minors. This is aimed at protecting others from our mistakes or gives us choice. The Nanny State is banning risk taking and must not be their remit. Using legislation so we can blame 'someone else' for even minor injuries is already excessive. Playgrounds are being closed, banning conkers unless safety goggles are worn, warnings are issued by every authority for every and any conceivable Act of God in case I have an accident over something that they can't prevent such as snow or flooding, not out of care for my welfare, but for fear of being blamed if they don't tell me about it. I know that I might skid in the snow and ice just as I know I might on mud and gravel or driving in the rain and I know my plane might crash or my train derail because some pillock has placed a concrete post across the track. I take risks just going out the front door(and sometimes even in doors) I don't need to be told that climbing a ladder can be dangerous (or even if it is the right sort of ladder -cf that compensation advert re this) Give us the information to make our own choices Don't imprison or fine us if our choice isn't yours
Norman, Lechlade, Glos

I disagree Dr Alan Maryon-Davis that its our choice as to what is made law the views of many of the general population have no say. I regularly sign petitions and write letters to my MP and little seems to happen. Short of trying to become an MP my views have little sway. We are becoming a nanny state with no choices.
Paul Taylor, Sheffield

You have got to be kidding. With people like this in positions of influence in this society it is no wonder that we can't escape over-protection and nannying. Someone should point out to the deluded guy that the more you micro-manage, the more you convince people that they don't need to take responsibility, which means in turn they need more management and so on. Not only that, but there is no distinction made between those of us who are perfectly capable of making our own 'other-regarding/self-regarding' judgements and those in the minority who need help with it. And who judges the fact this is a consenting public? Never, ever, confuse consent with apathy. One is to be acted upon, the other addressed. God I need a cigarette and a stiff drink...
James Pitman, London

We accept the laws on seat-belts, crash helmets and drink-driving , not because of safety but because we know we'll get a big fine for not doing as we are told, The recent banning of smoking in pubs is a perfect example, people go to pubs for a beer, a smoke, the chat but now it is considered dangerous therefore fineable.. Making life 'safer' appears to achieve little as the population will just find some other way of excitement so really it is money wasted. Maybe Dr 'nanny' Alan Maryon-Davis should instead be investigating why people want to do dangerous pursuits but I suspect he is really trying to justify his own position. To quote the 'Onion' despite all this money spent and time taken the death rate is still 100%.
Steve, Wolverhampton

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