As ever, what is good for the anti-smokers is good for single issue campaigners of any hue. It is logically inconsistent to remove tobacco from view while leaving other products - such as 'junk food' and alcohol - that cannot be advertised to children to remain on display.
This has not gone unnoticed by a fake charity called Sustain which is making moves in the direction of a sweetie display ban.
Our survey of 48 branches of fourteen national supermarkets and high street chains found that food was regularly displayed at the checkouts and in the queuing areas, and the vast majority of food promoted was unhealthy.
In many cases, the food was positioned to attract the attention of children – and was often within their reach – much to the annoyance of parents we asked.
One such wretched parent is quoted by the BBC:
Amanda Flint, a mother of four and supporter of the campaign, said: "Shopping with my kids is hard enough as it is. So to be subjected to rows of sweets and chocolates at the checkout is maddening. I want it to be easier to choose healthy options for my family."
You can surely guess where this is heading...
The history of campaigning on this issue suggests that retailers are unable or unwilling to stop voluntarily promoting junk food in their stores in this way. The Children’s Food Campaign is therefore calling for robust Government action to help parents and bring an end to this type of marketing of junk food to children.
Specifically, these state-funded activists want to see...
The Advertising Standards Authority should extend its remit to include in-store positioning of products and all point-of-sale marketing.
We call on the government to make removing unhealthy products from checkouts an integral part of its Responsibility Deal.
It would be interesting to see what the ASA has to say about this. If the "positioning" of products is classed as advertising, it will give the government the power to dictate the layout of all shops—for the sake of the chiiildren, of course. And since the government has stupidly set the ball rolling by banning the advertising of so-called junk food to children, the only logical conclusion can be a ban on shops displaying sweets anywhere a child might see them—ie. everywhere—ultimately followed by plain packaging.
It is not the advertising of these products that the food faddists at Sustain find intolerable, but the products themselves. For them, a display ban at the point-of-sale would be step forward, but "the next logical step" would inevitably follow. And, in fairness to them, it is a perfectly logical and consistent progression now that the idiot politicians have decided that (a) children shouldn't see "unhealthy" food, and (b) it is appropriate for the state to intervene.
Let's get a few things straight before we continue down this slippery slope. Firstly, there is nothing—absolutely nothing—wrong with kids eating, letting alone seeing, sweets.
Secondly, there is no such thing as junk food. There may be junk diets, but food either has nutritional value or it does not. Sugar and salt are not only harmless, they are essential.
Thirdly, children generally don't buy their own food and if they have the sort of pathetic parents who buckle to "pester power", they are going to have bigger problems in life than being bought a bag of wine gums.
Fourthly, if you are the sort of parent who (as Sustain claim) finds the sight of sweets at the check-out annoying, may I suggest you fill in one of those comment forms the supermarkets so helpfully provide and do your shopping in a place that is more to your liking, preferably in a different hemisphere.
Fifthly, and most importantly, it is no business of the government how many sweets people eat or where a shopkeeper chooses to display them.
That is all.