IF YOU’RE in need of a good laugh – and let’s face it, who isn’t, may I suggest the following? Search on Twitter for the feeds showing Scotland’s reaction to Jamie Oliver’s recent proposal that the nation’s obesity woes could be tackled by cancelling two-for-one pizza deals.

They were hacked off, to put it mildly. And while the insults were some of the funniest things I’ve ever read – hell hath no fury like a Scot being lectured by an irritating Englishman – and most too rude for publication, the thrust of Scotland’s ire appeared to be simple.

That a bloke allegedly worth £240 million, who’s made a few quid flogging food which includes pizzas, saw nothing ironic, patronising or downright stupid in his call.

Leaving aside the fact that pizza deals are often the only way a hard-pressed family can afford to treat itself – because poor families don’t have the cash to find out the hard way that little Johnny won’t eat cavolo nero and polenta pies – it was the sheer naivety of it all.

The idea that banning cheap pizza deals would stop the junior population looking as if it’s been inflated with a bicycle pump was never going to be a goer. But it certainly grabbed Oliver the all-important headlines, didn’t it? While allowing him to signal his virtue on this matter, yet again.

With his mockney cockney accent, north London values and apparent obsession with making money, Oliver has become the poster boy for this kind of policy initiative. The kind of idea where the rich and privileged collectively decide that something they don’t approve of is ‘bad’ for other people and so they will either ban it or tax it.

Like sugar.

Do the people who make our laws and fawn over Jamie Oliver not realise that when people like me reach for the chocolate buttons or grab a Toblerone, we actually do KNOW it’s packed with sugar? It’s supposed to be. That’s why it tastes so nice.

Ditto Coke. What’s the point of Diet Coke? With sugar replaced by artificial sweetener it tastes to me like the kind of stuff that used to swill round the floor-pan of my ancient Mini when I’d been through a particularly nasty puddle.

Doesn’t the government realise that it’s not the sugar in places where it’s meant to be that’s contributing to the obesity problem but the sugar lurking everywhere else?

I know all about Coca-Cola and Sprite and choccie éclairs. But I didn’t know until recently that tinned tomato soup, posh box soup, ketchup and yes, my beloved supermarket pizzas, were actually awash with the white stuff.

The reason some savoury food is packed with sugar and salt is because, without it, the food would probably taste like damp cardboard. But no one seems very interested in doing anything about the sneaky sugar – they’d rather feel good about themselves by taxing fizzy drinks.

Did you know that in the two weeks following the introduction of the fizzy pop sugar levy, sales of soft drinks rose in value by £5 million to £167 million per week? What that means is that the government has raked in a further £5 million in taxes from all those who didn’t want to switch to ‘healthier’ options. If all that ends up anywhere near the NHS dentistry service, where it really should, then I am the Duchess of Sussex.

But our politicians never met a tax they didn’t like, did they?

A fantastic example of tax hypocrisy is the issue of habitat destruction. This is as vital an issue as climate change yet, as far as I can see, totally ignored because big developers want to keep concreting over fields, forests and recreation grounds. But when successive governments discovered they could fleece motorists and anyone who has to heat their home, which would be all of us, for ‘green’ taxes, they were like a rat up a drainpipe. Climate change, meanwhile, keeps on happening.

And so it is with obesity. You can’t turn on the TV or open your laptop without someone screeching that the fat kids will kill us all. They are a ‘ticking timebomb’; too fat to serve in the Army, they are going to destroy the NHS and eat all the furniture too, probably.

Quite frequently the people banging on about this are politicians, many of whom are the size of Wembley Stadium themselves. The example they are setting on their taxpayer subsidised bouef en croute and sticky toffee pudding is a disgrace. But they don’t care because they’ve shifted the focus onto kids.

It’s fair to point out that no one should be massively overweight. It doesn’t look great and it can make you feel horrible. Being massively overweight blights lives and relationships and it does cause chronic ill-health.

But instead of hectoring from people who, arguably and in part, got rich by encouraging people to flump on the sofa watching them cook; instead of lardy politicians pontificating to the less advantaged, why don’t we make it easier for people to lose weight, get fit and do the right thing?

Stop selling off school playing fields and make school sports fun. Make membership of sports centres free for all kids and the less well off. Order food manufacturers to stop pumping sugar and salt into foodstuffs in which they have no place. Instruct companies to reinstate the one-hour lunchbreak so people can get out for half an hour’s walk. Stop advertising sweet, sugary snacks and buckets of fried chicken when kids are watching the telly and, for an experiment, stop screening cooking programmes.

Why? It may not have anything to do with fat kids. But it seems like a bit of a coincidence that the more telly food shows we’ve had, the fatter this nation has become…