May 12, 2006 10:15AM

Scotland Ups the Nanny Ante

By my measure, the United States trails the United Kingdom by about three to five years when it comes to aggressively paternalistic public policy. Get ready for this one:

First the Scottish Executive wanted people followed home if they breached the smoking ban.

Now there are fears its health crusade could spell the end of traditional pie and chips in Scots pubs.

In two years time, bar and pub owners will be asked to provide 'sensible eating' policies as a condition of their licences.


Glasgow MSP Bill Aitken complained: "Scotland will soon be a place where what's not compulsory is forbidden.

"The Executive should butt out of people's lives. It's still—only just—a matter for individuals what they choose to eat."

And Paul Waterson, head of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said: "There's potential for extreme interference and major problems."

I'll say. 

Such ideas aren't unprecedented here in the United States, of course. A few months ago, a physician wrote an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune calling on the Surgeon General to set national portion size standards for restaurants—and to enforce them.