It is getting to him - and so soon too. That is to say Alan Johnson is already suffering from his role as Secretary for Health as it makes him come out with bizarre policy suggestions. The latest one sounds as though it should have come straight from David "Dave" Cameron's mouth. I am, of course, talking about the £120 fruit and veg allowance for pregnant women. The idea being, it will mean that pregnant women will have enough disposable cash to buy life's luxuries - or at least what Johnson thinks is a luxury - fruit and veg and therefore passing on the benefits to the unborn child. All at the bargain basement price for the taxpayer of £70m a year. Where do we start on this one?
Not where the tabloid pres have. They are taking the line that rich mothers don't need it because, naturally, they can afford fruit and veg anyway and lead such healthy, respectful lives as a result of their better upbringing and extraordinary wealth. Whereas it would be foolish to hand out to the council estate mums because they are plain irresponsible with their unborn babies and will waste it all on fags and booze - because that is what the working classes do. No, that line misses the point almost as much as Johnson does on this whole issue. The real problem lies in two key areas. Firstly this is well out of the remit of what a government is for - taking tax payers' money and then, indiscriminate of their circumstances, handing over to anyone who is pregnant on the assumptions that a) they need it b) they will take the government’s advice and c) the government's advice is worthy and correct. The complete flaw in the argument is that healthy food is cheaper than ready meals and chocolate bars anyway! Surely by giving more money to pregnant mums will only encourage those who like the ready meal option to buy more?! Tackling a problem by encouraging it seems very strange to me.