Following months of debate, Britain has recently introduced a sugar tax on soft drinks. And while medical experts and Jamie Oliver alike have weighed in in favor of the tax, we've yet to hear what the world's foremost sugar experts—kids—have had to say on the subject.
Well, it turns out today's kids are too health-conscious to dive headfirst into a pillowcase full of Halloween candy like back in the good old days when kids were kids. On a recent episode of CBBC's All Over the Workplace, veteran BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil said that when he was a child, a rule prohibiting something made him want to do that thing even more. Ten-year-old Charlotte from Wirral then hit him back with a sick burn, telling him, "Well, maybe you weren't educated properly enough about health and wellbeing."
"Well, many people have said that," Neil admits.
Neil, the former editor of the Sunday Times, was hosting the show on CBBC, the BBC's children's channel, to discuss the recently passed sugar tax with Charlotte and Henrietta, also 10, from Worcester. Neil implied that the sugar tax was an example of overreaching government, and Charlotte and Henrietta weren't having it. Both girls took it straight to Neil, hitting him with detailed statistics about the sugar tax and other government policies that might seem invasive but are to the benefit of society at large.
"You know what I mean by the nanny state?" Neil asks. "The government telling you what to do?"
The two girls, experts on nannies, nod.
"Is this just another example of the government telling you what to do?"
"Mr. Neil, do you remember on January 31st, 1983 when seat belts were made compulsory?" Charlotte is quick to respond, evoking a date 23 years before her birth and using a word reserved for the SATs here in the United States. "It wasn't a popular idea, people didn't like it," she says as she emphatically punches her finger to her notes, "but do you know how many lives it saved per year?"
"I think you're going to tell me," Neil says.
"Yes. Three-hundred lives per year because the government did something."
Henrietta has similar thoughts concerning the sugar tax, which will tax the most sugary drinks at 24 pence per liter.
"If it's saving lives and it's helping the NHS (National Health Service), I think we should be told what to do," Henrietta says.
Neil, turning a bit red, is forced to concede the field to his two opponents.
The soda tax has proven controversial. Aside from nanny state concerns, it is a money-loser. The tax is expected to cost £1 billion to implement, twice the amount the tax is expected to raise.
Given the circumstances, soda makers are considering suing the government. If they do, they better hope that the government doesn't call Charlotte and Henrietta to the stand.