The Big Issue

You know, I had been tempted to do an article on obesity for ages, but had shied away up to now because i) my dear old mum had always told me that making fun of fat people makes them anorexic and ii) it was just far too easy to attack such big, plump, juicy, slow-moving targets.

Even when Martin Sayers at the Havana Club first mounted his Don Quixote-like crusade against the forces of blubber, I managed to restrain myself from sending pithy letters to the JEP and was planning to write this column about something else entirely right up until one of the lady protagonists, revelling in victory, made a comment to the effect that ?Soon there will be a law in place to stop this sort of thing happening?.

Oh no. No, no and no again. Not while I have anything to do with it, there won?t. You see, I ? like all right-minded people – am entirely in favour of comprehensive anti-discrimination law relating to sex, race and disability insofar as it relates to the equal treatment of others by i) employers and ii) the state.

What I am against is special treatment for those who have chosen to turn the body God gave them into an effigy of Buddha or anything which adds more ?rights? to the already pointlessly large mountain of entitlement heaped upon the undeserving. I?m not exactly a lightweight myself, but the sort of people I?m talking about here are those who can?t fit in to airline seats without the aid of a crowbar and a tub of grease or who have a volume equal to 4/3 ?r3.

Now, if you?re reading this in dismay and thinking ?but it?s so unfair ? I have a genetic condition/big bones/a psychological addiction to cake? you might be interested to hear that I have only ever met one person with a genuine genetic condition, big bones don?t exist outside of the Natural History Museum and cakes aren?t actually addictive (unless you use cocaine instead of icing, in which case I?m free for afternoon tea whenever you are).

In fact, if you can?t see your feet – and I?m assuming here you aren?t a slim person with abnormally small feet or large breasts (whether male or female) there is a simple test to see whether you are to blame for your condition ? all you have to do is go to the gym and do an hour?s solid exercise on a cross-trainer every day for a month while cutting back on your pie-related intake. If at the end of that month you?ve lost some weight then congratulations! You were just fat. Don?t thank me.

Anyway, as far as I know, the Havana club is private property and, like all clubs in Jersey, operates a policy whereby the right of admission is reserved. This means that Mr Sayers is entirely within his rights to knock back whoever he pleases for whatever reason takes his fancy. He might not like you wearing trainers, or have a prejudice against facial hair (on men and/or women). The fact that he appears to have operated this policy in a less than tactful manner, and in doing so incurred the wrath of what can accurately be described as a large section of the community, is by-the-by ? nobody, whether fat or thin, has the right to enter his nightclub unless they have the right sort of hat and a shiny badge that says ?Police?, ?Fire? or ?Pope?.

Perhaps the offended parties have never been to any of the popular clubs in London or New York where you are forced to wait in a queue while a person with a clipboard eyes you up and then, based entirely on what you look like, decides whether to let you in or not. It doesn?t matter if you?re a really funny person or you spend your days helping old ladies cross the road. If your name isn?t down and you don?t meet an entirely subjective set of aesthetic standards, you ain?t coming in.

This is particularly harsh if all of your friends are allowed inside while you?re left standing in the rain, making moaning noises like John Hurt in The Elephant Man while the cute couple behind you get called to the front of the queue. It is also a hundred times more arbitrary than anything that goes on in Jersey and significantly more soul-destroying as you may never know the reason for your rejection or be able to do anything about it. Should it be illegal? Am I campaigning for a new law forcing people to make special allowances for ugly lawyers? Of course not.

Likewise, if someone decides to restrict entry to their establishment based on a person?s colour or nationality then I?ll stand right beside you in calling them a twat, but would point out that organising a demonstration would achieve nothing bar giving them the oxygen of publicity for their unpleasant views. The joy of a free society is that people can always just go somewhere else and in the process hit the aforementioned twat right where it hurts ? in the pocket.

- A word from our sposor -

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