As we are being told on an almost nightly basis that the strains on the NHS and pensions are as a direct result of people living longer, the latest “expert” (we do love an expert) advice to scoff 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day in order to lead a healthier and longer life is perplexing.

It was not long ago that this same expert advice had concluded that 5 was the magic number. But the boffins have now put two and two together and concluded that eating twice as much of something that had already been scientifically proven as being good for us is, wait for it, going to be even better for our health. According to Dr Dagfinn Aune, “our findings are quite clear in that they…support five a day, but there are even further benefits for higher intakes”. Thanks Dr Aune, you’re a fucking geeeeeenyus.

This is hot on the heels of other absurdities made in the name of life preservation, including the quite preposterous directives that over roasted spuds and over toasted, well, toast are bad news. And we’re all au fait with the endless oscillations around red wine. Pass me the fucking bottle.

Unless you are a vegan, vegetarian, fruitarian or any other member of the nutritional occult, stuffing 10 portions (whatever they are) into your cake, sorry, aubergine hole (cake makes you fat and increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes) on a daily basis is a practical impossibility when 5 is already beyond the reach of most with a life and average means.

What’s next? That 20 portions will give us something approaching immortality? As an exercise in meaningful scientific endeavour, such research is evidentially banal. It is also irresponsible.

Society does not need people to be living longer off the back of such ill-conceived “advice”. The NHS, social care and pension funding are all on their knees because of ever increasing life expectancy. So wouldn’t society and how it is funded be much better off if this trend started to reverse and we all stopped coffin dodging? Call it a new Social Contract: live life with the freedom of self-determination and shuffle off before you run into negative life equity with the government.

So many aspects of our lives are influenced by the diktats and meddling of faceless scientists in the name of “government research”: how we eat, drink, smoke, exercise, sleep, shag are all driven by quotas as an expression of a 1984 dystopia. I don’t want to live my life by quotas. And I don’t want to be brainwashed by unsolicited advice that is aspiring me to live a longer life. Society does not need this meddlesome strain.

So please, Mr Expert, let me assume my prerogative of personal responsibility in peace and without fear or guilt. Let me eat my veggie free bistecca alla Fiorentina; let me wash it down with a nice Chianti, a caffeine spiked double espresso and a tar heavy rollie; let me marvel at my ever expanding waistline and eschew the gym; let me stay up late and shag until dawn. Let me shuffle off this mortal coil at a once traditional threescore years and ten (ok, another ten wouldn’t go amiss!) with regretless and dignified abandon.

Let me do the world a favour.


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