Public Health England has just treated us all to a lovely report – paid for by us of course – telling us how healthy or unhealthy High Streets are around the country. A comparison that Grimsby won by a country mile according to PHE. Lots of bookies, takeaway shops and few pharmacies.
Well, yes, we can consider that – the presence of pharmacies would indicate to the sensible that there’re sick people around but then that’s being logical, not a known attribute of the public health crowd these days. It’s also true that the report talks only of what’s on the High Street. Which can be a near random sprinkling of the shops that exist in the area. So it’s all pretty much nonsense anyway, not unusual for PHE’s output.
However, there’s a more important point to be made here:
However, places with high numbers of tanning salons, payday lenders, off-licences, and takeaways did not fare so well in the rankings.
And Grimbsy – you know, that place in the fish advert – has been named as the most unhealthy in the entire country, followed closely by Blackpool and Walsall. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.
So, according to the marking by PHE we’ve got Grimsby as the unhealthiest place in the country. We must therefore assume that they’re all dying young from those varied things which PHE tells us murder us in our beds. Too much takeaway food, too much salt, sugar, all these sorts of things. The things they’re measuring the presence of in Grimbsy to claim it’s the unhealthiest place in the country.
Ah, but, you see, it ain’t. Or rather, Grimbos aren’t:
Overall we are living longer. Life expectancy at birth across the UK as a whole improved from 76.5 to 77.9 years for men between 2003-05 and 2007-09. In the same period it went up from 80.9 to 82 for women.
And Grimbles are living to 81.2 for women and 75.9 for men. A bit below the national average, sure, but rather better than much of the ex-industrial north. And certainly well above the rates of the likes of that pit, Glasgow, of 78.9 and 73.1.
That is, PHE’s estimations of what makes a place unhealthy seem to have little to no correlation with where people are unhealthy. Which is a bit of a problem, isn’t it?
Well, yes it is, but it’s a different problem to the one you’re thinking of so far. Sure, obviously, Public Health England is full of it. But it’s worse than that. The scientists we employ to do science about public health aren’t in fact using the scientific method. They’re not bothering to check their fashionable prejudices against the real world evidence. They’ve just not bothered to even check that their definition of unhealthy is the same definition of unhealthy which isn’t making all Grimbonians deaded in their beds. But they’re still swallowing our tax money to not do the job. You know, that science about sciencey stuff?
Pah, sadly slavery is out of fashion these days so we can’t sell PHE into it but we could still raze the offices to the ground and force feed them that salt they hate so much.