HAS the Scottish Parliament become overly obsessed with banning, controlling and outlawing things?

There’s a Scottish Government consultation on restricting the promotion of food and drink which are high in fat, sugar or salt just now.

Some 20% of food and drink bought in Scotland is on a “price promotion”.

That includes offers like buy one get one free, multi-buys and lunch time meal deals that come with a “free” snack.

I fully understand the Scottish Government wants to improve people’s health and wellbeing, but do we really need a nanny state telling us what to have for lunch?

I think not.

By all means ensure better product transparency on the contents of food and drink, but the moment you start restricting freedom of choice on everyday living activities it’s a slippery slope.

Surely, we don’t need to spend £127 million of taxpayers’ money on Holyrood each year and almost £1 billion on Scottish Government operating costs to be hectored and lectured in day-to-day life?

The Hate Crime Act is another example of how we can make things much worse - not with the legislation per se - but with the dreadful, inaccurate and patronising messaging around it.

The First Minister claimed there was a “rising tide of hatred in Scotland”.

The statistics show that not to be true – hate crime was down on last year’s figures.

Yet, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, Police Scotland had around 8000 “hate crime” reports in the first week of the new act.

Out of that number, only 240 hate crimes and 30 non-crime hate incidents were recorded. Scotland became a laughingstock across the world.

We look set to award ourselves the title of the most hateful wee nation on the planet – of course that’s nonsense, but how did we manage to get this so wrong?

As noted, we’re spending around £1bn a year on people to come up with this stuff.

Last week, we had the burach over the wood burning stove “ban”.

In fact, from April 1, 2024, revised regulations mean that new homes built in Scotland won’t be able to have oil or gas boilers or wood burning stoves.

The rules don’t apply to existing homes.

The measure is part of the laudable objective to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045. In truth, this will likely have a zero-ripple effect on emissions.

The National House Building Council confirmed only 8158 new homes were completed in 2023 – down by 47% from the year before.

There are 2.7m dwellings in Scotland! Yet, we continue to ride the virtue signalling bus while imagining that important transformational things are happening.

They aren’t. We’re living in pothole Scotland.

This year’s affordable housing budget has been cut by £200m – so Scotland’s housing waiting lists will only get longer.

Instead of faffing about with virtue signalling and telling people what to eat for their lunch why don’t we focus on the crises and problems that we have in NHS Scotland, housing, education and our transport infrastructure?

Where is the heavy intellectual lifting to tackle the issues that adversely affect most Scots every single day?

Where are the new approaches, solutions and big ideas? Where are the incentives instead of bans and restrictions?