I used to think Dame Sally Davies’ views were merely a function of her role as the Chief Medical Officer. She has dubbed herself the nation’s “chief nanny”, and called for a slew of new taxes on chocolate, crisps and other unhealthy foods. She denounced a voluntary agreement by the food industry to cut the sugar content of certain products, and has been a leading voice in the chorus demanding restrictions and compulsion as the only way to slim waistlines.
Most medics I know, particularly the younger ones, love nothing better than telling me how disastrously wrong I’m leading my life. So in expounding such patronising opinions, I wanted to believe, Dame Sally wasn’t representative of any particular ideology that had come to dominate public life. Any Chief Medical Officer would have said the same.
Now I wonder whether I was wrong, because Dame Sally has just been appointed the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. She joins a host of soft-Left political, cultural, and media figures at the helm of Oxbridge colleges. One is a former editor of The Guardian, another of The Observer.
There is a human rights barrister, a Lib Dem peer, and a former head of the National Trust criticised for overseeing a Leftward shift at that body. Yes, among them are a fine smattering of academics (Dame Sally has herself had a distinguished medical career), and a former Archbishop of Canterbury. But there is also, by my count, one former Labour press officer, two former Labour peers, a former Labour adviser, and at least four former BBC executives.