Tuesday, November 6, 2007


As GrasGuy will tell you from his days in DC (as an observant and poorly-paid underling), one of the great perks and attractions of being a lobbyist - aside from an enormous salary and access to the highest levels of power - is all the free food you have access to at events around the Capitol.

While most consist of the same, huge, uninspired smorgasbord of fatty meats, cheeses and pastas offered with a perfunctory salad to make you feel slightly less guilty about consuming a day's worth of calories in one sitting - knowing full well you'll be eating dinner when you get home anyway - occasionally you come across an event planned by someone with an interest in food and a big enough budget to have an actual restaurant cater it rather than the generic 'pick 5 items from each column per 20 guests' purveyor used by the guy from across the aisle.

These meals, while never quite four-star, are created with the sole intent of placating the guests' palates in such an absolute way that they lower all of their defenses and and let the lobbyist in for the kill to influence whatever bill they're after that week. Washington represents the epitome of this kind of lawmaking, attracting the most effective lobbyists the world has to offer and lawmakers ready to be entertained by them, but it's the same system seen in one form or another in every city in the free world. Unfortunately, in three of those cities in the United Kingdom you won't be seeing Foie Gras on any buffet tables - at least not in city hall.

In the past couple of weeks, the cities of Bolton and Norwich have joined Paul Blanchard's cronies in York by passing largely ceremonial laws banning Foie Gras from council chambers and events. The councils, of course, have no power to ban the sale of Foie Gras in city restaurants and shops, but hope to set an example for the ignorant townsfolk who continue to enjoy unfettered access to the delicacy - save the occasional protester outside their favorite eatery. Unfortunately the people who really suffer here are the poor lawmakers, lobbyists and political hangers-on who will be deprived of this dish so often served at political functions in these cities - we're sure. FoieBlog readers thinking about getting into politics will want to look elsewhere for employment, and those already working in these cities will have to steal away from their meetings early to head off to their local gourmet for a Foie Gras fix when necessary. This having an obvious adverse affect on the well-oiled and well-fed lawmaking processes in these cities eventually leading to the demise of United Kingdom as we know it.

All joking aside, the casual way these symbolic bills made their way through council remind us of Chicago's passge of the 'silliest law', and stand as yet another warning against apathy from Foie Gras lovers, chefs and purveyors on this issue.

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