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The Week That Was: Cash and Chicken Nuggets

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Everything in moderation, isn't that how the saying goes? If a week can be summarised by its headlines, this week it was everything in moderation except bonuses and fast-food.

The remuneration packages offered to Britain's fat cats are hardly a new topic of contention, but RBS chief executive Stephen Hester has become something of a poster child for the subject, making the announcement of his annual bonus a must-debate topic whichever side of the argument you fall and a juicy bone for our politicians to fight over.

The sum, a cool £963,000, was actually less than expected with analysts earlier in the month predicting a figure between £1.3 and £1.5 million (still substantially less than the £2million he received in 2010). No matter, it was near enough the million pound mark to flick the topic back to the front pages, not to mention the front benches.

Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne told Hester he had a public duty to return the payout, while Ed Miliband accused Cameron of 'nodding through' the sum without due consideration and even Boris Johnson stuck his oar in, saying the government needed to "step in and sort it out."

Not everyone was so scathing. RBS shareholder Paul Mumford, from Cavendish Asset Management, defended the figure in an interview with HuffPost UK Business Editor, Peter Guest, pointing out: "It is one of those industries where you do have to give high-powered rewards to get the right people along, and you're up against an international market as well."

Like it or not, would you be prepared to hand back your bonus simply to appease the British public? Or is it a case of do as we say, not as any of us would actually do?

If the recession has got us angry about banker's bonuses, it has also had the sad side effect of making an unhealthy country even more so, with 'expensive' fruit and veg being replaced in supermarket trolleys by sugar and fat-laden cheap eats.

If the government is struggling to control the decline in salaries and jobs, it reckons it can at least encourage us to eat more healthily, with a huge campaign kicked off this month aiming to prove to British families that it need not cost more to eat better food.

With Ainsley Harriott acting as a champion for the Change 4 Life campaign, creating a recipe book full of healthy meals that cost less than £5, and filming cookery tutorials for the Change 4 Life website, and supermarkets Asda, Co-op and Aldi discounting some of the ingredients for the recipes, just about everything's been thought of... apart from the uncooperative British public of course!

The story of 17-year-old Stacey Irvine, who collapsed this week with breathing problems due to a diet almost entirely consisting of McDonald's chicken nuggets, has made headlines around the world - none of which painted the UK in the best light.

The Birmingham teen told the Daily Mail that she hadn't eaten anything but chicken nuggets since tasting them for the first time when she was just two. The only variance to her diet? The odd slice of toast for breakfast, a packet of crisps, or some chips she'll share with her boyfriend when they visit McDonald's. Stacey is now recovering at home on an intensive course of vitamin and mineral injections, under strict instructions to change her diet or face a short life expectancy.

If Ainsley Harriot doesn't work out and the NHS is looking for a new face for its Change 4 Life plan, maybe it's time to give Stacey a call. If she can give up her beloved chicken nuggets for a healthier new diet and reap the rewards, that's a more real example of change than any celebrity chef.

Food for thought at least.

Around the Web

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