Basingstoke previously had a reputation as a sleepy commuter town, but all that had changed with the mysterious death of the local MP. For some reason strange things were going on. Apparently now it was going to be the location for the launch of a new political movement ….

“We want nutrition? When do we want it? Now!!! What type of nutrition do we want? Optimum! Optimum! Optimum! What’s the opposite of Optimum Nutrition – sub-optimum nutrition? What happens to be people who indulge in sub-optimum nutrition? They DIE! … ummm eventually”

In every generation The Almighty raises up men and women of great stature to provide leadership and bring about change. Anne Nick-Dote [pause here and say her name slowly in order not to miss the joke] regarded herself as such as an individual. She was a privately trained nutrition therapist with a DipNut from the Northern College of Naturopathic Nutrition Therapy. Returning to her home town she founded Basingstoke Nutritionists – the town’s first nutrition therapy practice! In short she was an agent of change a bit like the Nettlay Corporation Co-Enzyme supplements she sold in her practice for £20 a jar. (Actually, if you are interested there is currently 10% until … umm … all the supplements are sold.)

Now she had founded a new political party The Party of Optimum Nutrition – a party dedicated to well-being and holistic wholeness. Holistic wholeness was a phrase she often used with her clients and in her weekly column for the Basingstoke Bugle. No one had actually asked her to explain the concept of holistic wholeness which was just as well really.

Captain Bellodi and Sgt Sexton stood watching in the crowd at the party’s first rally in Basingstoke Stadium. With the warm up over Anne Nick-Dote addressed the shock troops of this new political revolution: “I have been slogging away here in Basingstoke for five years. But now the time has come to take the message to Westminster. Doctors don’t care and politicians don’t care because they have all been bribed by big pharmaceutical companies! We need to take the fight to them and show we mean business. Let me tell you about a client of mine. She was overweight and ate processed food most days. I told her to eat less, exercise more and take lots of supplements. She is now a new creation! Vote Optimum Nutrition and transform the world!”

Captain Bellodi was not impressed. It reminded him of the stories his grandfather had told him about Mussolini in the 1920s. His grandfather had been not impressed which is why he joined the partisans. He wondered now whether the cult of nutritionalism posed as great a danger to civilisation as fascism had seventy-five years ago.  He was brought back to reality by the voice of Sgt Sexton:  “It is all a load of nonsense.  The real danger is that people will see healthy eating as some kind of expensive endurance course and just give up on the whole thing. Five portions of fruit and veg, a bit of dairy, plenty of wholegrains and you can’t go far wrong, ehhh?”  “Let’s go sergeant. Perhaps we can arrange an interview with Anne Nick-Dote.”

As they drove off Sgt Sexton turned the radio on to Sunlight FM.

“Hallo lovely listeners. Welcome to nutrition hour on Sunlight FM. Today we have Paddy Whole-Food widely regarded by his many admirers as the world’s greatest nutritionist. And we have got our first caller, Jim, on line one …”

“Paddy … um … not sure if you have ever been asked this before, but what supplements do you use?”

“Ha, ha, ha Jim. I have been asked that queston once or twice before. I use my own specially formulated multi-vitamin, fish oil and memory pills. They are available from my website for the special price of £50 for a month’s supply – 10% discount if you join my supporters club.”

“Okay our next caller is DVnutrix from … err … Holford Watch.”

“Yeah, I would like to know if there is any evidence your pills actually work. Is there any peer-reviewed science available?”

“Sorry we appear to have lost that call. Now Paddy tell us about your latest plans we understand you are planning to visit Basingstoke.”

“Yes, one of my top nutrition therapists is standing for election there. I am going to offer my support. In fact I would urge everyone who believes in optimum nutrition to go to Basingstoke and her campaign.”

“Umm … Paddy … you may be the world greatest nutritionist, but I am afraid you don’t know much about election law. Broadcasters are not allowed to show bias to one candidate during election campaigns.  I am afriad I am going to have to fire you as Sunlight FM’s nutritionist. Good-bye.”

Captain Bellodi and Sergeant Sexton were not too impressed. They were just about to turn over to listen to Ben Goldacre on Radio 4 when Captain Bellodi’s mobile rang.

“What’s that Prime Minister.  Do we think he’s a threat to national security?  No, more of a threat to national sanity so it won’t be easy to lock him up for 42 days.  Anyway, we’re not interested in the politics just whether his claims are nonsense or not.  Good-bye.”

A rather sombre voice then came on to the radio. “We interrupt Sunlight FM’s Nutrition Hour for a newsflash. The Rt Rev Dr Roger Williams, the Bishop of Basingstoke was shot this afternoon just after leading Choral Evensong. He was rushed to the local A&E department, but died soon afterward when homeopathic doctor on duty admitted there was nothing she could do him.”

“My goodness,” gasped Sgt Sexton, “that’s incredible.”  “Yes, ” replied Captin Bellodi “quite astonishing really, a homeopathic doctor admitting to being incompetent.”  “No, I mean who would want to kill the Rev. Rog. I mean he was such a sweet old gent.  There is something very strange happening here ….”

To be continued ….



  1. LeeT Says:

    Is anyone out there reading and enjoying the adventures of Captain Bellodi and Sgt Sexton?

  2. jdc325 Says:

    If they aren’t then they should be! I mentioned it here – Teh Bad Science Forumz – last Friday actually. I look forward to reading part IV.

    I think my average number of blog comments for the first three or four months was pretty much zero, so don’t get too despondent about any perceived lack of enthusiasm from your readers – either they are a bit shy or they aren’t posting anything because they agree with you. [Well, that’s what I’ve always told myself when another post ends up comment-free!]

  3. leet01 Says:

    Thank you for the mention in The Bad Science Forum.

    Before I suffer the same fate as Raj Persaud I should mention my sources for “The Day of the Nutritionista”. The idea came from Leonardo Sciascia’s novel “Il Giorno della Civetta” (The Day of the Owl). The Wikipedia articles on Sciascia and “Il Giorno della Civetta” are unfortunately very short, but here they are anyway:

    The opening scene where the minister is pelted with fish oil capsules comes, of course, from the opening scene of Frederick Forsythe’s “The Day of the Jackal.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: