Diabetes debate is a crucial one

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Whichever party you support I hope you will vote in next week’s important elections.

No sooner, however, will the electoral dust have settled, then the focus will shift to the General Election, now less than a year away.

I expect issues like the cost of living will dominate, but other important themes are emerging, such as government’s role in people’s lives.

I spoke in a recent parliamentary debate on Type 1 Diabetes and Young People. Around 35,000 people under the age of 19 are diabetic. Most diabetics, however, are Type Two – the condition related to weight and lifestyle.

The debate raises important questions about what the state could and should do. Could because there clearly remain problems to solve. Should because there can be a moral case for doing more even if it affects freedom of choice.

In the diabetes context it could mean big companies being forced to do more to reduce the amount of sugar in food and drink, or supermarkets stopping the sale of cheap alcohol.

It could also mean spending more on research into a cure and directing funding towards Type One research, rather than Type Two.

For the many people diagnosed as diabetic and for the many yet to be diagnosed this debate is crucially important, literally life changing.

But there’s a wider debate about how far government has a role to play. In doing so the differences between parties will become even clearer.