Isn't it wonderful the way Shakespeare had so many things to say, 400 years ago, that are timely and relevant today.

Take this week's nonsensical news that lettuce eating, thin-as-a-worm do-gooders among our rulers have launched a vicious offensive against fat people.

Their plans, to be debated at New Labour's party conference in the autumn, will virtually criminalise fat people, denying them free health care on the NHS unless they lose weight.

Shakespeare got it right when he wrote Julius Caesar all those years ago. Caesar said: "Let me have men about me that are fat; Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o, nights; Yond, Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous."

Whitehall is filled with lean, hungry and ambitious mineral water drinkers who are most certainly dangerous. For it is such zealots who will support measures to force overweight people to slim, to give up smoking and drinking.

What these fitness bigots seem to want is some kind of contract to make people acknowledge their own responsibility for improving their health - making it possible for sanctions to be imposed on those who fail to improve their condition.

Is the world going mad, or what?

Around half the population of Britain is trying to lose weight, spending more than £10 billion a year in the process.

The money goes on diet books and the foods they recommend, health farms, slimming clubs, low calorie preparations, appetite suppressants, fitness gymnasiums, fat camps and all the rest of it. A massive industry.

Of course, I am one of the lucky ones. I am still as elegantly slim and fit as I always was and have no need to worry about the fat-police chasing me. At least, that is the clear image in my head. It is how I feel.

The mirror, sadly, has a different story to tell. I blame it on the generosity of my friends, the conviviality of my club and my natural love of good food and wine.

Not to mention the occasional whisky. All these are thoroughly reprehensible in the eyes of the fitness fascists.

But the control freak tendency in Whitehall is an unstoppable juggernaut. So who will be the next targets after the fatties?

Who will be deemed to be putting unacceptable pressure on what they are describing as the finite resources of the NHS by having unacceptable lifestyles? What about motor cyclists, horse riders, skiers, scaffolders ... ?

These lean and hungry people should remember we already have a contract with the NHS. Through our votes and our taxes we are entitled to an efficient health service that takes care of our needs.

What we have is an over managed and under efficient service that does no such thing. It is an out of control bureaucracy that should be slimmed down, not its patients.

Shakespeare was so right. These people really are dangerous.