Militant vegans, why can’t I eat what I like without suffering your tyranny?

Sunday carvery at Rocco's. Photo: Simon Finlay

Sunday carvery at Rocco's. Photo: Simon Finlay - Credit: Archant © 2007

If I was handed real power, I'd soon succumb to my megalomaniac tendencies.

A 'pork lover' bus in Norwich sparked vegan protests. Photo: Jess Long

A 'pork lover' bus in Norwich sparked vegan protests. Photo: Jess Long - Credit: Jess Long

A number of things would result in hard labour or jail, including:

1 - Men wearing flip-flops

2 - Incorrect use of the apostrophe on shop signs

3 - Being Noel Edmonds

4 - Having blacked-out car windows

5 - Eating with your mouth open.

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Being the magnanimous Great Leader who loves his people, I wouldn't tell people what they can and cannot eat, though.

So why can't other people stop taking such an interest in what I put in my mouth?

Yes, vegans of a militant persuasion, I'm talking about you.

I couldn't give a barrel of monkeys that vegan shops and bars are growing like topsy, and I welcome the increased choice on menus - a far cry from the days when 'do you have gluten-free options?' drew the response 'glue? I'll have to ask the chef.'

But why does the luxury of choice have to become the tyranny of imposition?

WeWork announced earlier this month that it would no longer reimburse employees for meals that include red meat, pork or poultry. Self-righteousness is bearable, but righteousness imposed is disturbingly reminiscent of religious zeal.

And when the Pork Lovers' Tour bus parked at Norwich's Haymarket last weekend, there was a vegan protest. Oh, jog on.

Literally jogging on, not so long ago I saw a man at Parkrun with Vegan Runner on his vest.

What a bizarre thing to identify yourself with and to publicise. Maybe I should get a vest saying 'goat's cheese runner' or 'proper coffee runner'.

The people who behave like this would be the first to protest if their rights were violated. Do they not grasp the hypocrisy?

Why can't we be free to choose and not have to vocalise our choices and judge others on theirs?

It's as if there's a hierarchy of righteousness, with our position in society dependent on whether we eat correctly, have the 'right' views on politics and take reusable bags to Waitrose.

If you break the rules, you'll be tweeted to death. If you continue, you'll be ostracised at laughter yoga.

There are some things that are non-negotiable: if you were born and raised in Norfolk, you should support Norwich City; if you find cricket boring, it's because you do not have the capacity to understand complexity or nuance; cider is the drink of the devil; drinking decaffeinated coffee is a bit weird.

But being a vegan is negotiable. In fact, I don't have to negotiate at all - I'm not one, don't want to be one and never will.

I'm not opposed to vegans, nor even mildly offended by them. I am opposed to vegans who are opposed to me.

I don't want to be subjected to a growing army of vegans who think that their own choice isn't enough - everybody else should follow their lead.

The decision to force others to do what you do is an insidious form of control. Being civilised means autonomy to make your own choices.

We do, of course, have the luxury to choose, unlike billions of people across the world.

Many eat meat, milk and cheese because it is their most readily-available food. The protein, calcium, fat and other elements are essential to their strength.

Perhaps when they become more civilised and embrace humanity they will all be vegans?

I'll leave you with this.

On TV earlier this week I saw the founder of Veganuary (sounds a fun month, combining darkness and cold with the absence of beef stew or a decent Stilton) saying 'we need to move towards being civilised' and saying eating meat is as inhumane as the slave trade.

Get some perspective, please.