Amid a cost of living crisis and high inflation, and following pressure from front and back bench Conservatives, the government has dropped its plan to introduce a ban on "buy one get one free" deals on unhealthy food and drink. The government has also dropped its plan to introduce a 9pm watershed for junk food advertising.

It boggles the mind to wonder how much tax-payer money was spent on this on-again-off-again idea to regulate HFSS advertising so far, quite apart from how much unnecessary disruption, diverted resources and wasted costs this has caused on the part of brand owners, retailers, advertisers and advertiser-funded media owners.  This U turn is also being condemned by those who had invested considerable resources in pushing for the measures, which were at a very advanced stage of development. 

The rate at which regulations are being churned out by this government, and the rate at which U turns are made, are absolutely dizzying. So, will the PM eat a slice of humble pie over this latest steaming pudding? As attention shifts to another cabinet reshuffle, it seems unlikely.

For what it is worth, my take is: by all means let's have a discussion about the obesity crisis, but I hope lessons are learned by those who sought, yet again, to make advertisers and the advertising industry the fall guy (or whipping boy) for something that sounded like an easy political win, but which most of us knew from the outset was destined to be a sticky mess.

Businesses and individuals have enough on their plates at the moment without a side order of nonsense.

Some will start to worry that we are about to embark on the same wasteful and wasted journey when it comes to gambling advertising reforms... based on the government's recent form, I wouldn't bet against it!