Common User

Me rambling on.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Packed Lunches, Kelly's Dinners and a conversation

My three boys all now have packed lunches at schools, packed by their mum I should add. (in Beano lunch boxes..Don't ask). This was after we both shamefully allowed them to eat at various times Dinosaur foot prints, unidentified 'meat" sausages and a turkey twizzler or two for what the eldest charmingly dubs; "hot dinners". Its now all vegetable samosas, fresh fruit and wholemeal bread round our way now. (they love pizzas, chips, crisps and sweets too so don't think I'm Jools Oliver or something.)

So now a full 12 months after Mr Oliver first met the, then Education Secretary, Charlie Clarke and told him off, Ruth Kelly is finally pledging to end "the scandal" of the turkey twizzler. The key here is "pledging". She hasn't actually banned anything yet, despite the excitements of the papers. In theGuardian today in a sidebar (can't find it online) is this quote from Jeanette Orrey; (School meals policy advisor to the Soil Association)

"Overnight change doesn't work. You introduce something, you ask the kids, "Do you like it ? You have got to have a conversation. You have got to get the kids into your way of thinking, but also engage with them, explain to them why you are doing it. Its no good saying to a child. "There's a dinner"; and thats it."

Well blessed are the changemakers. Will Davies is particularly good on this type of neophile tendency of new Labour on Potlatch and how its a "It's a bizarre and politically skewed ontology, shared by management consultants, marketers and physicists, but by few others. " Jeanette (read her greatly book; The Dinner Lady) articulates perfectly the techniques (sorely absent) that should accompany such a change.
How about replacing a "new paper", "a new website feature", "a new TV programme" for example in above quote for example. Naming no names.
Actually there really will be a conversation about "junk food", vending machines, and how much beef in a beefburger.. A very heated conversation. Not in school classrooms, kitchens (if there's any left) or playgrounds but between Kelly's team and organisations like "the Food and Drink federation" who, naturally enough aren't keen on this change/regulation at all.

"Banning foods is neither a sensible nor an effective solution to tackling obesity. Balance is the key and bans will not help teach children how to build a balance diet"
said its spokesman Martin Paterson.
This one isn't over yet.. As ever with New Labour, they've started to communicate something before they have actually done it. And whats finally implemented will almost impossible to understand, research or grasp. And be as watered down as those bloomin sausages. However, I reserver judgement. Perhaps the conversation about the change following implementation really will include those who it affects.
Ie: my kids. For the type of children who (2nd shameful confession of post) play online games sponsored by Kelloggs and worse. Perhaps the idea (and its inevitable. The wonks are thinking it up already.) of god forbid, something like a smoothies website to win em over to the idea of fresh fruit, lettuce and milk might work after all.


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