Saturday, May 20, 2006

They'll eat chips anyway

You know how it is when a New Labour reshuffle works in your favour. You "hit the ground running" and re-announce whatever your two predesessors said they were going to do. And so it is for the new Secretary of State for Edumacation, Alan Johnson. Johnson announced that junk food would be banned in schools from September, he also re-announced £280m which was promised last year to improve school meals.

If you're curious about the history of all this, it's very simple. A couple of years ago a celebrity chef highlighted the scandalous crap that schools feed to children, the government jumped into action and said it was outrageous too. They then launched a "review" (at great expense to the taxpayer), which took a year or so to conclude what they already knew. The Secretary of State then announced the Government was going to "allocate" money (from the already agreed budget) to improve school dinners and create "guidelines", the Secretary then got sacked and replaced by a new one who said the same thing but did so like he was announcing something new.

What doesn't get mentioned is that most schools have agreed long-term contracts with catering suppliers, so the guidelines will be ignored because of economic realities. With all the social engineering will in the world the kids will still go to the chippy anyway. If you don't believe me drive past the school from the original Jamie Oliver show at lunchtime.

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