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Blair responds to Jamie Oliver campaign, about time too! But will it be enough?

(22 Posts)
WideWebWitch Sun 20-Mar-05 14:59:32

At last, a response. This is from JO's Feed me better site "We're going to take action...to meet concern over school meals," says the PM in today's Observer. "It will draw on the remarkable work of Jamie Oliver in schools, of the Soil Association in encouraging the use of organic and local produce in school meals, and on the best advice on nutrition and eliminating processed foods."

"The government action will include:

Rebuilt school kitchens
'Culinary skills' lessons for dinner ladies
An Independent School Food Trust to co-ordinate the effort
Local organic produce to be worked into school dinners
Children's Manifesto unveiled tomorrow (Monday 21st)"

Article (though not the one written by Blair) in The Observer, here It's a start. I watched the last programme in the series last night and really had to think about whether I'd vote Labour if they ignored this. I'll be interested to read the manifesto tomorrow.

LGJ Sun 20-Mar-05 15:00:18

Praise the Lord.

JanH Sun 20-Mar-05 15:00:42

Blair's bit

WideWebWitch Sun 20-Mar-05 15:02:09

Well done Janh, had dd clinging to my leg, couldn't look for it!

JanH Sun 20-Mar-05 15:04:21

There isn't a link on the page you linked to, is there, www - a bit odd! Found it via home page.

Is it terribly cynical of me to think he is jumping in here quick before the Tories do, and take all the parents' votes?

wobblyknicks Sun 20-Mar-05 15:06:23

Sorry to be cynical but I would happily put money on Labour forgetting all about this issue if they got in again. School meals have been an issue all the time they've been in government - funny how its only election time when they seem to care!!!

JanH Sun 20-Mar-05 15:24:30

"Labour cashes in" - from Sunday Times.

WideWebWitch Sun 20-Mar-05 15:29:19

They'd be bloody stupid not to cash in on it in an election year wouldn't they? I was so disgusted by the last programme I was going to fire off a few more stroppy emails over the next couple of days. I still may, depending on what the manifesto says. Jamie is a hero, shame it takes a celeb chef to state the bleedin' obvious.

JoolsToo Sun 20-Mar-05 15:34:34

I think it was more a case 'bloody hell, this is gathering momentum - best step in quick'

very opportunist in my book - but if it results in decent meals in our schools all well and good - as long as they don't make it a year on year decision like the pensioners £200 council tax deduction

Freckle Sun 20-Mar-05 15:49:39

It will cost a lot more than simply adding a few pence to the ingredients budget. DS3's infant school had its on site kitchen transformed into a library/computer room and they now have meals "bussed" in. For this scheme to work, school will need kitchens on site, so a lot more refurbishing will have to go on. If they put up the money for that, I'm more inclined to think they are serious. If not, then it's all just whitewash in an election year.

excivilservant Sun 20-Mar-05 15:50:02

Do keep up the pressure if you have the time. I've actually worked in Whitehall and I assure you it isn't just cashing in. Governments can't afford to miss an issue that concerns so many people, election year or not. But once the dust has settled ( the election's out of the way) the Treasury will start trying to find a way to reign back on the spending. That doesn't mean the changes would disappear entirely but it would be death by a thousand cuts. Its not forgetting about it, wobblyknicks, but the effect may not be greatly different. Also if the Conservatives did win the election have they made any sort of commitment yet?????

This may well be something the responsible minister has wanted to do for ages. It probably is or they could not have responded as quickly. There are usually lots of things ministers would like to do but they have problems finding the money. They use the public pressure to squeeze some dosh from the treasury. Jamie's managed to make changes without a lot of money so they had a good case to put to the Treasury.

How about another petition for some sort of honour for Jamie Oliver? Think mumsnet would be a good place to start the petition. Anyone want to e-mail the team and suggest they'd earn a lot of credit with parents for starting a petition?

FIMAC1 Sun 20-Mar-05 17:19:59

The Tories would not touch this 'hot potato' as it is their reforms back in the late 1970's that actually led to the poor quality we have today. They made schools contract out their dinners and only accept the lowest tender

misdee Sun 20-Mar-05 17:20:58

i thought that was the lates 80's that happened?

Pinotmum Sun 20-Mar-05 17:38:44

I remember being at secondary school in the late 70's when all of a sudden meat and 2 veg was replaced with sausage rolls and chips. Maggie T grrr!!

JanH Sun 20-Mar-05 17:53:21

It started in 1980 and got worse and worse after that....

Tortington Sun 20-Mar-05 18:29:04

i ate chips n gravy for 4 years in senior school - the last year we went to the local bakers for meat & potato pie! it was 50p for chips gravy and a 6p shortbread biscuit with a cherry on top

what have the other parties pledged to do? anyone?

Beetroot Sun 20-Mar-05 18:32:28

Message withdrawn

Hulababy Sun 20-Mar-05 18:33:49

I noticed the change when I went from middle school up to secondary. Secondary school was more cafeteria style and it was all junk. I started secondary school in 1986. Before that in first school (1977-1982) it was a no option meal, complete with child servers, etc. You ate what you were given and there were no alternatives.Then at middle school (1982) you queued up and chose your own food - but I remember it being proper food. Yes, there were chips but not daily. And certainly it wasn't pizza, burgers and sausage rolls.

muminlondon Mon 21-Mar-05 14:07:29

What makes me really suspicious is that the schools meals trust thing was announced more than a month ago (see Guardian ) so Blair could just be spinning old news. This morning on the Today programme a children's charity representative sounded cautious and said she couldn't understand the extra layer of bureaucracy in having this trust. It sounds like another opportunity for glossy brochures like the 'healthy living blueprint for schools' from September - all talk and leaflets, no action. And that Guardian report said it will have representatives from the food industry - so what will that mean? Free stickers and wall charts from McDonalds? I feel cynical and hope Jamie keeps up the pressure.

alhambra Mon 21-Mar-05 16:20:33

Aye, I agree muminlondon. Until they put their money where their spin/bureaucracy is it has to be seen as a cynical pre-election ploy.

WideWebWitch Mon 21-Mar-05 16:59:58

muminlondon, interesting that Jamie Oliver is refusing to endorse this until the govt actually stump up some money.

tatt Tue 22-Mar-05 06:53:16

spinning old news or something the government was already trying to alter but not quickly enough?

When I had school dinners the quality was often terrible because the staff couldn't cook but at least the basic ingredients were healthy ones. We had no choice over what we ate and while I wouldn't wish to see that again the choices should all be healthy ones.

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