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A Scottish storm in… a soup bowl?

| November 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

Recent world events have shown us that revolutions can originate in cyberspace. Now a revolution of a different kind has set bloggerspheres on fire.

A nine-year-old pupil living on the west coast of Scotland, Martha Payne, set up a blog and Twitter feed called #neverseconds for the purpose of photographing her school meals and giving them a health rating and a mark on her ‘food-o-meter’. Her project caught on, garnering her an impressive two million hits, and enabling her to raise money for the charity Mary’s Meals, which donates food to impoverished nations.

All too suddenly, though, Payne’s comments attracted too much attention for the Argyll and Bute councils. Undaunted, Payne blogged how she was “hauled out of maths class”, and subjected to a lengthy press release that detailed her “unwarranted attacks on school catering services… which have led to catering staff to fear for their jobs” (sic). Payne was ordered to shut down the ‘offensive’ blog, but at this stage she was the top trending item in Britain, and third most popular worldwide.

The councils had clearly underestimated the strength of Payne’s support base, which included heavyweight ‘foodie’ Jamie Oliver. Payne’s supporters reacted swiftly and furiously against the council action and eventually, she was allowed to reinstate her blog. Said one of her fans: “She’s a shining example of what true education is about. We don’t go to school to learn passively and swallow what is given to us, whether it’s dogma or croquettes. True education is about learning to question and to challenge.” Said another: “Martha’s work is important because obesity now costs the National Health Service £500 million a year and affects one in every three children in the UK. We need more health and variety, and we need kids taking the lead on that.”

Category: Summer 2012

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