18 October 2009

Fun Police: #2 Don't let them eat cake

Olivia Morris turned 9. Her great grandma baked her a cake to take to school. It was put on display at morning assembly, and everyone sang "Happy Birthday", then she blew out the candles.

Then the cake was left to be.


Because it doesn't comply with the school's new healthy eating rules.

Her school is Rockingham Junior and Infant School in Rotherham, England. It is well known, if only because it is the school Jamie Oliver launched his campaign for healthier eating at schools.

Head Teacher Heather Green said it would be a "mixed message" if cakes were brought in whilst the school promotes healthy eating. Joyless bint.

The story is in the Daily Telegraph.

Of course this silly little do-gooder forgets that denying children ANY "unhealthy" food simply raises the desire to have it, it makes it forbidden, which of course makes anything far more attractive and interesting. Kids are more likely to secretly covet such food, binge on it, and then show themselves as healthy openly.

Olivia and her friends didn't miss out though. You see AFTER school she took the cake, and celebrated her birthday with her friends outside school, where they shared cake - away from the tentacles of Heather Green and zee Rockingham Junior Re-Edukation Kamp. Just to show how distant education gets from the needs of parents when it is bureaucrats and schools doing what they see is best, not those who pay for it.

Olivia doesn't YET live in a world where such puritanical nonsense is compulsory everywhere.


Opinionated Libertarimum said...

At least she was allowed to bring the cake to school (presumably it did not contain nuts and eggs?). My son's kindergarten makes and decorate, complete with candle, a cake in the colour of the child's choice.... made out of playdough. No chance of obesity there. Possibly high blood pressure with all the salt, but definitely low in fat.

Anonymous said...

No doubt that had this occurred in a posh private school it would have passed over your radar completely.
What is so wrong about trying to get children to think about healthy eating? Oops I forgot. It's really about freedom and choice isn't it? The freedom for an industry to constantly try to push their fatty, sugar laden and generally shitty food onto children and those children having the choice to say yes or no. Some choice.
It was inevitable that you should depict Heather Green as a Nazi and a joyless bint. Like I've never heard that from a libertarian before.
However thanks for not using the hackneyed "nanny state" line. Shame the entire post was just that

Libertyscott said...

Anonymous: Oh yes, of course, because I'm an upper class twit who can't wait to shove my jackboot in the face of the working class. Oh no, actually it's you who thinks of everyone in terms of class. The only time I think of classes is when I step on a plane or train.

Of course there is nothing wrong about getting children to think about healthy eating, who said there was? However, it is the sanctimonious "never eat anything unhealthy" attitude that is so destructive. No such thing as an occasional treat, no such thing as occasionally getting some joy out of eating, rather than it being something you're told to do.

I didn't think Olivia's Great Grandma was an "industry", she gave Olivia the cake, but you'll happily run roughshod over that fact to vent your own anger at the food industry.

Who said they should "constantly try to push their food onto children"? It is up to parents to decide what their kids eat. The school can of course prohibit what it wants, I wouldn't deny the school the freedom to do so. I'm expressing an opinion, which in a free society is allowed, this isn't about forcing anyone, it is about persuasion - my view being that banning a birthday cake shows a distinct lack of being human.

This is where the so-called people first, people before profit mantra of the left is shown to be completely vacuous. You don't give a damn that a little girl gets embarrassed, you'd rather be ideologically pure about being healthy than let some kids have some cake.

I have known a couple of people brought up with a very fascist attitude to food from parents, who then would binge eat repeatedly as adults. Suddenly the forbidden fruit was accessible so they'd eat until they were sick.

THAT is my point. Being so restrictive on food can be counterproductive. It is like telling children not to read those books on the top shelf, they'll eventually decide it is too interesting to find out why.

And if you hadn't had your head stuck so far up your arse you might have got it.

Why would I use a Nanny State line? The state has next to nothing to do with it, thankfully.

Anonymous said...

No, I know you are not an upper class twit. You are a planner (or something similar) from Wellington NZ, working in London. By and large members of the upper class don't involve themselves with blogs.
No Liberty, I don't get angry when the endless junk food ads roll over the telly night after night. I've eaten my fair share of Peanut Slabs over the years and enjoyed every one. But neither does it worry me the way it worries you when, say, a school makes a decision to try to get pupils to consider important things such their health. So you knew a couple of food fascists whose kiddies as adults binged until they made themselves sick. Hardly compelling evidence for there not to be few checks and balances when it comes to childrens nutrition.
You say I missed your point completely, then you should make your points more clearly because your post simply read like another libertarian put down of someone who I suspect has the best interests of her young charges at heart.
Finally you should take your own advice and play the ball, not the man. For someone enjoying life so you seem pretty on edge.

Libertyscott said...

Anonymous: It isn't a matter of the school promoting nutrition, but my view is that this went too far - it upset a child and her great grandmother. Yes the head teacher had the best interests of the children at heart, but then that is the justification for so many poor decisions. "I meant well" doesn't mean it is right.

It seems mean spirited for the school to do this. Simple as that. I see this reflected in the likes of Sue Kedgley who gets positively animated at the idea of banning things she things are bad for you.

The truth is cake isn't bad for you, it is the amount and frequency that you eat it. Letting kids have an occasional slice of birthday cake hurts no one, as long as it is clear no child is obliged to bring one.

It is one thing to teach self control and good habits, another to just make something into forbidden fruit. It also teaches that because some children may be irresponsible, all should be denied a pleasure. Those are the messages that concern me.