Jamie Oliver Has No Faith In UK Govt
Celebrity chef and activist Jamie Oliver is a dejected man these days. After toiling for years to improve the nutrition level of government school lunches in England, Jamie has hit a new roadblock in his struggle – Academy Schools. It is the Education Secretary Michael Gove, who is the main reason why Jamie has lost faith in his government.
1) Jamie’s Grouse
To explain things a bit, Academy schools are those schools in the UK, which receive direct funding from the central government. Since starting his public campaign for healthier school lunches, Jamie has successfully encouraged UK schools to go for healthier lunches for their pupils. As is wont, the British celebrity chef wanted to extend the nutritional standards to the Academy schools as well for which he has been in touch with the government representative too, in this case, Gove. However, it seems not all is going as per plan, as Jamie recently said in an interview, “I’ve lost faith in Government, I’ll pay my taxes, but I don’t particularly expect to see anything.
2) About Michael Gove
About the Education Secretary, he said, “Michael Gove is a nice enough chap and he’s got great energy, but it took me a couple of meetings to realize there’s no point in going back again. He was just charming me and telling me that he is eroding everything that the public demanded and asked for.” Oliver believes that the Education Secretary is out to erode the progress made in case of school lunches by refusing to bring the Academy Schools under the same purview as other UK schools. In his blistering attack on Gove, Oliver also said that by keeping the Academy schools out of the purview, the government was allowing them to lower nutrition levels in school cafeterias and increasing their dependency on junk food vending machines. On another occasion, Gove had said in the House of Commons, “All schools need to improve the quality of their meals, and we’ll be making an announcement shortly – not a U-turn – but building upon the platform that Jamie Oliver has created.” However, Jamie was hardly pacified by his statement as he continued his attack, “Even people in his own office don’t understand why he’s so passionate about something that represents a level playing field.” He said that when the government has standards for everything from nursing to teaching, there should be legal standards for school lunches as well.
3) Gove’s Belief
Earlier this year, Gove had expressed that the Academy schools should be able to decide themselves what food they are going to offer to the pupils in school cafeterias. This is quite opposite to what the state-controlled schools are asked to do. According to Oliver, this move is a loophole in the battle against obesity in children. At that time, Jamie had said about Gove’s suggestion, “I have got nothing against him personally. He is a charming and energetic man. But the health of millions of children could be affected by this one man. When there is a national obesity crisis unfolding around us, I honestly think he is playing with fire.” He added that the fact that the Academy schools are not being controlled about the school lunches would backfire. He said, “This mantra that we are not going to tell (academy) schools what to do just isn’t good enough in the midst of the biggest obesity epidemic ever. The public health of 5 million children should not be left to luck or chance.”
4) Jamie’s Mission
The straightforward chef has been at the forefront of a campaign to tackle unhealthy school lunches and in his endeavor, he has gone beyond the British shores, even taking on the Los Angeles schools at one point of time. He has poured 57 tons of sand through a school bus in a stunt to show how much sugar the school children were being fed through the flavored milk. Besides, he has also endeavored to open a Ministry of Food Center in London itself to monitor what was being fed to the pupils. Some of his efforts have bordered on insanity while others have been applauded heartily even by his critics. Therefore, if Jamie Oliver says that he has lost faith in the government, it is time for the government to sit up and take notice of his words.
School lunches are a sensitive topic because what we feed our children today will determine their health tomorrow. Therefore, if you feel Jamie is right in demanding that Academy schools be brought under the same purview as other schools in the UK, write in to let him know of your support.
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