Martha Payne, a nine year old from Argyll, has been regularly blogging about her school meals, with the permission of her school. She has been taking photos of them, then rating them for health and taste, all in a gentle amusing way – so far her blog, Never Seconds, has had over 2 million visits and has raised money for charity.
But now it has been stopped in its tracks by the autocratic Argyll and Bute council who have banned her from taking photographs of her school meals after the Daily Record paper ran a story – effectively ruining the blog.
“This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today. I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos. I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too. I don’t think I will be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary’s Meals either”
This unbelievable reaction has been made worse by the council’s refusal to comment to the media.
Update: The council leader has now overturned the ruling and says he will work with her…
Her father, who helped her set up, has explained that it was the council’s decision and not the school’s that they stamp down on this little girls writing.
The council are the employees of the people, and the thousands of people that visited her blog loved it. This ban is purely because the council (who seem to be supplying some joke meals to their young people) cannot handle critisism. Rather than defend their position openly, or work with the bad publicity, they have the school take the child out of her maths lesson and ban her from using a camera.
This goes much further than this blog, this goes to the very heart of why local government exists, who pays for it and what role they play.
They are the servants of the people – they are meant to supply lighting, education, roads and other services with out money in the way we wish. And that means listening when we think they are getting it wrong – even from a local child of just nine years old.
They are NOT there to shut us up, take away our ideas, or tell us we are wrong in anyway what-s0-ever.
Quite honestly, the leaders of the council executive should be sacked and I suggest the Councillors start standing up for the rights of the people of Argyll and Bute, and not for their own miserable reputations.
If you live in the area, I would STRONGLY suggest you write to your local councillor telling them exactly what you think of them and explaining why you wont be voting for them again.