Tag Archives: diet

Just passing judgement

Every time I pass my local McDonalds and glance into the new-look dining room, I can’t help but marvel at the cold, flinty genius behind their most recent advertising push.

You know the one – all these average Joes who were ‘just passing by’ – people from all walks of life, all tucking happily into their burgers. Your subconscious prods you excitedly: they’re just like me – that could be me in there! God, I take the gherkin out before I eat a cheeseburger too! The spoken poems come at you like a train, tickling you internally with their catchy rhythm and, slowly but surely, against your better judgement, McDonalds manages to endear itself to you just a little. (More than the soft-focus footage of children frolicking amongst hay bales ever did anyway.)

I’m curious as to which particular store the company used to study and capture the antics of these average McDonalds customers. Not the one around the corner from me, that’s for certain. Had they come to my part of town, the narration would have run rather differently…

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‘No, minister’

So, which government PR drone came up with the idea of catapulting health secretary Andrew Lansley into the papers by using Jamie Oliver’s name? A pat on the back for that cheap stunt.

His words are a slap in the face considering how Oliver raised the profile of the issue of school dinners and the headway his campaign has made so far. Not to mention an insult to the schools and dinner ladies who’ve now started to demand more of the food they feed to their kids than that it fills them up at lunchtime.

Imagine if something bad were going on locally that you felt strongly about. Maybe the litter in your area’s getting you down, so you corral a few like-minded people and organise a weekly litter-pick. It’s something small, harmless, cost-free and positive that you can do, and – who knows? – it could build pride in your area and deter litter bugs in the future.

Now imagine, a few months down the line, that you open your local paper, only to find the council lambasting your efforts and calling your goodwill gesture a failure. Suddenly you’re to blame for something that was never your responsibility in the first place. It’s how Oliver’s situation looks from where I’m standing.

Perhaps in the future we’ll be asked to take full personal responsibility for the consequences of our diet on our health, and if so, so be it. However, at the moment it’s the Government – not a lone celebrity chef – that’s responsible for what children eat at school. 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