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Having listened to the radio piece referred to …

Comment posted School Meals saga: Council distorts facts and blocks Martha’s blog by Dr Douglas McKenzie.

Having listened to the radio piece referred to above, I don’t think that Jane Murphy did as bad a job as the article perhaps makes out. She says lots of positive things and the only error I would say she makes is not to openly admit that there was a problem with what Martha had for lunch on those days. It is difficult to respond positively to criticism but being able to say “mea culpa” is a great way of defusing a situation. Hopefully though this situation will encourage the Council to review the menus with perhaps some input from chefs and, importantly, to benchmark what ABC is providing against what is on offer elsewhere. Improvement is always possible.

I think Martha comes across very well in the interview and so is a good advert for education in Argyll generally.

Dr Douglas McKenzie also commented

  • I am reminded of my response to my father when he would criticise me for whatever heinous crime I had just committed. I would simply ask: “Well Dad, what do you think was to blame: genetics or environment?”.

    If ABC are blaming Mandy for making “wrong” choices then surely that means that the nutritional education she has been receiving from her school has been deficient? Or are they suggesting that Mandy wilfully engineered the whole situation…?

    The old adage about stopping digging when you are in a hole seems apposite.

    What the Council should have done was say something along the lines of: “The meals that Mandy photographed were clearly inadequate both in terms of their nutrition and in terms of quantity. The Council do not know why this occurred but are investigating to see if there are lessons that can be learnt but in the meantime the Council would like reassure parents that the Council works hard to ensure that all the children in its schools have a well balanced, healthy and appealing menu with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables always available. ABC always welcome scrutiny of what is on offer and will always respond positively to any suggestions coming from parents, staff or the pupils as to how school lunches can be improved. Starting tomorrow, we are launching an Argyll-wide competition open to all our primary students to see who can produce the best, most entertaining and most constructive blog on the subject of their school lunches. We will have Nick Nairn judge the winner and we have also asked Nick to be a special advisor on future developments of our school menus….”

    That’s how you handle this sort of situation.

Recent comments by Dr Douglas McKenzie

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    More utter rubbish from Lynda Henderson. Have you actually spoken to Bob Allen? Whoever told you the story sold you a pup and in your arrogance you cannot admit to be wrong so you make up this story that he was persuaded not to resign.

    Your position is completely untenable.

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    I’m afraid you condemn yourself by your own words. I don’t think that anyone reading what you have written here and the language you have used would conclude anything other than that you have a deep dislike for Mr Russell and that dislike is leading you to basically lose all sense of either proportion or impartiality. It doesn’t matter how well (or otherwise) you know Mr Russell you are clearly exercised by your interpretation of his actions and it is leading you well beyond the pale in what I would consider fair comment.

    This vendetta against Mr Russell and the SNP is destroying FA’s credibility and I have to confess that I’m seriously considering whether or not to continue reading FA (which will cheer Malcolm up if nothing else). I for one am becoming increasingly disenchanted by the constant negativity and sheer nastiness that has crept into this blog. I say that with a lot more sorrow than anger because I think that FA could have been great and indeed still could but there has to be a degree of balance, civility and indeed humour. All we are getting here is bile and it is causing me heartburn.

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    It is just as well that Mr Russell has broad shoulders!

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