Don't eat the yellow snow
Today's news about the success of Jamie Oliver's campaign to raise the amount of money spent on the ingredients for each school child's lunch in England is an excellent example on how old media can still work wonders.
Over the past several weeks I joined thousands of other TV viewers in the UK in watching Jamie's School Dinners on Channel 4. Week after week we saw celebrity chef Jamie bust a gut persuading schools to ditch the processed, ready-made junk the students are used to eating, and replace it with fresh, tasty, nutritious food, prepared from scratch every day. Although sometimes he was disheartened by students who would not eat his appetizing dishes, his greatest headache was how to come up with decent menus for under 40p per day.
Today's announcement by the British Government that school children's meals will now be budgeted at 50p per day (60p for teens) is both a triumphant victory for Jamie Oliver and a great electoral campaign opportunity for the Labour Party, weeks away from a general election. Sadly, Jamie did not manage to convince the government to ban junk food from schools.
I don't oppose the political stunts of politicians before elections completely if they result in making something better than it was; something that will last beyond the election. Politicians are professional tricksters, and we should just enjoy their tricks or vote them out of office. Sometimes the best strategy is simply to ignore them, but that's somewhat naive and unrealistically utopic. I say all this because we need more Jamie Olivers; not just in the UK but in most other countries around the world.
This is one of those rare moments when I almost regret that I am no longer directly involved as a producer with mainstream television and traditional media. Still, my most recent comments about the empowering aspects of the internet make Jamie Oliver's success seem like a white elephant.