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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Burgers at dawn

When is a burger van not a burger van? When it is in Bedwas apparently. At least that was the point that got members very heated in yesterday's Welsh Liberal Democrat debate on the quality of food:

Jonathan Morgan: I am grateful to Mike German for giving way. Mike, you are one of the Members representing the South Wales East region, which includes the Caerphilly constituency. Do you share my concern that Labour politicians are not practising what they preach, and that, in Caerphilly, they have sanctioned the siting of a burger van on a school playground?

Michael German: I sometimes wish that Members on the Labour side would observe the regulations that their Secretary of State for Education and Skills in England has laid down for them, with clear bullet points on foods that should not be sold in schools—including burgers. Perhaps there is a lesson there. Something is wrong with the legislation in Wales if they are not following the legislation in England.

Jeff Cuthbert: Thank you for allowing me to give way, Mike. It is just that I am reading the truth. Would you like to congratulate Caerphilly County Borough Council on agreeing— at the request of the headmistress of the school concerned, who was troubled by the amount of pupils leaving the school premises at lunch time—to provide a mobile snack box, as it is called, which provides not only wholesome burgers, but also toasted sandwiches, paninis, wraps, baguettes, fresh fruit, water, fruit juice, and fair-trade tea and coffee? Do you support that or not?

Michael German: If it looks like a burger, it is a burger; if it looks like a burger van, it is a burger van. Your colleagues in England have realised that, because they have used the legislation, which we have not yet used in Wales, to do precisely that. The legislation has already been put in place in England, and I think that we ought to follow it. I will move on now, because I want to make some progress—I have only just dealt with the burger van in Bedwas.

Personally, I blame Jamie Oliver. If he had not politicised food then the children of Bedwas could now be happily eating their burger and chips without the hint of controversy. (I am being ironic by the way!) Still you cannot deny that Jeff Cuthbert is not a trier. That was the second intervention he made in the debate on that subject.
Peter, what do you have to say about the fact that Lib Dem-run Cardiff Council not only offers burgers in its schools, but the authority charges only 80p for a burger in a bun, 90p with one with cheese, and a portion of chips for an extra 80p.

I’m pretty sure someone wanting a “healthy” meal would pay far more than what they would for a burger and chips.

Another example of Lib Dem hypocrisy...or is it maybe that the left arm doesn’t know what the right is up to?

If you started taking positive action in local policy areas that you have control over, people might just start to think about taking you seriously as a political party.
I would say that Cardiff is doing more tha most Councils to promote healthy meals as is evidenced by this http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4440179.stm However there is still a long way to go.
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