Local council about to discover the internet

So young Ms. Martha Payne had a blog about school lunches.

Took the piss a bit about what she was getting.

Story gets picked up a bit, filtering through the blogs and forums and generally this internet lark. A national paper or two pick it up as a human interest story (she\’s raising money for African schoolkids school lunches on the blog).

Piss taking of very serious people who run local council is not allowed, Oh No. She is told that she may not take photos of her school lunches any more.

Cue local paper. Wired. And then it really starts to roll this story:

Having just heard the BBC R4 Today item (at about 7.20 – 7.25) on Martha’s ‘termination’ it’s now imperative for the councillor responsible for education to ‘come clean’ and try and rescue the situation – for all those people who voted for a cleaner council, if for no-one else. Any notion of supporting senior officers would be utterly misguided.

That would be about an hour ago I believe.

I\’d say that the council have until about lunchtime today to backtrack on this. Their best bet is a \”terrible misunderstanding, lessons learned, staff training to take place\”. Any \”mockery of the system is not allowed nor should be allowed\” will undoubtedly lead to people being fired.

31 thoughts on “Local council about to discover the internet”

  1. Just proves that council officers are stalinist Fuckwits!

    So how do we think a private sector, for profit organisation would have approached this?

  2. @PB

    Don’t be a prat. Everybody has camera enabled mobiles.

    I work for a supplier to large retailers – I regularly take pictures of our category fixture in store to feed back when store managers are not adhering to the plannogram.

    I guess you work in the public sector?

  3. @PB

    And by the way – this girl was the CUSTOMER.

    If you think private sector companies would piss off a customer in this way then you really are deluded?

  4. Jobsworths hoist by own petard, aided by 9-year old. Delicious. I don’t suppose the head is best pleased at being told what to do in his own school, either.

  5. Any “mockery of the system is not allowed nor should be allowed” will undoubtedly lead to people being fired.

    If you think private sector companies would piss off a customer in this way then you really are deluded?

    Both of you gentlemen (apols to shiney if my assumption is wrong) are confusing “should” and “would”. Some private sector companies treat their customers appallingly – they generally only get away with it, in the long term, if there is some sort of painful lock-in.

  6. shineymart: fortunately for me I have a choice, and don’t have to explain to rude shouty people all the things they’ve got wrong.

  7. @ukl

    Yes there are. Obviously.

    But my point to @PB was…. if the pictures have already been taken, the blog posts are ‘out there’ and there is a valid customer complaint (as there was in the case of Martha) would a commercial organisation operating in a competitive market seek to bully that customer?

    If they did/do there would be consequences…. ultimately leading to loss of market share, sales, profit…. and jobs.

    Oh… and don’t mention ‘Banks’ as we all know they don’t operate in a truly competitive market.

  8. @SE

    Yes I am a chap… gentleman is a bit strong 😀

    See my last post – must’ve crossed over.

  9. There is a rather horrific comment in the Flickr link ukliberty posted:

    I work as Security within Tesco so …
    We can then say that if they continue (taking photos) we will detain them and call the police under the Terrorism Act, …

    And then somebody from “Tesco Group Security & Loss Prevention” weighs in with disinformation. The thread is nearly 4 years old and some of the guidance has now been clarified and, hopefully, descended unaltered to the pits of on-site security but …

  10. would a commercial organisation operating in a competitive market seek to bully that customer

    Yes. In addition to Tesco on this thread, there are *vast* numbers of such cases.

    Markets are better than the alternatives that have been tried in the large majority of cases – but the belief that companies operating in a market will necessarily provide decent service, avoid bullying their customers, and generally not behave like arseholes, or that they will be driven out of business if they do, is one which could only conceivably be held by someone living in a North Korean gulag who’s only heard about the West through smuggled Cato Institute pamphlets. Certainly not by someone who’s *ever been shopping ever*.

  11. Wankers like the persOn who issued this diktat get away with it because they are anonymous. This person needs to be named and publicly humiliated, exposed to the mockery of everyone (and forced to eat the school lunches).

    This would act as a suitable deterrent to any other wannabe hitlers who are thinking of getting their rocks off in the furure with shit like this.

  12. A number of organisations have publicly ‘bullied’ customers – rightly or wrongly. e.g. copyright infringement cases, as well as people wandering around Tesco taking photos and children taking photos of their school meals.

    The common factor here is “idiots” – not “public sector” or “private sector”.

  13. We don’t, of course, have to go to Tesco if they behave badly. We don’t have to – in effect – pay their wages, if we are unhappy with the level of service.

    Not an option available in the public sector.

  14. @JB 13
    There may be ‘vast’ numbers of cases – but how many in relation to the number of commercial transactions. Of course companies in competitive markets won’t ‘necessarily provide decent service’ or products – but ultimately they’ll go out of business.

    What I DO know is that if one of my employees pissed off a customer like this they’d be fired.

    Also – what JuliaM said.

  15. While I’m on the market side here, let’s be realistic. Many public (ie. private) schools wouldn’t tolerate this either.

  16. They have now issued a pisspoor statement.
    Apparently every child can choose a “desert”….mmmm, think I’ll have the Kalahari!

  17. @shineymart
    I don’t know whether the railways count as private or public sector these days not that it matters, try taking photos in certain places – quite a lot these days – and see the hassle you get, up to and including the involvement of the police. The nasty little Stalinists are everywhere nowadays and they are tacitly supported by the majority of the public who seem to have decided that everything anyone else is doing should be stopped or interfered with, until it happens to them of course.

  18. Tesco seems unlikely to go out of business any time soon. It has been four years since the Flickr thread was started, and Tesco hasn’t gone out of business so far as I can tell.

    Thornavis is spot on @20. Lots of interfering busy-bodies everywhere, and the public is usually happy for them to interfere.

    No-one here disputes that we’re not obliged to visit Tesco. No-one here disputes that markets are usually better than the alternatives. (Criticism of or disagreement with one thing doesn’t entail support of or agreement with some other thing.)

    Council statement, by the way:

  19. The ban on Martha’s blog has been lifted. Excellent!

    Mind you, from what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t like to eat her school lunches…

  20. The “deserts” are presumably included amongst the ” healthy, nutrious and attractive school meals”.

    Nutrious, eh? Excellent news!

  21. Going through a couple of battles right now too. The basic crime she committed is to be noticed by a bureaucrat – that is something they cannot tolerate without attempting interference or bullying. By bureaucrat I include parking wardens and police, all petty rule enforcers.

    Wish I could again find the quote which went something like this : “Go and find out what the people are doing … and STOP them.”

    Alan DOuglas

  22. @26
    The version I’m familiar with is the one supposedly said by a Victorian lady to the housemaid, “go and see what the children are doing and tell them to stop it”, almost certainly apocryphal but an excellent summary of the suspicious and disapproving mindset.

  23. This little story has given me hope. A whole school of kids has learnt a very valuable lesson – people in authority are not your friends. They may pretend to be, and indeed sometimes help you, but ultimately they will act in their own self interest over yours.

    I think kids all over the country should start their own dinner blogs, as SimonF suggested. Let 1000 blogs bloom!!

  24. In my day at school it was always perfectly clear that the authorities were not your friends. I suppose it’s not so obvious now that discipline has disappeared and teachers pretend that they want to be the students’ friends.

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