From Our Tommy Sheridan
A wee blast from the past. Campaigning for my Private Members Bill to deliver universal free and healthy school meals to all of Scotland’s school pupils. It was a radical anti-poverty and pro-dietary health measure. It secured massive support from anti-poverty and pro-health groups impressed by the research we conducted and drew upon proving the benefits of the move. The example of Norway was particularly persuasive. The Scottish Trades Union Women’s Committee and lone parent group Gingerbread were very prominent supporters. It would have tackled the very real stigma attached to free school meals while improving the disposable income of hundreds of thousands of the working poor and struck a major blow against childhood obesity and related health problems like Diabetes 2. Alongside Labour’s John McAllion and the SNP’s Alex Neil, the co-sponsors of my Bill, we campaigned across Scotland and generated tremendous grassroots support throughout 2001/02. The Bill was written by the brilliant solicitor and social justice champion Mike Dailly. Sadly the Scottish Parliament was neither radical or visionary. The Labour/Liberal coalition government opposed it and relied on their Tory fellow travelers to muster the necessary votes to defeat the Bill in 2002. How ironic both Labour and the Liberals now profess their support for universally free and healthy school meals. Empty gesturing now given they had the power then to do it. There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.
Tommy Said A good friend sent me a wee blast from the past which confirms I used to have some hair oan ma heid…Promoting the Free School Meals Bill in Dunoon in 2001.