Friday, 15 June 2012

The Streisand Effect (Part x)

Martha Payne - an articulate and intelligent 9 year old girl - has a blog (pictured above) which documents her views on her school dinners, with photos. Her blog clearly demonstrates an enthusiasm to try to improve an area she feels strongly about. Yet the local council - Argyll and Bute Council - feel different (Dave Payne's emphasis):
This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today.

I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos. I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too. I don’t think I will be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary’s Meals either.


Veg’s Dad, Dave, here. I felt it’s important to add a few bits of info to the blog tonight. Martha’s school have been brilliant and supportive from the beginning and I’d like to thank them all. I contacted Argyll and Bute Council when Martha told me what happened at school today and they told me it was their decision to ban Martha’s photography.

It is a shame that a blog that today went through 2 million hits, which has inspired debates at home and abroad and raised nearly £2000 for charity is forced to end.

Dave Payne
One wonders who the hell the local council think they are? More so given that many of the reviews on the blog are actually rather positive. Needless to say the story has gone viral and despite initial and robust reluctance from the Council they have now backed down:
Argyll and Bute council performed the astonishing U-turn just hours after issuing a rambling, and defiant statment, defending its decision while attacking the nine year-old for her critical blog.
What an epitomising example of how local councils have fundamentally lost touch with those who they are suppose to serve. Rather than take on board fair and reasonable comments from a 'consumer', they resort to draconian banning -  in effect bullying a 9 year old girl has become fair game.

Thank god for the 'Streisand Effect'


  1. This so reminded me of my late sister, leading a campaign of complaint against school dinners in the Fifties. Without the technical equipment of this girl, she wrapped up the pudding in her handkerchief and took it as evidence to the the headmistress to substantiate her complaint.

    Miss Stead (for whom she had the greatest respect) kept a straight face and sent a note home, saying that, in the circumstances, it would be better if Susan took sandwiches to school.

    There was certainly no interference from Councillors!

    In her retirement, my sister became convener of the Argyll Advocacy Service, which fights officialdom on behalf of people who are getting a raw deal. So she continued as she started.

  2. @Edward Spalton, Nice one...(sorry to hear she's your late sister)