Not related to BJJ or grappling: Martha Payne: Democracy and freedom of speech

This made me very sad.

A little girl's soul has been crushed.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. Well, not always. Some days I wanted to be a knight or Superman and some other days all I really ever wanted was to be a tiger, but the important thing is that my parents never told me I couldn't be any of those things.

My favourite outfit, which I outgrew very quickly :) Nom nom!

I'll never forget my poor mother patiently taking me from store to store just so I could find some book about big jungle cats or a super hero cape. And the constant nagging I'd do to get my face painted as a tiger.

"For God's sake, Liam. You're 22!" she'd say. Ah, the memories!

But they never questioned my right to dream. In fact, they encouraged it.

So it really makes me sad to see a 9 year old's simple blog project get shut down by the stuffy adults at Argyll and Bute Council. Martha Payne is a normal 9 year old who decided one day to take a picture of her school lunch. Here's a famous one:

Pitiful. Would you feed that to your daughter?

Here's what Martha (who goes by the pen name VEG on the blog) had to say:

Today's meal was on the menu as Cheeseburger and ice cream/biscuit but as you can see I got an ice lolly. I prefer ice cream. I wish they had stuck to the menu. I did get 2 croquettes though only 3 pieces of cucumber when I said no thanks to the peas.

Food-o-meter- 7/10
Mouthfuls- eating and counting and chatting to friends is hard!
Courses- main/dessert
Health Rating- 2/10
Price- £2
Pieces of hair- 0!The good thing about this blog is Dad understands why I am hungry when I get home. Today he made a Banana Loaf, shame I don't like bananas, see I am not perfect!

Martha and her father had also used the interest generated by the blog to gather funds on Just Giving for the Mary's Meals charity. Several thousands of pounds worth!

The kitchen staff and teachers have supported Martha in her blogging, but the council decided to ban the blog.

The kitchen staff and teachers were, according to a statement by Mr Payne, super lovely and excited, but the council decided that the pictures and comments made the staff "fear for their jobs".

Here is Martha's last blog post from yesterday the 14th of June:

"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."

What are we teaching the children of today?

If you try to express your opinion in a public forum, you will be crushed.

I am one of thousands of people who have emailed the council and expressed my disgust at their behaviour. I hope you join me.


Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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