BLUNDERING Angela Constance was blasted for flouting school rules on sugary snacks by treating her son to Jaffa Cakes, The Sun reports. The Education Secretary sparked an online storm when she revealed she packed off Cyrus, eight, on a trip with the orange-flavoured chocolate treats. Her tweet came hours after the SNP launched the Scottish Dietary Goals drive against child obesity — and, to make matters worse, it contained a basic punctuation error.
“Next she’ll be shoving burgers through the school railings.” On Twitter, one critic wrote: “There is NOTHING clever about this. Aren’t you supposed to be in charge of education?” Another said: “Not the best example to be setting. Undermining schools as education minister.” A third posted: “Could be wean’s or weans’ but not weans. Back to school.”
Scottish Dietary Goals guidelines state children aged seven to 10 should have no more than 24g of sugar each day, around six cubes. A snack-pack of three Jaffa Cakes contains 19.2g, or 80 per cent of that amount, while a 12-pack would have more than triple the limit at 76.8g. SNP ministers last week backed Chancellor George Osborne’s surprise Budget “sugar tax” on fizzy drinks.
And on Sunday the Nats’ Public Health minister Maureen Watt wrote of the Dietary Goals: “We need to think more about reducing our sugar intake.” Last night a spokeswoman for Ms Constance said: “Like most mums and dads, Angela follows advice on healthy eating for children. But she isn’t averse to providing the occasional treat.”
West Lothian Council said: “Schools generally issue guidance on how to prepare for trips. “This can include advice on clothing, money, toys and tuck. The guidance is to ensure everyone who is taking part is well prepared and equipped for whatever the activities are.
“In this case the guidance was that one snack per day should be fine.” It is the latest in a string of gaffes by Ms Constance, 45. Last year she wrote of the SNP’s “read, write, count” campaign: “Learning is fun and part if everyday life.” And in November she asked for another take on a TV interview after stumbling over her words, while it was being broadcast live.
The Scottish Government declined to comment when asked if it expects parents to heed healthy food requests.
3 tips if you want to keep your job
1. We know it’s only Twitter, but please try to use proper grammar and punctuation when posting your thoughts. You are the Education Secretary, after all.
2. It might be a good idea not to boast about defying instructions to parents from schools, even if they annoy you. You are the Education Secretary, after all.
3. Before tweeting your views, check fellow ministers have not made announcements on the matter that same day. You are the Education Secretary, after all.
IF you follow these three golden rules you might just cling on to your position in the inevitable Cabinet reshuffle after May’s election.
But, given your track record, Ms Constance, it might already be too late.