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Holyrood

Adam Ingram, Minister for Children and Early Years, wants to make it cool to eat broccoli, not chips, he told the Parliament's education committee last week, while giving evidence on free school meals.

It is an admirable goal but anyone who has ever come into contact with Mr Ingram will understand the gargantuan leap that would be required before he could make something - anything - cool or be considered "down with the kidz".

One might expect the minister with his portfolio to be brimful of energy and bursting with child-like enthusiasm. Not so. Mr Ingram clearly attended the John Major School of Vibrancy, and does not so much scream primary colours as grey.

It has been rumoured he is the love child of Morticia Addams and Uncle Fester. The TESS naturally closes its ears to such gossip, but the idea of Mr Ingram as Scotland's answer to Jamie Oliver, set on making healthy eating cool, was one we could not resist.

Would Mr Ingram suddenly start highlighting his hair, ditch the tinted glasses for contacts and the suit for jeans and a hoodie, we wondered. Would he start giving interviews extolling the virtues of veg, swapping the language he favours now (which during last week included the gems "we are on the side of the angels" and "it's a case of watching a thousand flowers bloom") for a more uncouth vernacular, peppered with expletives?

We certainly hoped so, as we imagined the new Mr Ingram appearing on prime-time TV, pointing at a piece of broccoli and declaring: "Just f**kin' eat it!"

Already he has secured the support of the Lib Dems. Margaret Smith voted against enabling councils to stop charging for school meals, but made it clear she would back any bid to make broccoli cool.

In spite of the Lib Dems and Conservatives, the order to remove the requirement to charge for school meals was approved by the committee. This led to whooping and cheering from the SNP contingent.

Mr Ingram maintained a dignified silence. Doubtless post-makeover, when the "make broccoli cool" campaign is in full swing, on occasions like this he will shout: "Get it up yer!" - or some such.

We look forward to it.

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