Photo of Scottish politician holding poster on ‘starving school children’ is edited

By: Soham Shah
June 7 2024

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Photo of Scottish politician holding poster on ‘starving school children’ is edited

A post sharing an edited photo showing Jackie Baillie holding an ‘I VOTED TO STARVE SCHOOL CHILDREN’ photo. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

The original photo showed Member of Scottish Parliament Jackie Baillie holding a poster that read, ‘SHOW RACISM THE RED CARD.’

Claim ID 71f9ecb2

What is the claim? 

A photo of Scottish Labour Party Deputy Leader Jackie Baillie purportedly showing her holding a poster that reads, "I VOTED TO STARVE SCHOOL CHILDREN," is going viral among social media users in the U.K. 

On X (formerly Twitter), the photo was shared in a post (archived here) captioned:  "👉🚨Never(EVER)trust,and never(EVER)vote Labour🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🇬🇧in Scotland🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿!The Labour🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🇬🇧party is an English Brexiter colonialist political party. 👉🚨Scotland🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿is England’s🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🇬🇧colony! 👉Only vote for @theSNP in Scotland🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿!Scottish🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿Independence is coming! (sic)"

On Facebook, it was shared with a long caption advocating for parties "actually registered in Scotland" rather than branches of U.K.-wide parties. These posts also back taxing energy company profits to reduce fuel bills. The post also questions whether the U.K. exited the Eurpoean Union "to protect tax havens that the EU were about to outlaw." Archived links for such post can be viewed here and here.


Social media posts sharing an edited photo of Baillie. (Source: X, Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

Such posts from May 2024 appear to be shared against the backdrop of the upcoming U.K. election. On May 22, after months of speculation about when the U.K. would go to the polls, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the general election would be held on July 4. The Facebook post is from just a few days before this announcement.

In 2002, Baillie—who first became a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) in 1999—had voted against the School Meals (Scotland) Bill in the first Scottish Parliament However, we found that the photo being circulated had been edited, and Baillie was originally holding an anti-racism poster. The edited photo was also shared by social media users in 2023.

What is the truth?

We found the original photo was shared (archived here) on Baillie's X account on November 3, 2022. Here, Baillie, seen donning the same attire against the same backdrop as the viral image, is holding a poster that reads, "SHOW RACISM THE RED CARD."

Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) describes itself as "the UK's leading anti-racism educational charity'. It was started by Shaka Hislop, football club Newcastle United's goalkeeper, after he was allegedly racially abused by a group of people at a petrol pump. When they realized who he was, "their attitude suddenly went from abuse to admiration and instead they began asking for an autograph," the charity's website said. 

In October 2013, Baillie, had introduced a motion in the Scottish Parliament supporting Show Racism the Red Card's Fortnight of Action, a period of 15 days every year when football clubs show their support for the charity. Prominent personalities in the U.K., such as footballer Harry Kane, have also lent their support to this charity, as seen in this X post from June 2021 (archived here).

School Meals (Scotland) Bill and Baillie

In 2002, MSP Tommy Sheridan (Scottish Socialist Party) introduced the School Meals (Scotland) Bill in the first Scottish Parliament. The bill was defeated on June 20, 2002, and records show that Baillie voted against it as a Scottish Labour MSP. For a pupil who attended local authority-managed schools, the bill made the provision for "a free nutritious meal to be provided to that pupil in the middle of the day."

Discussing the bill in Parliament, Baillie had said, "I have considerable sympathy with the aims of the bill. Tackling poverty, reducing the stigma that is associated with free school meals and improving nutritional standards are all principles that I support. The fundamental problem that the Education, Culture and Sport Committee had with the bill is not whether we agree about where we want to get to—we agree about that—but whether the bill is the best way of getting there."

We came across multiple social media posts (archived here) and blog posts (archived here) seemingly criticizing Baillie for the 2002 vote. "It's deeply moving, well more stomach-churning, to hear from the leader of the right-wing in Scottish Labour Unionist Group (SLUG) pretending to care about the weans. Back in 2002, when she and her colleagues in government voted down the universal provision of free school meals and the retention of the humiliating means test, she was more like herself," a blog post read.

Logically Facts has contacted MSP Baillie for a comment, and this fact-check will be updated if and when we receive a response. 

The verdict

The photo has been edited to show Member of Scottish Parliament Jackie Baillie holding a poster that reads 'I VOTED TO STARVE SCHOOL CHILDREN.' In the original photo, she was actually holding an anti-racism poster.

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