Discrimination, But Not That We’ll Admit To

30 01 2009
Two gay men walk into a cafe. They sit down and try to order a meal. The manager approaches them and says:
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“Look, I have my other customers to think about. I’ve nothing against you myself, you understand, but others do. And I can’t have you in here upsetting everyone. They have a right to eat without being uncomfortable. I’ll serve you, but you have to go sit in the toilet, out of sight of my other customers. It’s either that, or leave.”
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A couple with disabilities enter a cafe. She is in a wheelchair, and he is visually impaired. They seat themselves down and try to order a meal. The manager approaches them and says:
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“Look, I have my other customers to think about. I’ve nothing against you myself, you understand, but others do. And I can’t have you in here upsetting everyone. They have a right to eat without being uncomfortable. I’ll serve you, but you have to go sit in the toilet, out of sight of my other customers. It’s either that, or leave.”
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A couple walk into a cafe. She is wearing a hijab. They sit down and try to order a meal. The manager approaches them and says:
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“Look, I have my other customers to think about. I’ve nothing against you myself, you understand, but others do. And I can’t have you in here upsetting everyone. They have a right to eat without being uncomfortable. I’ll serve you, but you have to go sit in the toilet, out of sight of my other customers. It’s either that, or leave.”
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A mixed race couple walk into a cafe. They sit down and try to order a meal. The manager approaches them and says:
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“Look, I have my other customers to think about. I’ve nothing against you myself, you understand, but others do. And I can’t have you in here upsetting everyone. They have a right to eat without being uncomfortable. I’ll serve you, but you have to go sit in the toilet, out of sight of my other customers. It’s either that, or leave.”
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A couple with a baby walk into a cafe. They sit down and try to order a meal. As they are reading the menu, the baby cries with hunger, and the mother reaches into her bag and brings out a baby bottle of milk. The manager approaches the mother and says:
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“Would you like me to heat that bottle through for you?”
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A couple with a baby walk into a cafe. They sit down and try to order a meal. As they are reading the menu, the baby cries with hunger, and the mother lifts her blouse and latches the baby onto her breast. The manager approaches the baby and says:
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“Look, I have my other customers to think about. I’ve nothing against you myself, you understand, but others do. And I can’t have you in here upsetting everyone. They have a right to eat without being uncomfortable. You can eat, but you have to go sit in the toilet, out of sight of my other customers. It’s either that, or leave.”
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A couple with a small child walk into a cafe. They sit down and order a meal. The manager brings it over to them. After they have all eaten, the adults order a desert, and the child asks its mother for some milk. The mother reaches into her bag, and pulls out a baby bottle. The manager approaches the mother and says:
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Would you like me to heat that bottle through for you?
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A couple with a small child walk into a cafe. They sit down and order a meal. The manager brings it over to them. After they have all eaten, the adults order a desert, and the child asks its mother for some milk. The mother lifts her blouse and the child latches on.
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The manager phones the police.
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EDIT: and less than two weeks later, it happens.  Yes, the manager phoned the police.

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As Real As It Gets

29 01 2009
I’ve just left my distraught child at Nursery, being comforted in the arms of another woman.
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He was distraught as he has a cold, and is clingy, and we took an unscheduled stop on the journey in, and he ‘lost’ his toy car out of his pocket. (It wasn’t lost, just not in his pocket.)
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In the life of a small child, these are big deals.
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Enough of a big deal, that he required some real, and sustained cuddling from Mummy, before he could bear to move on and play. Extremely unusual, in a child normally far more resilient to stress, and pain, than his peers.
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The reason why he was crying in another woman’s arms?
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My little boy was so deeply upset, he wanted to nurse, for comfort and love. Had I been able to nurse him, just for a few moment, he’d have recovered on his own, and gone off to play under his own steam. He would have taken control of his own distress.
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Unable to allow him this heinous act, in a Nursery of other children, I had to refuse, and load on distress, rather than provide him comfort.
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I then had to allow another woman, to sweep him up into her arms, and comfort him. As I was now a source of distress, it was better for me to leave, and allow another to take my place.
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Because my body, and what I do with it as a mother, is socially controlled. As a woman, my mothering, and my body, is controlled by the gaze of others. I didn’t even feel I could ask to withdraw to a private space, as I didn’t want the entire “she’s a freak” thing to enter into my, and my son’s, relationship at his wonderful Nursery. I was too afraid. Too scared.
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The next time someone tells me that ‘discretion’ in breastfeeding isn’t a feminist issue, or that they have the right to determine how, where, and when, I offer my breast to my child, I’m likely to punch them in the face.
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Breastfeeding is not Lewd

28 01 2009




David Cameron Responds…

20 01 2009

Dear Mrs Gallagher,
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I am writing on behalf of David Cameron to thank you for your recent e-mail, following the launch of our campaign on Labour’s debt crisis.
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We are glad you have had an opportunity to watch our campaign video, which features a baby to highlight how every child born in Britain this year will be burdened with Gordon Brown’s debt.
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We certainly take on board the points you make about breastfeeding, which is clearly good for babies, especially in the early weeks. But David believes that we must not place undue pressure on mothers who do not feel breastfeeding is right for them. Likewise, there certainly should be no obstacle for those who want to breastfeed. This is why we believe that more public places should provide facilities for breastfeeding. Most crucially, we believe it is important that mothers, with the support of their partners, can make an informed choice.
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Our campaign neither promotes nor endorses one way for feeding babies over another. Rather, our poster and accompanying video are about stopping this Government before they bankrupt our economy and bankrupt our children’s future. We strongly believe children, like the baby featured in our campaign, deserve better. I do hope you agree.
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Thank you, again, for taking the time and trouble to get in touch and for following our campaign.
Yours sincerely,
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Lara Moreno Perez
Office of the Leader of the Opposition
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA
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Dear Mr Cameron,
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Thanks you so much for your email to me via Lara Moreno Perez. Ms Perez sent me a nice email about breastfeeding, and your personal opinions about it. Which was interesting.
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I was, however, wondering when I might receive a reply to my email? I wrote to you about two matters, one, the Conservative Party upholding bottlefeeding in a promotional video, and two, the Conservative Party not being open to contact by members of the general public? Might there be a reply to these two issues at some point? I still have not had any response from the lady I left an answer message for, for instance.
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Whilst, as I said, I do appreciate the discussion on breastfeeding, I did actually write to you about the global problem on promoting bottlefeeding. I didn’t write to you about breastfeeding. In fact, I copy my original letter here: I use the word breastfeeding once, in relations to the higher NHS costs with those babies who are not breastfed. My letter was about images of bottlefeeding, not breastfeeding at all. I feel I need to make that very clear again, given the strange response your office sent.
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Inappropriate bottle feeding – regardless of what’s in the bottle – kills 4000 babies every day. That’s why there is an international standard on the marketing of bottles and teats. This is the issue I raised, and the issue I would like an answer on please. I am not writing about breastfeeding, and I don’t need any response about breastfeeding. I would like an answer on the use of bottles in this video, and why the Conservative Party feels it’s okay to ignore the global impact of bottle use in your video? If it helps narrow it down for you, this issue I’m raising is how the Conservative Party can ignore the following resolution, of which the UK is a signatory:
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Article 2. Scope of the Code
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The Code applies to the marketing, and practices related thereto, of the following products: …
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…feeding bottles and teats…
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Article 5. The general public and mothers
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5.1 There should be no advertising or other form of promotion to the general public of products within the scope of this Code.
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Therefore, my question to you is very clear: given the statement in Article 5.1 in The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, that there should be no promotional material directed to the general public containing images of bottles and teats… how can the Conservative Party justify making a promotional video containing these images? Further, and this is a direct question to you, does the Conservative Party support The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes?
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I would like a response about the fact that no one has returned my call, and reception has stated that members of the general public are not allowed to speak to anyone direct, in any other offices, when they phone through.
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I look forward to your reply.
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Morgan Gallagher
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(And I’m not a ‘Mrs’ and do not feel it’s the role of the Conservative Party to assume I am, and address me thus.)
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Dear Mr Cameron,
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It’s simply unacceptable that the Conservative Party has produced a promotional video using a young baby being bottle fed.
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It’s also completely unacceptable that as a Party, you are not responding to complaints about it. Hence my emailing you!
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I phoned Conservative HQ this afternoon, after being alerted to this offensive video. I was sent to an ansa phone, as the single person who takes calls, was ‘out to lunch’. When asked to be put onto an actual person, or the Press Office, my request was refused. I was told ‘the lady who answers questions’ would phone me back. Needles to say she hasn’t. Needless to say, no one at Conservative HQ is listening – you won’t even take phone calls!
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Are you, as a party, not aware of international politics? Are you not aware that in 1981, the World Health Assembly introduced a code of conduct on the marketing of breastmilk substitutes – specifically detailing baby bottles and teats – and that under this Code, marketing and promotion of baby bottles and teats is banned? And this is the image you’ve chosen in your video?
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The UK is a signatory of Code, Mr Cameron, and Code is there to protect babies from dying. 4000 babies die EVERY DAY from unsafe bottle practises, that is why there is a Code in the first place. And your party video upholds bottle feeding!
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It doesn’t matter one jot what’s in that bottle Mr Cameron – bottle feeding kills babies. It’s the bottle that causes the disease and death, in hygiene poor areas. Further, bottle feeding costs the NHS a fortune every year. The increased risk in health from not breastfeeding, results in a huge increase in NHS treatments for such babies. And there you are, promoting bottle feeding whilst complaining about money being spent by the Government. You’re even showing the baby being fed in a dangerous manner! Flat on the back like that, is high risk, and the NHS leaflets explain this out to mothers, and show them how to bottle feed more safely.
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This is a tremendous ‘own goal’ by your party. Please do the right thing, and remove this bottle feeding image. If you think the storm of protest today is bad, just wait until the message spreads a bit more. Mothers care passionately about the health of babies Mr Cameron, and it is utterly unsupportable that the Conservative Party should be so cavalier about babies’ health.
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Your message about 17 thousand pounds, is secondary to the message that the Conservative Party promotes bottle feeding.
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Please change that.
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Morgan Gallagher
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Extremely Irate Mother





Child Led Weaning Survey

18 01 2009

If you would like to help out with some research at the University of Nottingham on Baby Led Weaning, please email Dr Ellen Townsend

(ellen.townsend@nottingham.ac.uk).

We are looking for parents of children (currently aged 20-72 months) who have been weaned using BLW, to complete a questionnaire on their experience of BLW and their child’s food preferences”.





Mommy In The Morning

15 01 2009
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Original artwork by Shona Begg. Who assures me that her four year old helped a lot, not just by posing, but by finger painting in the sky. And giving it its title. 🙂
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Because sometimes, we just need to remember the joy!
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The Party is not for Listening – Tories & Bottlefeeding

15 01 2009
On Monday, the Conservative Party launched a campaign video. It’s on their own party website, and their official YouTube one.
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It features a four week old baby, reclined back, being force fed from a massive baby bottle.
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From the political party hoping to be in charge of the Health Service. From the political party hoping to take over the UK’s global obligations on the world stage.
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From the political party hoping for your vote.
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Two truly interesting things about this. Mothers picked up on these images, and acted, within hours of the the campaign launch.
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The Conservative Party, four days later, has still to even respond to their efforts. It’s pretty clear to me – No One Is Listening.
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Personally, in an attempt to get an understanding of how this happened, what their intent was, and where this video was going to be shown, I contacted the Conservative Party direct. On phoning them, and explaining my business, I was put through to an answer-phone to leave a message. This was lunchtime, Monday. I phoned switchboard back, explained I had serious concerns, and wanted to speak to someone. Not possible. “The lady who answers information enquiries..” would pick up the message. “She was at lunch.” Could I speak to the press office? “No.” Can I speak to anyone at all? “No.”
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I left a message. I explained clearly it was a really important matter, and I required information.
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No one has replied.
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The next day, I emailed David Cameron. Explained there was no response, no way of getting through, could someone help?
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No one has replied.
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Some mothers, who have contacted their own Conservative MPs, were told their complaints were passed on. I’m not aware of any actual responses to the complaints.
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The bottle feeding images are still in the video. Despite it being perfectly clear that many people have informed the Conservative Party that this is a massive own goal in their publicity machine. That baby bottle deaths are a serious international issue. That their own credibility is on the line, in terms of them both understanding the global issues, the domestic health issues, and their own ability to listen to the electorate. The images are still there – they have still yet to respond.
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On the YouTube site, you can find people complaining – including me. No official response at all. In fact, one other commentator, has suggested the outraged complaints about the bottle feeding image, is a Labour ‘plot’ to discredit the Tories.
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As if.
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The Tories are doing all the damage themselves, I assure you.
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What to do about it? Well, direct complaints to the Conservative Party can be sent here.
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Otherwise… it depends where this video appears. Political parties can not put campaign videos on television, so you shouldn’t see it there. Sometimes, however, such videos are shown in the cinema, and in print. If you see these images, in the cinema, or in a magazine, then you can complain to the Advertising Standards Authority. You need to be very specific about where, and when, you saw it.
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OFCOM wouldn’t normally be involved in such complaints. However, after I chatted with them on Monday, they said that as it is a political party, they’d like to be informed if people do complain, so complain to them as well. However, this is only if the video appears outside cyber space. Like the ASA, a complaint can only be made if the images appear in mainstream media: in the cinema, on a broadcast channel, in print. So, again, you need to state where and when you saw it. No one can act for YouTube and the Conservative Party internal website.
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If they act at all, that is.
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For, of course, we’re slam bang in the middle of more gray areas in the UK’s protection legislation on Code, and how well we do, or don’t, enforce it. The Tories aren’t selling you bottles or teats. They’re just using the images, blindly, and with no understanding or respect for the issues. They are acting irresponsibly, unethically… they’re being quite thick, really. Stupid. Insensitive. Ignorant. But are they breaching broadcast guidelines…? Only way to really find out, is to complain, and see what happens.
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Might as well, should it turn up in paid slots somewhere. It’s not as if they are listening to complaints direct to them!
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You can also report the video to the Baby Law Feeding Group, and see if adding your voice to others, helps somehow, somewhere. Sending them money for their work, would also help in the long run. Or sending money to Baby Milk Action, for the same.
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People do bottle feed. Images of such, in appropriate forums, such as dramas, documentaries, educational material.. they are acceptable. Especially when done responsibly, and with an eye to Code, whether it technically covers the material, or not.
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Nothing about the bottle feeding in this promotion for a political party hoping to gain Government, is remotely responsible, or appropriate. And the party’s refusal to engage with the complaints, or the issues, speaks volumes: gives out a very clear message.
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And it’s not a good message, in terms of gaining people’s trust, and garnering their vote. Or saving babies’ lives.
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