Thank You Struan Stevenson, MEP

20 04 2009
.Lest We Forget The Point!
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(No, this isn’t the poster – see links below,
this is to remind you WHY Code was brought in!)
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A huge Thank You, Gold Star, and *round of applause* to Struan Stevenson, Conservative MEP for Scotland.
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Scots Tory MEP, Struan Stevenson, has attacked a European Parliament advert for its ‘inappropriate use of a baby bottle’ calling for the poster to be withdrawn.
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The European Parliament’s news service poster has been designed to illustrate the campaign for the forthcoming Euro elections on 4th June 2009. But, according to Struan Stevenson, the bottle undermines breastfeeding and is in breach of a strict International Code of Breast-milk Substitutes which forbids virtually all forms of advertisements and marketing methods for breast milk substitutes to the general public.
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The European Parliament’s ad asks the question “how should we help balance family and career?” and goes on to raise issues of gender equality, implying that women still get a raw deal compared to men in Europe and urging people to vote in the Euro elections to ensure better equal opportunities in future.
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Speaking out against the use of the baby bottle, Scottish Conservative Euro MP Struan Stevenson said:
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“The European Parliament really hasn’t done itself any favours with this advert. If the concept was to generate interest and raise awareness of gender equality ahead of the European elections in June, then why did it use an image of a baby’s bottle next to a laptop computer? There are so many other images it could have used in its attempt to contrast family and career issues.
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“It is frustrating to think that the EU has totally failed to appreciate the inappropriateness of this image. I intend to find out why this image was chosen and ideally I would like to see this poster withdrawn from use.”
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Email him and thank him. Politicians need to hear gratitude more than they need to hear complaints. Thank you Struan! (Who will understand the magnitude of that thanks, from a former Lanarkshire Labour Lass!)
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Coverage has been growing:
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The Observer managed to carry a small piece last weekend.
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Women across Britain are campaigning for the withdrawal of a poster promoting the European parliamentary elections in June. The poster features a laptop and a baby’s milk bottle above the slogan: “How should we help balance family and career?”
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The image has roused controversy among mothers who claim it “shows bottle feeding as a lifestyle choice to enable a
work-life balance“. Yesterday many people were using parenting website Mumsnet to urge others to complain to MEPs. Justine Roberts, co-founder of the website, said: “They could have used a way of expressing breast milk to promote the work-life balance.”
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Andrew Duff MEP, leader of the Liberal Democrat European Parliamentary party, said: “All agencies agree that breastfeeding is the best start for babies.”
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Gabrielle Palmer was interviewed by the Irish Times.
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Gabrielle Palmer, author of The Politics of Breastfeeding , is a long- time advocate of breastfeeding. She too has criticised the EU postcard. “I think it’s such an insult to symbolise family life with a bottle.”
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She says millions of euros is spent on promoting baby food and bottle formula in defiance of a World Health Organisation (WHO) code.
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“It’s very successful because they’ve changed the culture,” she explains, pointing to the shift from breastfeeding that occurred across the developed world once formula feeds were introduced.
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“To me, it’s a pincer movement between health service incompetence and ignorance, and marketing. They work terribly well together.”
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Food and Drink Europe.Com
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“The use of this image is thoughtless and careless,” said managing director of Real Baby Milk, Arwen Folkes. “The use of this image by a body such as the European Union sadly perpetuates the cultural assumption that bottle feeding is the normal way to feed babies.”
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His group, and others like the UK-based group, Baby Milk Action (BMA), have long been a battle to defend breastfeeding, which has been in decline as bottle-feeding rates have risen.
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The groups believe infant milk and follow-on formula is over-aggressively marketed, which contributes to this decline along with diminished infant health.
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“We are all working hard to change negative social perceptions of breastfeeding and to properly inform and support mothers to give human milk to their babies and thereby improve the health of future generations,” Folkes added.
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He called for the ad to be withdrawn and was joined by Andrew Duff MEP, the UK leader of the Liberal Democrats on the European Union who stated: “This image is not suitable to portray a family, other images could have been used, even a picture of a family.”
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The Parliament’s own media monitoring has registered the issue.
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Call to remove ‘anti-breastfeeding’ poster
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A poster promoting June’s parliament elections has roused controversy amid claims it presents bottle feeding as “a lifestyle choice”.The Observer reports that women across Britain are campaigning for the poster – which depicts a laptop and baby’s milk bottle with the slogan “how should we help balance family and career?” – to be removed.
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Liberal Democrat European parliamentary party leader Andrew Duff said, “All agencies agree that breastfeeding is the best start for babies.”
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There’s also been a huge roll through on blogs, especially political ones. Go do a search!
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Interestingly, and worryingly, the campaign itself is about to gear up, including displays in shopping centres with video links:
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Later in the campaign – from 4-30 May – 3D installations based on similar themes and multimedia “Choice Boxes” will be placed in city squares or shopping centres. The “Choice Boxes” will be a walk-in interactive multimedia booth in which voters will be able to record a video message giving their views and opinions on the choices facing the European Parliament.
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Aren’t well going to have great fun in those? If anyone sees the posters, or these interactive video boxes – Let Me Know!
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