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Neigh, neigh and thrice neigh!!!

This week’s headlines would have been a gift for Frankie Howerd who, for my younger readers, was an English comedian and comic actor who died in 1992.  Famous for several catchphrases, I have used artistic licence to tweak one of these as a headline for this post – I’m sure he would have approved!

You must have been on another planet if you haven’t heard about the outrage of the revelation that the beef content in one Everyday Value burger sold by Tesco was actually 29 per  cent horse meat.Tesco article

There are of course many countries that find eating horsemeat totally acceptable [across Europe and South America for example], but in the UK we seem to find it abhorrent – but the main reason to be scandalised is not that Tesco was selling burgers containing horse, but that they weren’t labelled as such.  It’s not illegal to sell horsemeat in the UK, but it is illegal to sell food containing ingredients that aren’t listed on the label.

Of course the Social Media networks had a field day and the jokes were coming thick and fast.  However, no-one expected Tesco’s themselves to score such a spectacular “own goal” as they did last night when they tweeted this:

Tesco tweet

Despite claims that they had scheduled the tweet before the scandal broke, I can’t help but think this could come back and bite them on their proverbial backside [trying desperately not to succumb here to the temptation of a quip about a horse’s ass].   It may on the other hand prove to be the best marketing strategy ever … only time will tell.

So I leave you with my own favourite tweet on the subject … have a great weekend!

Food allergies are a pain … dairy products make me sneeze and #Tesco burgers make me a little hoarse!!!

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It’s official

salmond sturgeon krankiesSo this morning it has been confirmed that Brussels will definitely refuse to let Scotland  automatically join the European Union if voters back Alex Salmond’s plans for  independence.   Officials at the European Commission have  revealed Scotland’s EU membership will ‘cease to apply’ if it is no longer part  of the UK and the Spanish government has made clear it  would ‘veto’ any attempt by Scotland to join since this would likely bolster calls for Catalonian independence.

Since the acceptance of any new member must be unanimous, this is a major blow [and embarrassment] for Mr  Salmond, who has publicly claimed that Scotland would automatically continue  to be in the Euro bloc.

Surely the last nail in this particular political coffin?

Should this be happening in the 21st Century?

I have just read the most awful story on the BBC News Website!

Headed up “The ‘baby box’ returns to Europe” it goes on to describe how these boxes, which were common in medieval times, where people can leave an unwanted baby, have been making a comeback in recent years!

Supporters say that a heated box, monitored by nurses, is better for babies than abandonment on the street – but the UN says it violates the rights of the child.

“Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states that every child has ‘the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents’ – when a child is abandoned, this right is violated” (source University of Nottingham)

The idea has taken off in various locations across Europe and the statistics currently available from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child are:

Boxes by country:

  • Germany – 99
  • Poland – 45
  • Czech Republic – 44
  • Hungary – 26
  • Slovakia – 16
  • Lithuania – 8
  • Italy – 8 (approx.)
  • Belgium – 1
  • Netherlands – 1 (planned)
  • Switzerland – 1
  • Vatican – 1
  • Canada – 1
  • Malaysia – 1
  • Also exist in Japan and the US

The law in some countries encourages their spread in popularity – in Hungary, for example, it was changed so that leaving a baby in the official baby box was deemed to be a legal act amounting to consent to adoption, while dumping a child anywhere else remains a crime.

Further details discovered about a box in Berlin was that once placed in the box, the baby is apparently supported by the full facilities of a maternity unit. As soon as a baby is in the hatch, an alarm rings and medical staff come, even as the mother walks away unseen. The baby is cared for in the hospital and then fostered before going into the legal system for adoption. In the early period, mothers can return and retrieve their child, but later they can’t – adoption is final.

It’s difficult to find out the full figures of how many relent – the critics of the system say that in Germany it is well-appointed, with the best facilities, but in some of the poorer countries to the east, baby boxes are less well organised.

But at one baby box in Hamburg, for example, there have been 42 babies left in the last 10 years. Seventeen of those mothers have then contacted the organisers, and 14 have taken back their child.

The argument for these boxes has to be that they have to be better than providing no facilities at all and babies being abandoned and perhaps left to die, exposed to the elements.

The argument against is that it sends out the wrong message to pregnant women that they are right to continue hiding their pregnancies, giving birth in uncontrolled circumstances and then abandoning their babies.

There is no clear right or wrong in this – it is an argument between well-meaning people. The one voice never heard is that of the mother who walks the path with the baby she bore secretly hours earlier, to return without the bundle. Her tears and how she feels can barely be imagined.

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