Tuesday, 20 January 2009

David Cameron Responds...

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

4 comments:

Ruth Moss said...

I got a "dear Ruth" - would have been even more pissed off than I already am if they'd called me Mrs Moss. Please do let me know if they respond to your letter!!

Sundancer said...

Gah - they just completely do not get it at all do they? For one thing they've not even answered the email, but on top of that is the comment 'Our campaign neither promotes nor endorses one way for feeding babies over another.' which is completely untrue. anyone that knows anything about advertising would see that.

I'm not too comfortable with a govornment that isn't willing to openly promote one method of feeding over another, much less safe method.

Claire said...

"But David believes that we must not place undue pressure on mothers who do not feel breastfeeding is right for them"

But we can put pressure on breastfeeding mums instead?

arwen_tiw said...

Hmm and showing a baby without a bottle would be putting pressure on mothers to breastfeed? *rolls eyes at that stupid letter*