March hares . .
❶ Questions have been raised in the mainstream media about how the MOMO internet child suicide story spread and was apparently validated, even by the police, leading to fears that children everywhere would be falling prey to a death wish. The answer lies with the media itself, of course, ever gullible for stories which stoke up hysteria. It turns out that the MOMO thing was completely untrue. In terms of how a story can be exaggerated and even turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy, I make no apology for comparing that story to the story of ‘endemic’ anti-semitism in the Labour Party. When people have complained of anti-semitism in Labour, journalists have been reluctant to question it. Is this because they don’t want to be excluded from the feeding frenzy, or fear being out-of-line? So claims are made – e.g. Margaret Hodge’s now discredited figures – and they are taken at face value. Unlike MOMO however, we know that behind this story there is a motive. (And to be clear I am NOT saying that a small number of party members have not displayed anti-semitism.)
❷ Another story this week, which I have found slightly discombobulating is that of the case, now leading to a retrial, of Sally Challen who killed her husband Richard after it is alleged she suffered years of mental torment. The merits of the case are now to be determined again. What is slightly unnerving is seeing one’s own name – rarely if ever seen in the press or TV – now so prominent in what was originally a murder case. Challens are fairly rare up north, but the name is commoner down south, especially in Sussex. The deceased husband in the case, Richard also has a first name that was common in the male line of my family tree. Were we distant cousins? One is forced to look at the pictures to see if one can detect physical resemblances. It’s ridiculous. My side of the family left for Canada in 1859.
❸ The U.S. has published its proposals for a US/UK trade deal, and yes, chlorinated chicken is there according to reports this morning. Reading the Grocer online, a bit from an article from 2017 caught my eye:
“In a piece from 2014, Monica Goyens of the EU consumer body BEUC wrote: “Essentially, what we are concerned about is not just the chemical itself, but rather the risk that these treatments will be seen as the “easy fix” to clean up dirty meat. Let’s be clear – no chemical rinse will ever remove all bacteria from meat heavily contaminated as a result of poor hygiene.”
Other than Dr Fox, does anyone else think this is a good idea?
Yes. The Adam Smith Institute says there are good reasons for the UK to scrap EU rules that currently ban chlorine-treated poultry in this country. In a new briefing paper called Chlorinated chicken - Why You Shouldn’t Give A Cluck, it argues British consumers could enjoy much cheaper poultry if the ban on chlorine treatment were lifted. “US methods produce fresh chicken at 79% of the price of equivalent birds on British supermarket shelves,” it says.” (full article here)
It’s all so predictable isn’t it? Lower standards in animal welfare means higher usage of chemicals but it’s all cheaper for the consumer. Glad I’m a veggie.
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