Mumsnet not going to the Baby Show

(103 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Oct-08 12:31:33

As some of you may we've been umming and ahhing about whether to have a stall at the forthcoming Baby Show because it came to our attention that the organisers also host an arms fair. See this thread for the reasons/debate. Well we've cogitated, ruminated and whatever else that annoying Canadian bloke does, and we've decided not to go.

In truth we are still a bit in two minds about this - as it seems the Mumsnet community is - but we feel we need to do a bit more research/ thinking on it and generally think that it's best to err on the side of caution.

Obviously we think nasty weapons sales to evil regimes is bad - that's an easy one. Whether Clarion (the events organiser) and by extension the Baby Show should be held responsible for organising a legal event however is slightly more tricky in our minds at least. And something we'd like to think about a little more before we start banging a campaign drum about it.

Thanks to all for your input - please do continue to add your thoughts/perspective as it's very helpful for us and sorry to all those who offered to represent us at the Baby Show and who will be disappointed not to go there. We appreciate the offer of your time and hopefully they'll be other events.


GordonTheGhoul Mon 13-Oct-08 12:35:56

Boo hooooooooooooo.

PuzzleRocks Mon 13-Oct-08 12:36:32

Hooray - I went last year and it was seriously naff!

PsychoAxeMurdererMum Mon 13-Oct-08 12:40:54

I am one of those that offered, and yes, I am a wee bit disapointed, especially as it was going to be time away from the psycho ones[winks].

I know that your reasons are for the weapons issues, but however, going on the amount of trolling recently, I think you have made the right descision.

tis a shame, but there will be, I am sure, other opportunities to get yourselves known to genuine new posters.

also, really, anyone who joins up at the moment are going to possibly have a rough ride getting themselves known etc.....given how suspicious everyone is right now.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Oct-08 12:44:50

Don't be sad PsychoAxeMurdererMum (have to smile writing that) - believe me we've been here before a few times - trolls, folk leaving, doom and misery - but it always rights itself in the end, as there are always more folk interested in making others lives easier than the reverse, thank goodness.

Flamesparrow Mon 13-Oct-08 12:45:14


PsychoAxeMurdererMum Mon 13-Oct-08 12:58:24

at makin you smile!!!

PsychoAxeMurdererMum Mon 13-Oct-08 12:59:03

<<hijack>>....flame, shall we lie???winkwink

MerlinsBeard Mon 13-Oct-08 13:01:41

when is the baby show?

MerlinsBeard Mon 13-Oct-08 13:02:50

oh its ok, found it and its London so not the adventure i thought it would be for you 2!(I thought it would be Birmingham for some reason!)

policywonk Mon 13-Oct-08 13:09:49

At the risk of sucking some serious arse, can I just say that I really appreciate the fact that you take the trouble to consult us about things like this, and that you are prepared to put ethics before profit on a regular basis (WRT your advertising policies). You are a shining example of corporate social responsibility.

<extracts nose from MNHQ's virtual bum>

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Oct-08 13:15:29

Of course you can say that, Policywonk. You can say it on a daily basis if you like grin. And thanks.

Jux Mon 13-Oct-08 13:15:32

Thank you.

pReachyTheExorcist Mon 13-Oct-08 13:26:33

I think the right decision.

Psycho's point re trolls is good too- Just this weekend I spoke to two lovely lurkers who are too afrad to post because of some of the nastier postings. Both are sn famillies and isolated so I thought even more sad really.

FeelingLucky Mon 13-Oct-08 13:30:16

Have you told Clarion that you thought about having a stall at Baby Show but decided against it after lots of ummming and ahhhing and consultation with your X number of members?
Might make them think again about their own direct dealings with arms sales?

Merrylegs Mon 13-Oct-08 13:31:37

FWIW -think 'that annoying Canadian bloke' is actually from Boston. Us Canadians don't talk that way thank you (and actually neither do any Bostonians I know)

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Oct-08 13:33:44

We haven't told Clarion yet FeelingLucky but it's on the to do list don't worry.

wonderstuff Mon 13-Oct-08 13:43:00

What policywonk said, good call smile

wonderstuff Mon 13-Oct-08 13:43:10

What policywonk said, good call smile

FlameCod Mon 13-Oct-08 13:48:57

Lol I was considering lying so I could go see MRM or Kelly, then realised I was already worrying about how I was going to pay to get there anyway

TinkerBellesMum Mon 13-Oct-08 15:32:15

mumofmonsters that's in May.

Thanks for letting us know Justine, TBD has been trying to put me off anyway as he thinks it wouldn't be an easy journey from Croydon with a pair of crutches. If you do decide to attend the Birmingham show next year I will be more than happy to help out and would even do the whole weekend if you needed it. Plenty of time to decide though

Personally I don't think it's a problem, it is a legal event and for plenty of people guns are a hobby or part of their job. There are some stupid people out there who are irresponsible with guns, but then there are with lots of other thing too.

hana Mon 13-Oct-08 16:01:52

what does him (whoever he is?) being Canadian have to do with anything?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Oct-08 16:43:52

Only his strong Canadian accent, which is apparently Bostonian...

ilovemydog Mon 13-Oct-08 17:47:46

Nothing wrong with being American!

Bride1 Mon 13-Oct-08 18:15:21

So those countries we regard as good and democratic and who, we'd say, have a right to defend themselves... When they want to buy arms, where should they go?

ThreadieKrueger Mon 13-Oct-08 18:20:27

Well, I was going to state my sincere approval of your decision, but policywonk's association of that statement with the sucking of serious arses has put me off.

(I only suck frivolous arses.)

ilovemydog Mon 13-Oct-08 18:23:29

not to the baby show?

edam Mon 13-Oct-08 18:25:09

I like the fact that MN HQ think about these sort of things. Whatever you think about arms sales, the way legitimate democratic protesters are treated outside that big arms fair at excel is appalling.

Seem to recall the Lancet put a lot of pressure on Reed, who publish New Scientist among other titles, to drop their involvement in an arms exhibition. Quite right too.

You either want to be in the business of nice smiling gurgling baby stuff or in the business of killing people. Trying to take money from both markets seems rather amoral.

theSuburbanDryad Mon 13-Oct-08 18:39:26

Thank you for making this decision, and thank you for taking the time to discuss it with us.

Did you get in touch with Mark Thomas in the end? If you are going to bang a campaign drum (and I'm not saying you should, by any means, but if you were to...) then he'd be the person to talk to!


AbricotsSecs Mon 13-Oct-08 19:05:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VictorianSqualorSquelchNSquirm Mon 13-Oct-08 19:13:21

Good call.
Makes me proud to say that the forum I choose to be a part of has ethics and actually cares what the posters think.

I disagree with your decision, but agree mightily with (and appreciate) your consultation process.

verylapsedrunner Mon 13-Oct-08 19:31:00

I can't face typing a fullscale reply but just wanted to say my bit. I'm a Mum and a serving Army Officer, albeit now only very, very part time in the TA (used to be a Regular). I've just spent the weekend doing my annual weapons training....does this mean I will be blacklisted from Mumsnetsad......just remember there is always more to these problems than meets the eye hmm

BBBee Mon 13-Oct-08 19:37:31

prinicples and consulataion - how refreshing.

policywonk Mon 13-Oct-08 19:46:26

lapsedrunner - speaking for myself (and, I think, for quite a few of us who were opposed to the arms fair connection), this wasn't an objection to the UK armed forces - it's quite a seperate issue. It was an objection to the international arms trade as it currently exists. It's been shown, time and again, to be utterly corrupt. Its influence is particularly wicked in developing countries, where autocratic leaders are only too happy to take massive bribes from arms companies, and spend national revenue on weapons instead of the food, healthcare and education that their citizens so desperately need. (Not to say that leaders of Western nations are not happy to take bribes too, mind.)

It's just a wicked and corrupt industry.

VictorianSqualorSquelchNSquirm Mon 13-Oct-08 19:55:14

Wot PW said. Also these fairs have actually been sold by the previous owners due to boycotts and other ethical protests, then Clarion went and bought them all up, so it wasn't as if they weren't aware of the controversy surrounding them.

policywonk Mon 13-Oct-08 19:58:23


I do know how to spell it. Jeez.blush

Habbibu Mon 13-Oct-08 20:04:20

Agree with pw - I do hope those who are/have partners serving in the armed forces don't think this is about them. It's about the trade, and the shameless way it takes money from corrupt and vile regimes. Good stuff, MNHQ.

verylapsedrunner Mon 13-Oct-08 20:12:26

The problem is that in reality you can't separate between our "UK Armed Forces" and the "corrupt and vile regimes". They all buy and sell at the same exhibitions.......

Take for example BAE Systems, presumably this is OK but this is not?

Good nightwink

ilovemydog Mon 13-Oct-08 20:15:41

I think there's a difference between a legitimate and illegimate regime.

policywonk Mon 13-Oct-08 20:22:00

lapsed - the arms companies don't want to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate regimes. They just want to maximise profits. They wouldn't know a moral compass if it bit them on the arse.

As for BAe - I think the answer to that one is that only recently, BAe escaped a corruption inquiry because Saudi Arabia blackmailed the British government into dropping it. Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, all BAe products are highly suspect, wind farms or weaponry. In any other industry, BAe would have been publically disgraced long ago.

verylapsedrunner Mon 13-Oct-08 20:26:05

Apologies, got to go and repack my kit now just in case my mobilistaion papers arrive in the post tomorrow post hmmhmm

NotAnOtter Mon 13-Oct-08 20:38:02

as a lifelong CND er


kisses and free love


bundle Mon 13-Oct-08 20:40:55

<peers round policywonk's brown nose>

Well Done! you were...

good, I'm glad.
but would also like to echo policywonk, there is a difference (or at least I'm prepared to grant that there could and should be) between an industry selling death machines to the highest bidder and the UK armed forces.
and would not like service personnel to feel unwelcome here.

WideWebWitch Mon 13-Oct-08 21:01:06

Good on you I think, well done, you're a business that does the right thing.

WideWebWitch Mon 13-Oct-08 21:02:29

And I also appreciate the fact that you want to know what people think about it. Good for you.

hunkermunker Mon 13-Oct-08 21:12:44

Good call, Justine.

Agree with Policywonk.

Did you get in touch with Mark Thomas?

hunkermunker Mon 13-Oct-08 21:13:26

Oh, and the Baby Show was shit when I went to it (I got free tickets) - paying to go and be advertised at? Weird idea.

berolina Mon 13-Oct-08 21:47:10

Policywonk, perfectly said.

totalmisfit Mon 13-Oct-08 22:11:24

what's to um and ar about? babies = good. Arms dealing= kills lots of babies in cold blood along with their families. Bad.

It seems rather odd to bang on and on about the former whilst supporting the latter so of course MN made the right choice. Don't mumble and apologise and stare at your shoes - shout it from the rooftops. you did a good thing.

solo Mon 13-Oct-08 22:16:12

Policywonk, did you try to CAT me a few days ago? if so, I may have deleted you without opening the e mail...

fortyplus Mon 13-Oct-08 22:16:24

I do agree, but I want to play Devil's advocate for a moment... For example... How far would you take this argument? British Aerospace make parts for the Airbus and also manufacture warplanes and ammunition. Will you be boycotting airlines that fly their planes? Or is the lure of cheap flights too attractive for your principles to apply in the same way?

edam Mon 13-Oct-08 22:56:42

what about expensive flights, fortyplus - if you go first class on airbus, is that OK? grin

Seriously, I'm all in favour of British Aerospace earning their money from legitimate activities such as selling civilian planes, or selling planes to the RAF and democratic countries where people have a say in the decisions of those in power.

Not that I've actually been on a plane in I don't know how long anyway.

fortyplus Mon 13-Oct-08 23:11:34


It was the bit about... 'it came to our attention that the organisers also host an arms fair. ' So they don't actually make guns themselves? They just enter into a commercial arrangement to allow their premises to be used by a perfectly legal business?

Very fine principles, indeed, but it made me wonder how much thought would go into upholding them under a different set of circumstances.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Oct-08 23:20:11

Yes we take your point Fortyplus and lapsedrunner - it's not simple. As said we are a little in two minds and no we've not yet started beating the campaign drum (and called Mark Thomas). But on balance I think we feel better for not going than we would if we'd gone, which is usually a good sign.

fortyplus Mon 13-Oct-08 23:26:28

I think that gives you your answer, then. smile

ilovemydog Mon 13-Oct-08 23:26:46

mark thomas - the bostonian who sounds canadian?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Oct-08 23:28:41

Is that what he was called? No someone must remember his name - he's the one who makes the sauces...

fortyplus Mon 13-Oct-08 23:31:01

Thought that was Paul Newman?

combustiblelemon Mon 13-Oct-08 23:31:24

Lloyd Grossman

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Oct-08 23:32:01

That's him - is he from Boston then?

fortyplus Mon 13-Oct-08 23:32:58

Unless it's that Jamaican Rasta who makes the Reggae Reggae sauce? grin

combustiblelemon Mon 13-Oct-08 23:33:22

No, he's from MasterChef

fortyplus Mon 13-Oct-08 23:33:28

JustineMumsnet - PN or LG?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Oct-08 23:34:53

I don't think PN ruminated - though if he had he would have done it adorably...

combustiblelemon Mon 13-Oct-08 23:36:26

Yes he's from Boston.

No-one appreciates my jokes. I'm going to the garden to eat worms. In an Arrabiata sauce.

fortyplus Mon 13-Oct-08 23:40:02

I just don't watch enough tv! grin

ilovemydog Mon 13-Oct-08 23:48:43

Paul Newman is dead.

Lloyd Grossman is not.

Both make pasta sauces

Do not understand link of baby show/no arms deals and pasta sauces, possibly salad dressings.

combustiblelemon Mon 13-Oct-08 23:54:32

Justine said "we've cogitated, ruminated and whatever else that annoying Canadian bloke does," about MN deciding not to go to the show. He's not Canadian he's from Boston. He used to say 'we've cogitated and ruminated' before anouncing the judges' choice on MasterChef. He is called Lloyd Grossman. Not Paul Newman. Though they do both have pasta sauce ranges. And one is dead.

fortyplus Tue 14-Oct-08 00:03:47

Maybe there's an annoying Canadian, too? wink

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 14-Oct-08 00:05:56

Almost certainly. (You knew what I meant though, right? He does sound a bit Canadian...)

fortyplus Tue 14-Oct-08 00:12:40

Now that you come to mention it!

he does not. not even a little bit. you need to speak to more canadians.

hana Tue 14-Oct-08 10:29:55

gawd he doesn't sound remotely Cdn! Or even American, he's developed his own accent.

but plenty of annoying Cdns out there am sure.....excluding those on mnet threads natch.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 14-Oct-08 11:49:17

Do I have to purplemonkey? wink.

Ahem. I have worked with Lloyd Grossman and he is a lovely man in real life. Talks like a sensible person, not a plonker - despite his TV persona - and his accent is not nearly as strong in RL.

Tells dire jokes, though.

That's it! Justine - you are on THE LIST!
<takes out scroll and red pen>

grin wink

RunnyGrobbles Mon 12-Mar-12 07:59:19

I support this 100%.

The link on Hackney doula's blog Mentioned a 'list of banned advertisers'. Is it possible that this list could be made public? It might cause some drama initially but would be nice and transparent and probably would make it easier to debate things.

Was not opposed to the sex shop adverts but ultimately I think it was v. good that it was discussed and they were removed since that was the consensus.

Flisspaps Mon 12-Mar-12 08:33:07

I never knew Loyd Grossman wasn't a Canadian.

Tee2072 Mon 12-Mar-12 08:46:15

According to Wiki (so take it with a whole shaker of salt) his accent is Mid-Atlantic. Whatever the hell that means.

Why has this sudenky been bumped?

LadyFingers Mon 12-Mar-12 08:55:51

weevils opening up the kink in the space-time continuum again.

QuintessentialyHollow Mon 12-Mar-12 08:56:34

What the Actual Fuck.

Justine. This is ridiculous. What a ridiculous thing. That is like shooting yourself in the foot.

The target group of the Baby show is parents of babies, not Gadaffis in waiting!

I cannot walk down the street, because there might be criminals there, and there might be prostitutes, and I cant be associated with any of these, oh no!

Am I nmissing zonethin?

QuintessentialyHollow Mon 12-Mar-12 09:05:42

I am NOT going to be infected by Nestle, if I shop in Boots, or Tesco, or any shop that also sells Nestle products.

You are NOT supporting the arms trade by going to the Baby Show, you are not.

You are not giving out any good, or decent, or justifiable messages by not taking part of the event. You are telling the world that the other exhibitors (and possibly also the attendees to any Clarion event), in your opinion, are in fact supporting the arms trade, and would not that harm advertising revenue more?
You are coming across as rather Square.

QuintessentialyHollow Mon 12-Mar-12 09:06:50

If, on the other hand you were to say that you would not go to the Baby show as you dont see that a website have much to offer on a stand, or that it is naff, that is in itself a legitimate reason.

QuintessentialyHollow Mon 12-Mar-12 09:07:10

Rant Over.

now coffee.

Quint this is 2008. Or is it happening again?

Labootin Mon 12-Mar-12 09:09:59

This thread is four years old

Labootin Mon 12-Mar-12 09:10:46

Is it a cunning ploy to show how MN is more commercial these days and thus are now arms dealing ...

Labootin Mon 12-Mar-12 09:11:39

Justines got a brand new Uzi .

Labootin Mon 12-Mar-12 09:13:28

Penny drops on the I'm watching you photo...

Ex CIA was all a deep undercover plot

Do like all the talk of trolls and invasions and hoe mn will never be the same smile

ElephantsAreMadeOfElements Mon 12-Mar-12 09:22:37

Quint, Quint, Quint... this was four years ago, and there was a big debate about it all over MN at the time before MNHQ made this decision -- in fact they made the decision because of a substantial group of MNers who thought they should. IIRC the point was that the previous organisers of the arms fair had just quit doing it because of the negative publicity, and Clarion had just taken it over -- so it was more of a message to Clarion that their actively choosing to support the arms trade would have repercussions in their other business dealings. But, as I say, it was four years ago so I may not be RC.

Y'know this will be one of 'those' threads don't you?

You know, all very quiet and hush hush and nothing whatsoever to do with the security services sending each other coded messages through forum threads.

<pulls on night vision goggles>

<purchased from National Geographic natch>

<not nasty arms fair baby people>

QuintessentialyHollow Mon 12-Mar-12 09:29:50


Oh no.

I have fallen victim to Evil Thread Resurrection?

If I am not mistaken, I was heavily against it back then. Eh time flies....

Labootin Mon 12-Mar-12 10:07:51

Are we going back in time today theres something about it on the meet our bloggers bit on home page

Plot thickens.....

Told you.

pulls out OFRS and makes call to friendly ex-bf who works for GCHQ

PrisonerOfWaugh Mon 12-Mar-12 10:22:43

Look at some of the names that posted <sob>

(was like putting on an old comfy coat that fit)

BerryLellow Mon 12-Mar-12 10:28:33

I was just reading this thinking oh look Policywonk and VictorianSqualor are posting, how nice. Durrrr

How on earth did this pop up? confused

mrstiggywinks Thu 03-May-12 15:52:46

Could mumsnet have their own event please! I was planning on attending the baby show but now having second thoughts. Could do with some bargains before I pop sad

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