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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.


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

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.

PrettyCandles Mon 13-Oct-08 19:18:40

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...

madlentileater Mon 13-Oct-08 20:57:16

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.

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