Surprise surprise, when I get home and look the festival up on the internet, it is linked to a breastfeeding manifesto coalition which, I'm sure you really don't need me to tell you, is "in partnership with" (aka coordinated by) the EU, the WHO and all the usual unpleasant suspects, complete with pathetic "celebrity supporters" ie useful idiots.
This is a cross party issue that we feel simply cannot be ignored – it is about public health and breaking down inequalities - together we can lead to lasting change, for future generations. If you are an MP, MSP, AMs or Peer and would like to add your support please email us.Right, as soon as you see, "cross party issue that we feel simply cannot be ignored," we're reminded of the fact democracy is dead and that the supranational busybodies who "know what's best" are going to push their will through whether the public likes it or not.
The manifesto itself has all the usual guilt tripping of how breastfeeding is "good for the environment," complete with the doublespeak of claims to "protect your baby," and utterly unsubtle implications that you are killing your baby if you choose formula milk.
Many mothers are unable to breastfeed for a variety of reasons and this campaign is set out to demonise those mothers who choose formula milk. In New York, hospitals are being forced to "control" formula milk, have it hidden and labelled as a drug, and there's been outrage. In the UK however, there has been no such uproar, even though we are getting worse - a number of hospitals have now banned formula milk, just as in America, yet where's the outcry? There are already talks about decreasing the availability of for formula milk, and no doubt the WHO and chums will pull the strings for this to be the case.
There was an excellent article in the print version of The Spectator a month or so ago, by a woman who chose to switch from breastfeeding to formula milk after a month. She described how she was harassed by the NHS, being sent numerous letters about how she's harming her baby by not breastfeeding, having several unannounced visits from NHS nurses demanding to see her breastfeeding equipment and seeing that it hadn't been used much, chastising with the usual, "DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING TO YOUR BABY?" - the demonisation is now also in full force.
What worries me is that a lot of feminists are also buying into this "you must breastfeed" chorus. This is presumably from the earth mother/hippy/left wing perspective to which most feminists adhere. Their political convictions are blinding them to the huge step back for women this all is. Middle class feminists can happily take time off to play African drum music to their babies while nursing them at their breasts, and can wax lyrical about the joys of being close to nature/"as nature intended"/free of capitalist interference etc but they don't recognise the realities. Apart from the fact that not all mothers can breastfeed, and the NHS has totally unrealistic targets claiming that 99% can (which is uses to justify its bullying) breastfeeding pretty much means you have to be attached to your child 100% of the time. While this may be fine for hippy earth mothers who have nothing better to do than bleat on about "spiritual bonding" anyway, this isn't realistic for the majority of lower income working mothers, and anyway since when was feminism about giving up one's entire life for a "think of the children" mantra.
The stigmatisation and crackdown on mothers' choice is building, and as usual the British public are too dim to see it.
EDIT: With regards to the stigmatisation, I forgot to include this link, where not breastfeeding is equated to AIDS
Formula is a little bit like AIDS. Nobody actually dies from AIDS; what happens is AIDS destroys your immune system and then you just die of anything and that's what happens with formula. It provides no antibodies. Every 30 seconds a baby dies from infections due to a lack of breastfeeding and the use of bottles, artificial milks, and other risky products. Every 30 seconds.