Benefits Street programme sequel to be filmed in Southampton

Benefits_Street

Makers of the controversial Benefits Street documentary are planning a sequel in Southampton.  Love Productions has approached residents in Derby Road, St Mary’s, for the new show that will be called Immigration Street and will focus on the area’s diverse communities.

Harjap Singh, chairman of Sikh Council Hampshire and Southampton Gurdwara Council, said the organisations have raised concerns over the programme.  He said:

“We are against it because it would be pretty bad for community relations.  The Vaisakhi celebrations looks to bring communities together but it seems the programme makers could put certain sections of the community against each other.  A few people I have spoken to have raised concerns and have asked to make sure this doesn’t happen.”

David Bane, secretary of the Southampton Council of Faiths, said the organisation was “cautious”:

“The council of faiths had a meeting last Tuesday and there’s mixed feeling about it.  We don’t have control over what the programme comes out like.  The Southampton Council of Faiths is nearly 19 years old and we have worked very hard to link communities and keep the trust and peace.  Southampton has a history of immigration. We have had people come to this city for years and I think in a way majority of people see it as a real added value to the community – we have around 47 languages spoken here.  We need to be careful.”

However Khalid Farooq, of the Derby Road-based Pakistan Welfare Association said it was an opportunity to show how multi-cultural Derby Road is.  He said:

“I think it’s good. It shows the multi-cultural environment of people living in Derby Road.  They should show a positive aspect of the community.  I think there needs to be more support and show how hard working people are here.”

Cllr Stephen Barnes-Andrew, deputy leader of Southampton City Council and cabinet member for resources, represents the Bevois ward.  He said:

“It is difficult because your whole experience of the programme is sensationalised from James Turner Street in Birmingham and it turned out the whole programme was stage managed.  They have had meetings with council officers on one occasion and said they will try to do a balanced programme.  My view is that on balance looking at previous production it will not be in the interests of people in Southampton as I fear they will be turning to portray a certain angle on the downside of immigration.”

Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead, who represents the area, has spoken of his concern.  He said he was worried that the programme would follow a script rather than tell the truth and reflect the community accurately.  He said:

“Some programmes can be a tremendous fillip and bonus in getting across to the public what the real issues are. I don’t think the company in this instance has a track record to do that.”

Supermarket bans sweets at the checkout

supermarket sweets

The Guardian has reported that Lidl has banned sweets and chocolate bars from the checkout at all 600 of its UK stores after surveying parents about the “pester power” of their children:

The discount supermarket said racks of sweets had been replaced with dried and fresh fruit, oatcakes and juices, following a trial of these healthier options at checkouts last year.

Lidl customer research showed that seven out of 10 customers would choose a sweet-free checkout over the traditional one laden with chocolate bars. In a survey for the supermarket, 68% of parents said they were pestered by their children for chocolate at the checkout, and 66% gave in some or all of the time.

One in six parents told the supermarket they spend £20-40 a month on supermarket snacks, while a similar number said they had used the offer of a “treat” as a reward for good behaviour during the shopping trip.

The supermarket claims it is the first UK supermarket to have removed sweets from all its checkouts. Although Tesco and Sainsbury’s have removed sweets from counters at their larger outlets, they continue to be sold at the checkouts in convenience stores.

Ronny Gottschlich, managing director, Lidl UK, said: “We know how difficult it can be to say no to pester power, so by removing sweets and chocolates from our tills we can make it easier for parents to reward children in healthier ways.”

The ban comes after a National Obesity Forum report showed that previous estimates that half the UK population will be obese by 2050 had understated the problem.

Katharine Jenner at Action on Sugar said campaigners were pleased with Lidl’s decision. “It is an acknowledgement from the retailers that these products are not healthy,” she said, but added: “It is one thing to put people off buying, it is another to make products healthier.”

Shop uses mannequins modelled on the bodies of disabled people

Shop uses mannequins modelled on the bodies of disabled people

A fashion mannequin has an implicit message: this form is beautiful.  If your own body doesn’t look like that form—not even remotely—then you may not feel that way about yourself.

The Swiss charity Pro Infirmis helps people with disabilities. To remind them that they are beautiful, too, they commissioned mannequins modelled on the bodies of four people with disabilities. The video below shows the process. Craftsmen measured the bodies of the models, then reshaped mannequins to fit those specifications.

After finishing construction, Pro Infirmis placed those mannequins, now dressed in fashionable clothing, in a storefront in Zurich. Watch the responses of the models and passersby.

 

What does Joey Essex teach us about Christmas

National Television Awards - Red Carpet Arrivals

Heat Magazine: Will you put a nativity scene under the tree?
Joey Essex: What does that mean?
Heat: You know what a nativity scene is, surely…
Joey: An activity screen? Is it a box you put presents in
Heat: You know, when Jesus was born…
Joey: Oh! The hay round the bottom of the Christmas tree!
Heat: His mum and dad, Mary and Joseph…
Joey: They put him in a cot?
Heat: A crib…
Joey: Like a house? What was that song they used to sing? :Bursts into song “Baby Jesus! Bethlehem! And he used to sit in a little barn?” That was a sick song. I really want to start going to church.
Heat: And the three wise men brought him gold, frankincense and myrh…
Joey: [incredulous] How do you know all of this…

Krish has more on how modern society understands (if at all) what Christmas is about. Here’s the original interview.

UK Teens ‘Tempted’ By Glamorous Cigarette Packaging

Silk Cut

Cancer Research UK study reveals for the first time that glitzy and glamorous cigarette packaging makes children susceptible to smoking — tempting them in to a habit that kills. The research is published in the journal BMJ Open.

The results are further proof that the UK government’s decision not to protect children from the tobacco industry’s marketing practices risks harming the UK’s public health legacy. The government claims it wishes to wait and see the impact of similar moves in Australia – where the weight of evidence led to the introduction of standardized packaging last year.

During this delay the tobacco industry is reaping the benefits of slickly designed packs that help to recruit new smokers. Nearly 570 children under-16 start smoking in the UK every day.

In the new study, researchers at the University of Stirling examined the reactions of 1,025 UK children aged 11-16 who had never tried smoking. They were given three different types of cigarette packs: regular, novelty and standardized packs. Novelty packs were those with an unusual shape, color or system of opening, and included a slim “perfume” type pack and a pack in the shape of a giant lighter. Standardized packs were brown packs of a uniform shape with all branding removed apart from a brand name.

Children preferred the colorful and novelty packs – such as Silk Cut Superslim’s elegant and feminine slim pack shape, Marlborough Bright Leaf’s Zippo style flip-top opening and Pall Mall’s bright pink pack.

Alarmingly children who liked these packs were the same children who said they were more tempted to smoke – for example those receptive to the Silk Cut pack were over four times more likely to be susceptible to smoking than those who were not receptive to this pack.

In contrast plain, standardized packaging reduced the appeal of smoking to the children.

Miley Cyrus hits back at Sinead O’Connor

Yesterday I wrote about how Sinead O’Connor had written an open letter to Miley Cyrus.  Miley Cyrus fired back at “Nothing Compares 2U” singer Sinéad O’Connor on Twitter after O’Connor penned a lengthy and motherly open letter to the provocative 20-year-old.

In the letter, O’Connor claimed that Cyrus is being “prostituted” by the music industry and predicted the former Hannah Montana star would eventually land in rehab.  Sadly Cyrus didn’t take kindly to the advice. She responded with a tweet that poked fun at O’Connor’s 2011 brush with mental health issues. The tweet says, “Before Amanda Bynes…. There was….” and links to O’Connor’s old tweets.

Miley Cyrus tweets

Cyrus followed up that tweet with a photo of O’Connor’s memorable moment in which she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II:

Sinead O'Connor Pope

Not one to back down, O’Connor responded to Cyrus’ tweets in a Facebook post (sadly again full of strong language):

Miley… Really? Who the fuck is advising you? Because taking me on is even more fuckin’ stupid than behaving like a prostitute and calling it feminism. You have posted today tweets of mine which are two years old, which were posted by me when I was unwell and seeking help so as to make them look like they are recent. In doing so you mock myself and Amanda Bynes for having suffered with mental health issues and for having sought help. I mean really really… who advises you? have you any idea how stupid and dangerous it is to mock people for suffering illness? You will yourself one day suffer such illness, that is without doubt. The course you have set yourself upon can only end in that, trust me. I am staggered that any 20 yr old woman of the 21st century could behave in such a dangerous and irresponsible manner as to not only send the signal to young women that its ok to act like prostitutes but also to the signal that those who have suffered or do suffer mental health problems are to be mocked and have their opinions invalidated. Have you no sense of danger at all? or responsibility? Remove your tweets immediately or you will hear from my lawyers. I am certain you will be hearing from all manner of mental health advocacy groups also. It is not acceptable to mock any person for having suffered. It is most unbecoming of you to respond in such a fashion to someone who expressed care for you. And worse that you are such an anti-female tool of the anti-female music industry. I hope that you will apologise to Amanda Bynes and to any person who has been wounded by your mockery of those who have suffered. And I hope that you will wake up and understand that you in fact are a danger to women. Furthermore you posted a photo of me tearing the pope’s photo .. as if to imply insanity.. by doing so all you have achieved is to expose your staggering ignorance. I suggest you read The Philadelphia Report, The Boston Report, all the reports which will illuminate for you why that action of mine remains sane and valid. By mocking it you mock every child who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of priests and had it covered by the Vatican. You could really do with educating yourself, that is if you’re not too busy getting your tits out to read.

O’Connor continued the conversation in another Facebook post, mentioning legal action:

Ms Cyrus has today posted tweets of mine which are two years old and which were sent when I was ill and seeking medical help. She has done this in an attempt to deliberately cause me harm and hurt. I wish to confirm that I am quite well and kindly request people cease e mailing me in the mistaken belief these are recent tweets. Ms Cyrus’ lawyers will be contacted by mine regarding this matter. I confirm also that I do not at all support or condone the abuse or mockery of those who have been brave enough to openly discuss mental health issues. Mockery causes deaths. Period. It is an unacceptable form of bullying, no matter who it is doing the bullying.