These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

WOULD YOU LIKE LIES WITH THAT, SIR?

I wrote this article for the Biggleswade Town programme, but the club
decided they couldn’t print it. Chair Steve Easterbrook told me “For
various reasons the club have taken the view that it may not be in the
clubs interest to print the article due to its sensitive nature.
Whilst not agreeing or disagreeing with how McDonalds operate the club
does acknowledge that they are a major sponsor of The FA, sporting
events and of local community football. Our chances of obtaining FA
Charter Standard Club Status would be severely compromised by us
providing a platform for an article about one of footballs biggest
sponsors. That’s not to say that as a club we necessarily have to
agree/support any of the sponsors of the league. I am all for free
speech but perhaps in this case, as a club, it would be sensible and
wiser not to print the article in the programme. We are fighting
enough battles at the moment!”
I told Steve I don’t agree with the decision, but respect his views,
and certainly don’t want to jeopardize the club getting charter club
status and all the grants that come with it.
However, McDonalds don’t sponsor my blog, so here’s the article.



Ever since I was arrested for handing out ‘What’s Wrong with
McDonalds’ leaflets outside their Slough store I have had a soft spot
for Ronald. The copper was in a bad mood and nicked me for
‘obstruction of the highway’ despite the fact that I was standing next
to a tree. He slammed me up against the police car and told me to go
and live in Russia! His mood darkened further back at the station,
when I explained that the whole thing had been filmed by a hidden TV
company who were making a documentary. So I was over the moon, to see
that McDonalds are going to be one of the main sponsors of the 2012
London Olympic Games. Even worse, they are trying to make sure that
their golden arches are the exclusive "meal brand" at the games, with
other food chains, being told they will not be able to sell their
wares on a number of Olympic sites without removing labels or changing
packaging. At other sporting venues, including the ExCel Centre where
boxing, weightlifting and table tennis will take place, restaurant and
cafe owners have been told that they will have to leave the venues for
the duration of the Games to make way for official sponsors.
Now why do McDonalds want to sponsor the Olympics? Would any self
respecting Olympian feast on a Big Mac? Anyone who has seen that film
‘Super Size Me’ where Morgan Spurlock eats exclusively at McDonalds
for a month would probably think not. In that month Spurlock put on 1¾
stone - a 13% body mass increase, his cholesterol level went through
the roof and he experienced mood swings and liver damage. In fact it
took Spurlock fourteen months to lose the weight gained from his
experiment. Of course McDonalds argue that no one should exclusively
dine on their food and it should just be part a healthier, balanced
diet. But come on, who has a healthier balanced diet and goes there to
eat?
McDonalds know they serve up garbage. Worried by the law suits faced
by the tobacco industry they helped lobby for legislation in various
American states, to protect themselves from being sued by people that
get fat from eating their food. They aren’t too keen on criticism
either and were particularly busy in the 1980’s threatening to sue
anyone and any publication that dared too. That was till they came up
against a couple of anarchists who decided they wouldn’t be cowered.
So began McLibel, the longest libel trial in English history. Two
individuals with a combined annual income of £10,000, representing
themselves against one of the biggest corporations in the world
(annual income £30 billion). It was a bit like Slough taking on
Manchester United, with all our players having to hop on one leg
throughout the game. At the end of the trial dubbed “the most
disastrous PR exercise ever mounted by a multinational company” the
Judge ruled that as was stated in the ‘What’s Wrong with McDonald's
leaflet’, the company do exploit children and their workforce, their
food isn’t healthy and they are involved in animal cruelty.
All parents know about pester power – and corporations like McDonalds
work very hard on this. One of their top marketing managers admitted
“Children are virgin ground as far as marketing is concerned.” The
company spend over $1.8 billion every year worldwide on advertising
and promotions, most of it specifically aimed at 2 to 8 year olds with
a bribe of toys thrown in for good measure. Their confidential
'Operations Manual' was read out in court "Children are often the key
decision makers concerning where a family goes to eat…(offering toys)
is one of the best things…to make them loyal supporters…Ronald loves
McDonald's and McDonald's food. And so do children, because they love
Ronald. Remember, children exert a phenomenal influence when it comes
to restaurant selection. This means you should do everything you can
to appeal to children's love for Ronald and McDonald's." A former
Ronald Clown went public with his regrets “I brainwashed kids into
doing wrong. I want to say sorry to children everywhere.”
Still, forget the garbage created by the mountains of unnecessary
packaging, most of which ends up littering our streets or polluting
the land buried in landfill sites. Forget the crap pay of its
Mcworkers, the forests throughout the world which are felled for
cattle ranching. Forget, that all those Big Mac producing cows farts
contribute towards global warming. Forget the modern intensive
agriculture based on the heavy use of chemicals which are damaging to
the environment. Forget that their burgers taste like cats sick,
heavily disguised by two tonnes of mayonnaise and ketch-up. Forget all
that and ask yourself should McDonalds really be the official sponsors
of the Olympics. The official sponsors of the Football Associations
Football Charter Standard Scheme (you can see their Mclogo on top of
the Slough Town home page).
I’ve longed complained that the majority of food served up at football
matches I wouldn’t serve to a pig, and that eating it, often ends up
with the spectators starting to resemble said pigs. Of course, it’s up
to people what they want to eat. But most people would agree that
advertising aimed at encouraging children to smoke and drink shouldn’t
be allowed, so why is it ok to target children with food that is so
bad for you? The government talks of tackling obesity and getting
people to do more exercise and taking part in sport, but can someone
tell me how that squares with allowing food corporations getting into
bed with our biggest sporting events? With multi-national corporations
richer and more powerful than many small countries, we have become too
scared to take them on. It’s time we told Ronald and his mates to
stick their Big Macs where the sun don’t shine.

http://www.mcspotlight.org/

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