News broke that Aberdeen Councillor Claire Imrie is none too happy with the Scottish Government’s baby box scheme. As stated in the (Tory) Press and Journal, forty-year-old Imrie, intends to give her baby box away to charity. Well, to a foodbank to be precise. Perhaps those unfortunate enough to have to go and beg for food will be able to eat all that is in the box. Joking aside however, this has all the ingredients of being an SNP-bad story; a story that has more holes in it than a piece of Swiss cheese.
First, why did Imrie take the box in the first place? It is not forced on expectant parents, they must be registered by midwife or family nurse and they HAVE to consign, therefore, did Imrie sign, or someone else in her behalf? If Imrie signed with the intention of giving the box away as some sort of publicity stunt, then that is dishonest. Not only is it dishonest but it is not very well thought through. For example, when was it decided to give the box away to the foodbank. Why, when every expectant mother in Scotland is entitled to a baby box would Imrie or whoever advised her decide to give it to a foodbank?
As the news broke Imrie had colleagues rush to her aid. Independent Councillor Jennifer Stewart called the boxes a ‘vanity project’ which is disgusting. To call a project, designed to decrease the infant mortality rate a VANITY PROJECT’ is quite something. Stewart went on: “Most people I know wouldn’t want to put their baby in a box and neither would I.”
Her remarks and the remarks of Imrie have sparked outrage on social media. Harley Ross, about Imrie commented: “Just goes to show how snooty and out of touch she is.”
Another, Euan Matthews sharing his utter disgust on Facebook said: Stop shaming people who use it (baby box), there is nothing wrong with using a clean sa[v]e box over an old dirty dangerous crib hence why the baby box works it reduces cot death.”
Cot death in Finland was one of the biggest killers of infants and why the Finnish Government introduced baby boxes over 80 years ago. A BBC article written in 2013, (when baby boxes were cool because they are a Finnish idea). Journalist Helen Lee wrote: “Finland’s expectant mothers have been given a box by the state. It’s like a starter kit of clothes, sleeping bag and toys, and can even be used as a bed, some say it helped Finland achieve the lowest infant mortality rates. Children from many social backgrounds have taken their first naps within the safety of the boxes.”
From it’s launch last year the baby box has been used as a stick to beat First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP with, seemingly infant mortality does not factor into this, if the unionist parties can use it as a weapon against the SNP nothing matters!
As for Imrie, Facebook user Carol Gray-Samuals summed it up nicely: “What a story, created to big herself up while rubbishing and belittling the project.”
For most, baby boxes are a lovely addition to new mums who registered for them. They are an opt-in scheme, not opt-out. Imrie obviously opted to have one, just so she could donate it to the foodbank and, like Ms Grey-Samuals said, “Big herself up while rubbishing and belittling the project.”
Shame on her!