Thinking Inside the Box

czkvdhrw8aqf5geOn only the very first day of 2017, the political scene on Scottish Twitter seemed to be in full-flow silly season. Like the daftie I am, I rolled my sleeves up and ploughed myself head first into melee

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon was celebrating the unveiling of the ‘baby box’ policy. Which to me personally, regardless of any political bent or belief I have, is a policy I absolutely endorse. In some regards, it’s not the most ground breaking intuitive ever announced. Inside the box will be some of the necessities parents will need for their bairns in early infancy, nappies, wet wipes, a baby grow and so on. This is all very similar to the Bounty Pack that my mother was entitled to when my younger siblings were born, and that new parents are entitled to even today. The main difference is the container. The box that houses these essentials is also able to double up as the babies first cot. This is copied from the Finnish model, where they have been the norm since the 1930’s.

Some have seen this as a cynical move on behalf of the SNP. A not-so-furtive attempt to dazzle us with yon Nordic way of living, with their high quality of life and successful governance in a small independent oil-rich nation – the dastardly SNP have tried to lure us in with freebies for our new-born weans! With added poetry no less! Stashed in amongst the information leaflets offering guidance to first time parents, is a poem written in Scots by our Makar, Jackie Kay. These heartfelt few stanzas celebrating the sonsie wee bundle of joy that’s just arrived, have been derided by some as a Machiavellian ploy from the sleekit nats to win your illiterate baby’s vote from the very moment it leaves the womb.

Some demand that we should means-test beneficiaries, while others are outraged at the mere suggestion that a universal policy that treats all newly borns indiscriminately might tackle the equality gap, they say that we should wrestle with education policy to do that. They doubtless have a very good point, but might I suggest that an equal footing from the moment of birth – although not a solution to the bigger issue of social equality – is however, a good place to start.

But what do I care? I’m just a loud-mouthed actor who dabbles in a bit of activism on the side. A middle-aged, divorced, childless man with little prospect of a wee yin arriving into his care anytime soon. Sometimes I’m not the best person to be in charge of myself or even my twitter account, never mind the thought of me being a faither. So, why would I give two hoots unless I’m whatever the polar opposite is to #SNPbad. Right? Wrong.

For me the bigger issue, if not the main issue here, is the impact that the baby boxes might have on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also known as Cot Death. In Scotland, a baby dies on average every nine days from a Cot Death. We have no real idea what causes it. We know that if you refrain from taking the baby into your bed or put them to sleep on their back that it reduces the risk. We also know that if you have a subsequent child after a Cot Death, then following children have a higher risk of dying. I was one of those higher risk babies. I was born five years behind my sister Nicola who stopped breathing for no apparent reason at three months old. As were my younger sister and brother.

I can barely fathom what my parents endured or what my aunt and uncle endured when it happened to them. My mother was a decade and a half younger than I am now, but she had to keep on keeping on because she had my two elder sisters to tend to, one of whom was Nicola’s twin. Twin sisters, cared for in exactly the same way, nurtured and lavished with the same amount of love, yet one was suddenly and unexpectedly gone. And we don’t know why.

I can’t imagine what that would be like. I can’t speak to my parent’s grief or my siblings sense of loss. I only know my own, and it’s a strange one. Sometimes I can feel a bit fraudulent, because I never knew my sister, I never met her, I was never even on the face of the earth at the same time as her, but she’s an ever-present absence in my life. I often mix my tenses when I talk about her, I find myself saying “I have a sister that died before I was born”, though grammatically incorrect, it actually makes sense to me – because in a way, she’s always been with me.

I can’t remember a day when all of a sudden I found out I had an absent sister. It was as though I just always knew, the reality of what happened was never brushed under the carpet or kept from us. Nicola has always been a fact of my life. As a wee boy, I used to imagine what she would be like, how different my life would be if I was one of six children and not one of five. When I was in a grump with my family, I used to imagine that if only Nicola was alive she would understand me, she would stick up for me and she would make it all better. As a grown man and ambassador for the Scottish Cot Death Trust (SCDT), I often talk very matter of fact about my sister or the issues surrounding SIDS. But then right out of the blue and when I least expect it, her name can catch in my throat, or my eyes well up. Sometimes I just full-pelt have a greet.

I don’t dare talk of this experience to engender any sympathy or to persuade people that baby boxes are the magic wand that will solve the issue of SIDS in Scotland. I don’t desire to blindly endorse the SNP or suggest that this policy is enough. As much as I applaud this measure, The Scottish Cot Death Trust can only go so far in fully understanding, researching and combatting this syndrome when they get only 2% of their budget from the Scottish Government. A total of 86% of the SCDT funding relies on fundraising and charitable donations to keep them going. There is no question that the Scottish government could do more.

Some of the people who have questioned this scheme have done so on the basis of proof. They ask where the evidence is that baby boxes affect mortality rates given that Scotland in 2016 is a much more advanced nation than Finland was when they introduced them in the 1930’s? So, to them might I suggest that the main problem is, we don’t understand this killer syndrome. We are still at pains to pinpoint the reason it takes one baby and not another. We are dealing with an elusive enemy so we must take unique measures against it. It might seem like a big hammer to take against a wee nail, but given the many the many negative policies currently being pursued by Theresa May’s government in Westminster, are baby boxes really worth this degree of exasperation?

Whatever you think of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, whatever your feelings are on the cause of an independent Scotland, please, just take a step back and look at the bigger picture here. This policy is a step in the right direction with regards to social equality, but more to the point, at its heart this strategy aims to literally save babies lives. If means testing is your sticking point, remind yourself that SIDS doesn’t discriminate by class. If it’s social equality, look at this as a small part in that bigger jigsaw and hold the First Ministers feet to the fire on the pieces yet to fall into place. If it’s evidence you need and the Nordic model isn’t enough, then let us be the evidence, let us show the way.

I once heard a lovely thing about the Finnish baby boxes. I was told that besides using them as the first cot, they became the child’s ‘memory box’. It made me grin to think that the boxes handed out in Scotland on the first of this year, will one day be littered throughout attics and stuffed with the future artefacts that make up the remembrances of lives these three-day old bairns have yet to live. But to finish, I once did a play and the great folkie John Tams wrote a song about men dying at sea. He sang “How high the price, how deep the water. It is not fish you’re eating, it is men’s lives.”

It might be a six million quid policy, but we’re not talking nappies, poems or boxes here. We’re talking about wean’s lives. I for one, could not put a price on that.

Comments (66)

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  1. Eleanor Ferguson says:

    Some people will complain about anything. It’s about letting people know that the government actually cares unlike the message that comes from the Westminster Government which seems to want to make people’s lives as hard and miserable as possible.

    1. Interpolar says:

      I absolutely agree, and it is a particular trait of British politics that the opposition is expected to disagree with even good ideas for the sake of being The Opposition. It is a destructive political culture and it poisons progress. In this respect too, the Scottish Parliament finds itself shackled to Westminster.
      If Labour were in the least imaginative or constructive, they would say, “the baby box is an excellent start, but it does not go far enough”, then add their proposal. Now that would be constructive opposition.

  2. bringiton says:

    Some unionists will always scream about policies not “Made in England” as being fundamentally wrong.
    If we wish to see a more egalitarian society,we have to start with early years at home and education on it’s own isn’t going to do it.
    However,equal opportunities in access to health and education are fundamental to that objective and this is an excellent starting point.
    It is going to take quite a while to turn around the culture imposed on us from the south and we are going to have to fight it all the way with those who wish to retain the Thatcherite dogma we have been saddled with for too long by all the London based political parties.
    A new start for,hopefully,a new era in Scotland and for new Scots in particular.

  3. Bill says:

    As someone once said ‘a small step for man, a great step for mankind’. This is indeed a small step, but well worth taking. To the ‘whinging poms’ I would say get up to speed and try to think more positively about this and hope that it is the beginning of a new, equal and fairer society in Scotland.

  4. Rory MacCormack says:

    Iain I could not argue with a word you have written and with such feeling and understanding

    That there are some in the labour leadership in Scotland who seek to rubbish and ridicule this policy says nothing of the policy or the SNP.

    The ill judged comment of the labour leadership on this policy should be brought to the attention of the electorate at a time when the electorate is about to vote and the electorate can and will act accordingly!

    Not much lower for labour to sink now, who would wish a progressive alliance with a leadership with labour s mentality?

    1. c rober says:

      Not just from the protected remnants of NuSLAB , but by the Tory leader by proxy and leadership.

      Women empowering women indeed , it proves their personal income through political careers is what matters , over ALL women , over the electorate en large , and of course children when its argued against these boxes.

      Then again I could choose the obvious sexuality argument (non) link regarding those parties leaders , cheapening this noble argument , through saying all are indeed the same within the doc martin and dungaree wearing community , like a misogynist and sexist male I would be potrayed as for saying so , but perhaps somehow still prove the long term cynical opinion held by many including the non male regardless , that some women in politics are just like the original communists – in that some are more equal than others.

  5. John Page says:

    A lovely and poignant piece about a lovely idea. A welcome to our new wee bairns!
    It is embarrassing for our Scottish Labour “socialists” to criticise this spend of £6m when they seem to be up for committing £205bn on Trident……
    I am reading Alastair McIntosh’s wonderful Soil and Soul at the moment and note that he writes about the parallel between the dispossessed First Nations in North America and the Glasgow urban “unnecessariat”……..the latter who have provided cushy jobs for but who have been profoundly let down by three generations of our Labour functionaries as they drive off to the leafy suburbs in the evenings.
    The Baby Boxes are no big deal……a lovely symbolic welcome…….that have obviously irked the guilty consciences of the tax hating and anti communitarian sensibilities of the Daily Mail and Scottish Express readers…thereby provoking such bilious reactions. We should not be surprised.
    But we should also support the families of these bairns where we can through food banks, homework schemes and other programmes to support the restoration of broken communities.

    John Page

    1. c rober says:

      Heres a thought J.

      How about we use that part of society that has maligned it to cheapen the cost , or indeed make coffins for SIDS? Of course I am speaking of our prisoners in jails here , not the politicians , though its easy to confuse them both.

      Its not like we would be putting them to work for private corporations as slave labour as in the Usa , where a population in prison is numerically half the size of Scotlands total population?

      It is after all costing taxpayers from 18 -25k a year to house them , time to pay the rent?

  6. john mooney says:

    Well said Ian,as a young boy of five I remember awakening to the sound of my father saying to my Mother ” Margaret,the wean’s deid”and that awful howl of despair emanating from my Mothers body! We lived in a single end in the Gorbals and my sister Margaret and I had to share a fold down bed,I was 5 and she was 2yrs and Patricia slept in a pram in front of our bed.I will never forget seeing Patricia lying there dead nor the little white coffin my Father had to carry to the hearse a few days later! I am nearly in my seventh decade and a grandfather to two wonderful grandchildren. Patricia would now be in her sixties and I often wonder how it would have been if she had lived to have grandchildren of her own but sadly it was never to be,SO when it comes to the naysayers who decry this gift from to all newborns SHAME on YOU and your petty political point scoring and a disgrace to any human values you profess to hold! Well done Nicola Sturgeon And I can only hope this gift well help all newborn children and their parents in a small but very important way!

    1. Josef O Luain says:

      A measured and dignified mauling of the petty political point-scorers, John.

      You speak for me and mine. Thanks.

    2. Pat Crawford says:

      Thank you for sharing your heartfelt sorrow, John. I sm sorry that, as a wee bairn, you had to go through that but it seems to me that carrying it all if your life has contributed to making you the decent human being that you are now.

    3. Jo says:

      Tears here, John.

      Beautiful post.

  7. Anne Bruce says:

    Well said, it’s a wonderful initiative and if it saves even one child’s life, well worth the money spent on it. Sadly, naysayers are always loud in their criticism – we have to rise above all that and do the very best we can for the next generation of young Scots. And Jackie Kay’s poem is brilliant!

    1. G says:

      ‘Well said, it’s a wonderful initiative and if it saves even one child’s life, well worth the money spent on it.’

      How many lives could be saved if this £6m had been spent on providing poorer mothers with specific support instead of frittering it away on everybody? Why not spend it on those most in need using established methods proven to work? Why spend it on an unproven idea that cannot be proved?

      1. Pat Crawford says:

        G it is not unproven.

        Finland has tried and tested it for nearly 80 years, continuously through various governments. Do you really think the Finnish government and the people of Finland would keep this going for all that time if they thought it was a waste of money and of little or no benefit to families?

        The Scottish government have been able to base their research on this long term project.

        Protection against cot death is only one of the many benefits if the scheme. Another is protecting families against the swingeing sanctions and other deprivations imposed by Westminster. Another is universally welcoming all new babies in the same, non-judgemental way. Yet another is encouraging and pointing the way to good parenting – finance isn’t the only barrier to that.

        For me, I would be content if it were simply a nice gesture.

        I am fairly sure that it makes little difference whether we burn £250bn or £250bn less £6m on Trident.

        Of course, we eould all like to do, more. Let’s look at what we can do with the £250bn less £6m pocket change we csn spend when we get rid of Trident.

      2. Rachel Smith says:

        Means testing is expensive and stigmatises.
        What do you want, that govt singles out all the “pauper” babies?

        Furthermore, means-testing unfairly disadvantages those who just miss out.
        Or do you suggest that we have a taper and give out part-baby boxes to those who don’t qualify for a full baby box.

        And there are may parents who maybe don’t prioritize their spending, or perhaps first time mums who don’t know what they will need.

        It is a lovely gift that treats all babies as equally important.

      3. Frank says:

        Why do we need ‘proof’ before we can do a thing – perhaps you need to liberate your mind from ‘the evidence’.

      4. Donnie McRitchie says:

        G – by sounds of things you know the cost of everything without knowing the value of anything.

        Every morning when I look in the mirror I take solace that the likes of you and the labour party in Scotland are heading for self imposed extermination and that your dead hand is permanently removed from Scotland and her people’s ambitions!

  8. E. Williams says:

    Wonderful article; and I’m glad the taboo of not talking about cot deaths is finally being broken. This to me signals an emotionally mature society, one which will tread gently through sensitive topics and make positive efforts to help people and prevent losses.

    One thing I’ve not seen mentioned in many articles or discussions is the fact that the baby boxes include a mattress and bed sheets. Another thing rarely mentioned is that the cheapest moses basket available from the cheapest stores is about £30. When I was expecting my husband and I both were effectively made redundant after the industries we worked in all but fell apart. Even with my husband working again toward the end of my pregnancy, raising £30 was impossible without giving up on heating or eating after paying rent and council tax – and we were just lucky enough to be gifted a second hand moses basket. All the baby information you get given quite rightly tells you not to use second hand baby mattresses (for moses baskets, or cribs, or cots), but what choice did we have?

    Labour commented that not including breast feeding information in the baby boxes was ‘a missed opportunity’ but I disagree for two reasons;

    1. The ante-natal classes (and post-natal classes given by some forward-thinking GP/midwife clinics) that all pregnant women are offered contain lots of useful information on breast feeding and bottle feeding, clearly telling people the potential pros and cons of either option.
    2. All research in recent years suggests that the vast majority of pregnant women make up their mind which way they’d like to give their baby milk prior to the baby’s birth. The support is there immediately after birth and for a week or so after from their midwifery team should they decide to change.

    Information on breastfeeding being included in baby boxes would therefore be repetition of what is already included in ante-natal classes, and would only serve to irritate the women who already (rightly or wrongly) feel they are being pressured into breastfeeding.

    The improvement in pre-school childcare (nursery provision for example) will make another huge difference to many parent’s lives. I wish more had been said by the media on that topic, and it’s connection with allowing parents to build back into working faster, if they wish to.

  9. G says:

    “Some of the people that have questioned this scheme have done so on the basis of proof. They ask where the evidence is that baby boxes affect mortality rates given that Scotland in 2016 is a much more advanced nation than Finland was when they introduced them in the 1930’s? So, to them might I suggest that the main problem is, we don’t understand this killer syndrome. We are still at pains to pinpoint the reason it takes one baby and not another. We are dealing with an elusive enemy so we must take unique measures against it. It might seem like a big hammer to take against a wee nail, but given the many the many negative policies currently being pursued by Theresa May’s government in Westminster, are baby boxes really worth this degree of exasperation?”

    Yes. Throwing money at a problem when you haven’t done the basic research and due diligence to see if it offers value for money is a very, very bad thing. It might be fine if this was new money for a controlled experiment, but it’s not, it’s existing money. £6m that would have been spent on proven interventions thrown away on an untested idea that nobody knows if it will work, and given there is no trial, there is no way of knowing if it has worked.

    Still wins a few votes, eh?

    1. E. Williams says:

      The reasons for introducing baby boxes were multiple, not singular. The idea that it was a singular reason, and that the only reason was to prevent cot deaths, was a construction of the media. With the cheapest moses baskets costing £30 – the introduction of baby boxes which include mattresses and can be used as a crib will be a help to many parents of newborn babies.

      Research has consistently shown that when a benefit, service or provision is means tested, that uptake of it drops by the very people it has been designed to help – most often the poorest people. So, just in case you intend to reply to my reply, G, with some crass comment about ‘well it should be means tested then….’ can I just mention that free school meals were introduced for all younger Primary School children by the SNP without means testing, in order to ensure uptake was highest in the target group of poorest children.

      The price of stigmatising poverty doesn’t appear to register in the minds of the Labour party, who wanted means testing applied to those meals……

    2. john mooney says:

      I notice that you do not have the courage to use your own name with regard to the self serving nay saying humbug you spout so I will treat any comments from yourself with the contempt they deserve! You really are a sad troll .:(

      1. G says:

        John, don’t you want to know if this idea works?

        1. Robert Graham says:

          your comment reminds me of a relations comment last Christmas around the same time as Refuges from Syria were arriving in Scotland it went ” bloody great these kids getting New Bikes when our kids cant get them ” even after it was pointed out these people had nothing , not a thing in a strange country , even after being confronted with the bombsite photos of where the refuges came from it still didn’t register , some folk are beyond most peoples normal view of the world , do you recognise the same sentiments in your post ? , if not i suggest you need help .

    3. David McDonald says:

      Yes it is existing money, because the Scottish government works on a fixed budget and can only ever move money from one place to another. With independence, we could certainly be more daring, without it we are reduced to squabbles over £6 million.

      Also, what are the “proven interventions” into cot death? There aren’t any, but you think we should twiddle our thumbs?

      1. G says:

        Oh come on, David. The Scottish Government don’t have a fixed budget, they have tax raising (or lowering) powers. They always have had, and their powers were recently increased. By all means argue for faith based interventions for political gain, as many respondents to my comments have made. Just don’t say things that aren’t true about budgets!

    4. John Page says:

      Dear All
      Given the persistence of G in pushing the “lack of evidence” point, my surmise is that he or she is either a journo or political spin doctor tasked with feeding a brief to Kezia, Ruth or some unionist editor to detract from the positive publicity Nicola got on New Years Day.
      No sane person would keeping digging unless they were getting paid and were hoping that Bella readers could refine their article or briefing paper.
      In a way this is a compliment to Bella but perhaps it would be best just to ignore this stuff.
      £6m is not a large sum…….how much line by line value for money testing was done re Hinkley Point, HS2, many items in the MOD budget (aircraft carriers, anyone?) and farming subsidies to large farm holdings……the Royal Household……..Tony Blair’s security detail?
      This persistence is not from a genuine libertarian small government proponent of evidence based policy……..they are getting paid and we would eejits for helping them do their job

      John Page

      1. G says:

        No need to invoke conspiracy theories, John. In a healthy democracy dissent from the ruling party line is not only normal given variance in publicly acceptable opinion, but necessary.

        One reason why I choose to be anonymous is the emotional responses from commentators on this site to criticism of the SNP government. I don’t fancy having people track me down and send emails to myself, my family or my employer. However, I have used a genuine email address to post this comment and any employee of Bella is welcome to contact me with legitimate questions.

        PS I speak only for myself, and I am not employed by any partisan group, nor am I a member of any political party.

        1. John Page says:

          In view of your non partisan seeking after the truth and adherence to evidence, can you tell us how many challenges you have made to HS2, Hinkley Point, expenses of the monarchy, MOD budget, farm subsidies, exemption of sporting estates from property taxes etc?

          1. G says:


            I think HS2 is a necessary investment to improve public transportation and the UK economy, even inefficient infrastructure spending has benefits, cf Keynes, on Hinkley Point, nuclear power offers the best alternative to fossil fuels given the current price of renewables and restrictions on energy generation for most because of the irregularity of sun, wind and water. I campaign against the monarchy, I think the MOD budget should be expanded given the uncertainties in the world, the undermining of NATO by Trump and Turkey, and the increasing belligerence from Russia. I think some level of farm subsidy is important for food security and to protect biodiversity, but this should be subject to more scrutiny, I think sporting estates should pay tax.

            None of this has any relevance to the issue under discussion.

        2. John Page says:

          £55.7bn is the latest estimate for the HS2 which you indicate might be inefficient (to take 20 mins off the Birmingham/London trip). The financing of Hinkley Point makes PFI look like a carefully thought out prudent investment. A blank cheque for the MOD with its track record of stewardship of public money? Trident at £205bn?
          But do let’s quibble about a democratic decision of the Holyrood Parliament to spend £6m on Baby Boxes because there is no evidence to support them……..
          You sure about that?
          John Page

          1. G says:

            John, I responded to an article and discussion about baby boxes. Why are you telling me I should be commenting on irrelevant matters instead?

          2. John Page says:

            Because your argument about the baby boxes was weak…….allegedly because it was a use of public funds on an unjustified/untested project, yet you refrain from exercising that same critical thinking in respect of problematic projects with billions at stake.
            It is entirely appropriate to reflect on your opinions on other items of public spending to try to understand your decidedly odd and insistent postings on the baby boxes.
            What you have posted doesn’t ring true.
            John Page

            John Page

          3. G says:

            John, I’ve been responding to your posts. Out of interest, what would persuade you that baby boxes are not a good use of public funds?

          4. John Page says:

            Nothing would……I wrote to the Minister for Families last spring asking for this Finnish idea to be implemented here……I am sure many other people did as well.

            John Page

          5. G says:

            So it’s an article of faith with you, John? Nothing would cause you to waver in your belief, no evidence, no argument no matter how strong. You’d rather go up in flames than admit the possibility of error?

          6. John Page says:

            No. Not an article of faith……just a nice wee idea that shows a welcome from the community to new bairns. One that seemed to have become a well respected and loved tradition that brings joy in Finland.
            I’ll let you go now, cos you are embarrassing yourself
            John Page

          7. G says:

            John, if it’s not an article of faith you’d be open to the possibility they don’t work. You quite clearly said nothing will change your mind. That’s a faith based position.

    5. bringiton says:

      Why don’t you take yourself off to Finland and tell them that they have been wasting their money for the last 80 years or so.
      You are absolutely correct that this will be popular with Scottish voters.
      We know the value of things and not just the cost.
      Of course the SG could have tried the time honoured means testing scams implemented by New Labour but that would probably have taken care of much of the budget for this initiative.

    6. Donnie McRitchie says:

      G – your obviously so principalled you won’t even use your name to make your vacuous points.

      Scottish labour in action, anonymous and faceless idiots fast approaching endangered species status!

    7. Donnie McRitchie says:

      G – your obviously so principalled you won’t even use your name to make your vacuous points.

      Scottish labour leadershiplleadership in action, anonymous and faceless idiots fast approaching endangered species status!

    8. Lynsey says:

      ‘and given there is no trial’

      It’s a pilot, G. Even the Scotsman, the BBC and the Sun got that part right. Given it’s so easy to point out this error in your information, I think I’ll just ignore every word you’ve said. You either aren’t informed and don’t want to be, or your intention is to misinform.

      1. c rober says:


        Dont forget that Traitorous chip wrapper the Daily Record , which seems to think it was the originator of the idea?

    9. James Coleman says:

      “show me the evidence” is a straw man used by the anti-Baby Box and pro SID Labour and YOON and yea even some Wet Nat zoomers to try to conceal the fact that they are against the policy just because it is an SNP idea. Don’t know why they produce screeds of useless dodgy bullshit to try to prove otherwise.

      They are deplorable.

  10. Darby O'Gill says:

    It’s an idea that any decent human being would be proud to associate with. A first baby step to a more civilised world.
    My doctor lost two children to cot deaths, so clearly it can strike anywhere and to anyone and requires a universal solution, not one that is means-tested.

  11. Nick Kempe says:

    You can be in favour of universal benefits without believing that a baby box is a good idea. We used to have maternity grants for everyone – now there is just the £500 means tested maternity grant which is basically for first children – why not re-instate universal maternity grants and let parents decide how they best want to spend the money on their baby?

    1. bringiton says:

      You probably wouldn’t get too much down the pub for a baby box.
      It is supposed to benefit the children and not the parents.

  12. c rober says:

    How about we look at it for more than what it appears , damn the proof or lack of it …. and double damn the politics.

    Not so long ago we chucked a sixpence , then a ten bob bit in a strangers pram , today not so much.

    6m a year to provide a starting EQUALITY to ALL of Scotlands NEW Children , equality some may never see again , or outlive the life of the box , long before they are cast into the pigeon holes supplied to them by their parents , by our society , by our maisters , or have their things sold for drink or drugs.

    I work that oot to a quid , quid 20 ish for , from , by every person in Scotland. Or roughly half that of the inflationary adjusted ten bob bit or sixpence.

    The overall cost , therfore is nearly an immeasurable amount of our personal tax.

    This as we sit on our high horses giving to charities where directors , and advertising jobs , both jobs of the elite , are costing half of what we donate in real terms – in order to keep some in 150k a year jobs , as those that DO care go unwaged as income creators.

    In other words this “gift” fae their “civilised” peers , regardless of any medical argument , is through all of our taxes…. replacing that very sixpence and 7 sider.

    In the process we are hopefully teaching a wain that charity began at hame , the very day they were born , from their countrymen and women , their wider hame – well , that surely cant be a bad thing could it? To show we should care from the cradle , now that we cannot afford to care to the grave in the very near future?

    Today politics is full of diversionary , divisionary tactics , and so some may be cynical , rightly or wrongly.

    That the “whit aboot the wains” is exactly that kind of bribery and baiting for electoral point scoring , but as noted by other posters the opposition are more interested in Trident , our maisters in London though on keeping the tenants and their income subdued and paying for the mistakes of millionaires and banks.

    Off the top of my head lets say that quid 20 , is one 10. 000th of the annual tax bill I pay every year , on everything I buy , everything I earn , vat and so on – Well its a no brainer , we probably lost more doon the back of the couch of a weekend reaching for the remote to change the channel once a charity advert came on.

  13. John B Dick says:

    Popular with voters you say?

    You’ve got no idea of the impact it made on a retired midwife who in the 1950’s worked in the more deprived parts of Glasgow.

  14. Big Jock says:

    As a new father of a five month old, I think it’s a perfect idea. I cannot possibly imagine the pain of finding a child not breathing and being helpless. The box demonstrates a country that cares, nurtures and values the life of its citizens.

    We are not independent yet, but that doesn’t mean we have to follow the heartless Tories. We can shape Scotland until we are fully independent. When independence comes our 2 nations will be so different as to be uncomparable.

    England is heading into a dark place and I don’t want to be dragged out of the light. Capitalism without social responsibility is the end of civilisation.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Scotland could do anything it wanted to if only the 56 SNP MP’s would summon up the courage to call time on this undemocratic charade of a ‘union’, as they have the sovereign power to do, and preferably before the English PM pulls the Brexit plug at the end of March.

      1. c rober says:

        Alf dear chap , how about our lions tabling a referendum not for Scottish indy , but that of English indy?

        Would it not put the cat among the pigeons if their own shoot it doon?

        Its noo becoming less of a joke that the SNP may well indeed field a few SNP candidates in England… through promising EVEL and Northern Nationalism.

        Im tempted to run maself as a laff in Carlisle , under the pirate party , its not like I would need to buy a hoose there and parachute in only after winning , like many of our SNP representatives in Scotland have done – or of course Slab.

        Mibbe if I get enough backers I could run under the Bella Caledonia perty , or 12 pieces of silver party , or EIP , Feng Shui (but I reckon they would think its the dyslexic arm of the IRA or the Islamist State , or the Tupperware party… the list is as much endless as it is priceless.

        FFS , if trump kin dae it….

  15. George S Gordon says:

    As for Monica Lennon’s point about including breast feeding information, does she really believe that would have any effect? We know that reluctance to breast feed, and practical difficulties for some, are hard to counter for a wide variety of reasons, and are unlikely to be affected by leafleting.

    1. c rober says:

      Do you mean the vilification of those that wont or cant breastfeed , subtle it may be but it is there , making women feel bad about themselves for being failures as mothers off the starting block , adding maybe to post natal depression.

      Havent read the leaflet myself , but given the diet and health of many of todays mothers , and the addition of perhaps their age both being perhaps either too young or old , or that some may like the chianti or fags , thus wont or actually still do but shouldnt breastfeed , then education is key…. if not legislation.

      But I would prefer a criminality aspect to child endangerment , which of course many would be reluctant to implement – and thus may suspect the named socialworker legislation was a prelude to.

      Of course I would also like to see even more in the education of our future mothers in Schools pre pregnancy , not after it and not just a leaflet. Sex education and post pregnancy education , which the former although is better today than ever , would be as good as the HPV vac further down the line for safeguarding women beforehand from cancers.

      So education , well it could well be that metaphorical inoculation of the as yet unborn.

      There is and I doubt ever will be a test to gain parenthood , no pass or fail as a result , but would it be so wrong? The cynic in me says it would be , controlled breeding , based on entitlement , and making the domestication of ourselves , and eugenics for our masters thus complete.

  16. Orlando Quarmby says:

    I wonder at the mentality of the 7 arses who have clicked ‘dislike’ under this article.

  17. Brian MacLeod says:

    If the SNP came up with a cure for cancer, the BritNats would scream “SNP Baaad!” because of the loss of jobs in the funeral industry….

    1. c rober says:

      Actually for certain types of cancers they can the can fight for the cure being devolved from Westminster , its called hemp oil , stupidly banned due to MSM and illiterates thinking its one and the same as cannabis sativa , which ironically also has its uses of at least 16 CBD compounds found in it.

      But things are changing , at least at the UK level , where CBD has at last been recognized by the medical commission in having its uses , but ironically still has puppet doctors following the pharma and big business mantra of Psychosis and the fake link , as well as the true link with cancer due to people smoking it with tobacco – the cancer creator.

      But then these people that follow the MSM are the ones we will have to convince that baby boxes , or indeed indy are in their best interests – if not the greater good regardless.

        1. c rober says:

          I watched the conference mentioned , but I still fear its blaming the Westminster Govt in order to gain votes. I will explain.

          Scotland has the courts in the control of Holyrood , and of course can therefore dictate what is enforceable in them , via instructing the Police and CPS (also devolved) , what to prosecute for , so is quite different to criminality enforcing of Uk reserved powers.

          Still though I do have to commend Laura , and the many like her in all parties , as sufferers and advocates alike , in fighting for a level of improved normalcy in their and others lives – ALL of whom are wrongly portrayed as criminals , and junkies , while our society keeps tobacco and alcohol legal , as well as protects big pharma holding the nhs to ransom.

          There simply is not enough bite in our Scottish Terriers we call Holyrood , but unlike that pedigree dog breed namesake heading for endangered species classification , they are increasing in numbers on the periphery.

  18. willie says:

    Aside of the practicality of a baby box and the symbolism it offers, I must admit the observation about the box becoming a ” memory box ” stuffed with remembrances brought a tear and a smile. The cynics in their bitter political negativity may sneer, but how many will in the future retrieve their box of memory treasures – and look back with a smile.

  19. bringiton says:

    God bless the child that has it’s own.

  20. Legerwood says:

    In all the sound and fury being generated about this pilot project initiated by the Scottish Government the people making the most noise seem to have overlooked the fact that a pilot study was started in two London Hospitals in April last year. Even the Daily Mail seemed to approve.

    Like the Scottish plan the boxes were given to all mothers giving birth in the two Hospitals in London.

    The whole baby boxes thing seems to be something that is now being adopted in many countries across the world.

    Which of course raises the question as to why it is being met with such frothing fury in Scotland. I think we all know the answer.

    On a personal note I think it is a great idea.

  21. barakabe says:

    It seems the ‘silent majority’ of Scottish society, as they call themselves, are hellbent on opposing anything that emanates from the auspices of SNP policy, irrespective of its merits. To such collective delirium everything the SNP government does is nationalist propaganda for the promotion of Independence, they cannot be trusted, and we all be vigilant to their nefarious agenda for separatism. I passed two venerable old ladies in Pollok Park a couple of days ago who were discussing the “baby box fiasco” and how “disgusted” they were by this “brainwashing of little babies”- this is the level of ideological polarisation we’re at when grandmothers view baby boxes as acts of State oppression. There appears to be the survival of a zombified Loyalist cultural memory in Scottish society; one that all good clean-shaven Scots Protestants pledged allegiance to by voting the Conservative and Unionist Party, went to the Kirk, listened to the fire & brimstone minister, swore oath to the Queen and the Royal family, enjoyed a drink in the lodge with fellow masonics. This was a settle time of nostalgic law and order when you could leave your door open and there was good upright Protestant men at the head of our Legal professions, the Police, Academia and University, the Business and Banking world. But all since has went to the dogs. We let ‘others’ in, those who can’t or don’t understand ‘our’ culture or who even actively undermine our ‘traditions’. These ‘cultural traditions’ have survived into the small ‘c’ conservatism of Scottish civil life that dominates the temper of the ‘silent majority’s’ present milieu: work hard, keep your head down, know your place, look after your own, family values, law and order, conformity, the one fits all do-what-you’re-told mentality. This is the mainstream mindset that reacts to anyone ill-mannered enough to speak of independence or ‘that Nicola Sturgeon’ with a programmatic negative reflex. I think its off the back of this milieu we’ve seen the so-called ‘renaissance’ of the Scottish Conservative and UNIONIST party under the stewardship of ‘Ruthy’ and much lauded in the mainstream media as custodians and protectors of British values against the tide of xenophobic nationalism. Ruth you are the hero of the silent majority, the warrior queen of polite decency and small manners.
    Its in opposition to this milieu that Independence supporters call for attempts to enter into discourse in order to convert such people into voting YES in Indy2- I admire the naivety, but believe that such optimism is misplaced with people who tend towards right wing sentiments in regards to immigration, the economy, the unemployed, defence etc- these folk will remain loyal to their proud cultural traditions and there will be no surrender to a separatism that seeks to unravel the sacred Union of the Crowns.

    1. c rober says:

      I can see beyond the the religious aspect and identify the true enemy – the wealthy.

      Their allegiance floats towards control of that which is the greater psuedo democratic power , aka the new religion. Thus the “wealth creation for the few” aspect is through the legislators being their disciples , following the commandments.

      Wealth remains the supreme being, offering an altar for all others to kneel before…. only then can they , it , promise to make all of their true followers demigods – and with that their own acolytes under them.

      Demigodocracy – via the electorate , and ironically via the drawing of a cross.

  22. Mhari morrison says:

    I had a baby at 16, was on my own most of my babies clothes second hand , I would have loved a baby /box just to make me feel people cared about me and my baby, and have some decent clean things , can’t see why folk pick on the idea ,it is a beautiful act of kindness

  23. Sharon curran says:

    I need to laugh at most comments about this topic. Yous haven’t got a clue ,quite quick to pass your judgement on the matter .
    A few mentioning safe sleep with a mattress included in the box.
    I thought that’s why they introduced a ventilated mattress to reduce the risk off SIDS. Regardless the items in this baby box it’s a complete waste of money.
    I’m a new mother of a healthy baby boy born on 11/10/16 took away from me on 10/11/16 only 4 weeks old by this
    Socalled ‘sids’ “cot death”. If my baby had a baby box it wouldn’t have made a difference my baby had proper mattress correct type of blankets ,correct number of layers of clothing , I done everything by the book and hes still gone and no answers. I’m now sitting tears streaming. Yous haven’t got a clue ,why not use the money to fund cuddle cots so that each hospital and funeral parlour have they Facilities that can help when a baby dies which the UK government will not fund so parents all over the country are having to fundraise to make these available still so many hospitals haven’t gothem
    These cuddle cots can help in such a big way too so many people’s lifes enabling parents to spend more time with there baby’s after they have gone. This is a Moses basket with a cooling system inserted into it which keeps the babies body temperature at a certain point so then parents can spend as much time as possible with there little angels. I had a fan plugged into the wall in the room I sat with my baby for last few days to keep room at certain temperature that’s not good enough. Disgusted at this .

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