UK discount clothes retailer Primark has withdrawn padded bikini tops aimed at girls as young as seven, amid concerns that they were sexualising children for a profit.

The retailer has also been reportedly selling knickers for seven-year-old girls emblazoned “You’ve scored” and joins a growing list of retailers censured for marketing sexualising products to kids. This includes Tesco for its pole-dancing kit, sold as a toy in 2006 with the slogan “Unleash the sex kitten inside”, and Next for its T-shirt for girls under six printed with the slogan “So Many Boys . . . So Little Time”

Marketeers have also been criticised for their reliance on the colour pink to sell to very young girls. A discussion website, PinkStinks, has been set up.


A report in the Daily Telegraph indicates that, just three years after Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) lost the confidential details of 25 million taxpayers another serious breach of security has occurred.

The concerns follow after a woman in Bedfordshire received mailings from seven different organisations all duplicating the same mistake that had been made in her name by HMRC. Susan Jones from Bedford began to receive letters from HMRC addressed to “Susan Margaret Margaret” and shortly afterwards received mailings addressed the same way from Direct Line insurance, Churchill Home Insurance, Sun Life Direct funeral care, the Dog’s Trust, Macmillan cancer support and the Salvation Army, all of whom would have bought the data, unaware of its source, from suppliers in the direct marketing sector. Continue reading


The Chinese public are staying away in their hundreds of thousands from the Shanghai World Expo, which showcases China’s rising influence on the world stage.

Visitor figures are down from the expected 380,000 a day to less than 220,000, a shortfall of more than 40%.

The poor response has raised questions over the appeal of events which are really propaganda dressed up as a leisure opportunity, something that increasingly cynical consumers are getting better at spotting.


The use of discount vouchers is up by 25% from last year, according to some recent research from

Apparently we scour the internet on average six times a week to save an average of £55 a month, with one in seven adults claiming to save more than £100 a month by using vouchers, and the total saving is estimated at £30 billion a year.


According to a recent report published in Ethical Consumer magazine consumers should avoid eating most species of tuna.

Of the five commercially farmed species – albacore, bigeye, bluefin, skipjack and yellowfin – it is the bluefin that is critically endangered, being specifically valued for eating raw as sushi and sashimi in specialist restaurants, particularly in Japan, which recently opposed, along with Canada, a ban on taking them. According to the EUC bluefin tuna stocks have fallen by 85% since the 1950’s. A fully grown fish can fetch up to £60,000 at market, or is worth more than £250,000 on the plate. Continue reading


Meanwhile a fish and chip shop in Bourton-on-the-Water, Glos. has been doing its bit for the environment by supplying its customers with lashings of cheap, tasty, sustainable catfish for their enjoyment.

Regrettably customers of the C’or Blimey emporium have been told it was the rather more expensive and unsustainable cod, which has earned the owner a £2000 fine for selling food not of the nature demanded by the customer.


The UK’s most under-rated comedian must be Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC)

Commenting on the heinous crimmos who travel on his paymaster’s trains without buying a ticket Roberts has told the press “Fare dodgers suck millions out of the railways each year that would otherwise go back into improving services for passengers”

So definitely not on improving salaries, bonuses, commissions on penalty fares and pension pots for senior staff then? Ho. Ho. Ho.


A fascinating take on ethics by Delia Smith has been reported by Private Eye.

It seems that in November 2008 our Delia impressed the Oxford Union by telling them that she didn’t think it was an ethically sound thing for celebrity chefs to back one supermarket or product against another, and that she had never done any advertising because she felt she was “in a position of trust” Continue reading

AN OSCAR FOR ____________?

Given the frantic efforts by the leaders of our main political parties to market themselves on live TV debates it might be interesting to recall the words of former Premier Sir Alec Douglas-Home, quoted recently in events trade magazine Access All Areas.

Turning down the chance to go on TV prior to the 1964 General Election Sir Alec opined “You’ll get the best actor as leader of the country”

Question is, looking at the recent result was he right?