Monday, 17 August 2009

Allison Edwards account of her peacefull demo at the Measles Roadshow

from the Jabs forum
The DoH have spent ?400,000 of tax payers' money to PR company, Trimedia. It consists of a lorry with a stage plastered in big facts about measles. There were three guys and half a dozen promotion girls/middle aged ladies sporting white t-shirts with a big red splodge on saying, "MEASLES Don't let your child catch it". They freely handed out glossy booklets called the ROUGH GUIDE to Childhood Illnesses by Kaz Cooke with an immunisation brochure tucked inside spreading the word by targeting pregnant mums-to-be and young mums with babies and toddlers in particular. By inviting them to sit at their tables and chairs they gave them the concentrated hard sell on the dangers of measles meanwhile a looped DVD of Dr David Salisbury at work played on the monitor in the background. A sobbing mum on the screen described how her child was extremely ill in hospital with measles, she wipes away a tear......

Over at our spot their crew descended on our little gang of five angrily saying our children were not dead or damaged from the MMR! Unbelievable! I had to ask one of their older less attractive female tribe not to talk to Sarah like she was, so bossily, after what she'd been through. Sarah can take care of herself and waded straight in there, but was being wound up a treat by this unsympathetic bunch, she is such a feisty soul to put herself through this sort of direct action which she does in the memory of her little boy how she stays so strong I'll never know. Our very presence made them cross.

One by one they came over and ranted and then called for security to get us to go. We weren't quite 'kettled' but we WERE surrounded. A burly Victoria SC security guard and his equally hefty sidekick informed me this was private property, and we should move on, I explained what we were doing he then winked as he told me that if I stepped over the grate to my left I would be off their property and so immoveable. Three community police hovered around us the entire time and one proper policeman to our left and four security men stayed put too. The PR team boss (mid to late 20's - miss busy-body) wanted rid of us, then a male (who kindly gave us a glass of water with the intention of gleaning more info) took photos of our banners. The whole group gathered up to hold a meeting not unlike an American Football Team huddle. Out came wadges of brochures, the girls staked pavement spots all around us and aimed to beat us to every young mum. We were outnumbered handsomely BUT WE HAD put the wind up them that's for sure. Their phones were hot!!! We had a generous and interested share of the public approaching us though too, mostly supportive.

Positioned at the Clock Tower entrance of a rather seedy 1960's edifice, the Victoria Shopping Centre the lorry is eye-catching crewed by a determined bunch - or at least they were when we turned up. I phoned Central News and a news team duly arrived it wasn't until they spent more time than was comfortable with the lorry crew, that I realised there is a news story in the offing but controlled in a 'for and against' way, completely orchestrated by the Dept of Health, Immunisations as part of their PR package. The AGAINST MMR filming, I was told was being conducted elsewhere, in the WEST midlands, this being the EAST. I said I was from the west, could they give me the reporter's number,, they only had his email. I worked on them because I could see they had gathered vox pop interviews and wides and pictures of us, but none speaking as yet, just as they unplugged they relented at my persistence and gave me an interview.

As they positioned themselves, Miss Busybody shot over and tried to Direct the interview by demanding that they didn't include the lorry in the background with our banners and gang in the foreground, they then turned on the generator so the sound was distorted, all this as workmen filled a hole in the pavement next to us and a street sweeper car made four rounds over us, telly cameras make shopping centres bosses nervous obviously!!! Undeterred I laid into them, pointing out the obstacles they laid in front of us to prevent us speaking, they were starting to get how unfair it was. However, I have no positive feelings from this interview, I felt they were humouring me particularly when every sentence the reporter uttered began with "I am not going to lie to you......we might not use it". The fact that I had driven over 75 miles, taken time out from caring for my autistic son AND paid out of my own pocket to do it was the clincher...Chris and Sarah had come from farther away Gloucester he wasn't keen on talking to us following their briefing from Miss Busybody.

I rang Sky News, the BBC and no joy. No editors would take it up. Local radio station were there already on site but doing the DoH bidding. I gave it a whirl too much to their annoyance. Let's hope they have to ponder the thought we may at some other point turn up and do this again!

Alli Edwards

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