Yummy mummies aren't ruining high streets: they just want space

Oct 17, 2012

Opinion digest: irrational hatred of affluent mums, hope for Scottish independence, Starbucks' hypocrisy

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When an old family-run tea shop closed in an affluent part of London as a result of rent increases, the affluent local mothers got the blame, says Rowan Davies in The Guardian. The Evening Standard wrote the headline: Yummy mummies 'are ruining Primrose Hill'. High streets are evolving everywhere, but why the "stinging resentment" directed at women and their pre-school children? Tellingly, their male partners have not acquired a pejorative shorthand description. "The very phrase 'yummy mummy' leaks bile, marking mothers on their f***ability and almost always sneeringly deployed." Perhaps it captures a real social phenomenon that some find genuinely threatening. Mothers are demanding more space. "Maybe we can take the cash that we earned in a well-paid job and spend it on lattes during our maternity leave. Maybe we can express opinions about politics, technology or art while wiping someone's nose, and expect to be taken seriously. And maybe, if you judge us more harshly than you would a father doing exactly the same thing, we will call you on it."

Everyone seems to think that Alex Salmond has already lost Scotland's independence referendum. But don't be so sure, says Alice Thomson in The Times. Winning the right to name the date was crucial for Salmond. Maybe October 2014 will follow a summer in which Scottish national pride has hit a new high. Andy Murray might win Wimbledon, Chris Hoy might have hoisted the Saltire at the Commonwealth Games. And maybe Alex Salmond will set out an attractive vision of an independent Scotland, sharing a royal family, a currency, a combined defence policy and embassies with England, and taking turns to sit on the UN Security Council... The No campaign must disabuse Scots of these notions. It should "refute the First Minister's hints that independence is 'devo-max' by another name", make it clear Scotland won't be able to keep the pound or go straight into the EU. But it can't all be negative. Cameron "needs to make it clear that he is willing to make the relationship more of a partnership".

"So now we know: the sickly sweet smell that hits you when you go into a branch of Starbucks does not emanate only from their coffee," says Daniel Johnson in the Daily Mail. "The nauseating stink is the stench of corporate hypocrisy." Starbucks is a global corporation with a billion-pound business in Britain. Yet we are told the company has paid practically no tax here since it began trading 14 years ago. So much for the 'ethics' that it boasts of on its website. Whether it is ethical sourcing or recycling, Fairtrade or diversity, there are few ways of manipulating our guilt-ridden consciences that the men in suits from Seattle do not try to exploit. And the marketing works. The 735 Starbucks cafés in the UK have done £1.2 billion in business in the past three years alone, but the company has paid no corporation tax. Posting losses is one strategy – and there are many others. All are perfectly legal. "But whether it squares with Starbucks' claim to the moral high ground is another matter."

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