Oh, yes – by the way, sorry about that…

Oops.  We did slip up there, didn’t we?  Making a drug which led to neonate deformities…  oh dear.  Well, let’s stay quiet and hope nobody makes a fuss.  After all, who needs arms and legs?  I mean, they’re overrated, aren’t they?  Oh, all right then – we’re sorry.  OK?  Happy now?  Let’s say no more about it…

I have rarely been so disgusted as I was this morning by the news that Gruenenthal has issued an apology ‘on its website’ to those born with birth defects as a result of their mothers taking Thalidomide.  Frankly, I’m astonished that the company is still trading: apparently, though sufferers have received ‘bits and pieces’ of compensation, the company has never admitted liability – presumably because it would put them out of business altogether.  Hell, we can’t have that, can we?  Admitting responsibility for 100,000 miscarriages and lots of premature deaths – that’s hardly good for their reputation, is it?  I don’t know how these people live with themselves: I remember years ago a TV documentary interviewed an executive in a firm which made heavy cladding to go on the outside of buildings.  The cladding was known to be defective and one huge chunk of it fell on top of a young boy and, unsurprisingly, killed him.  When asked why they went ahead and authorised the use of defective materials the executive said, ‘I took a commercial decision.’

I have rarely been more chilled by a statement than I was by that cool sentence.  Still, at least he had the courage to be interviewed – nowadays these people hide behind websites and are ‘not available for interview’.

What’s the German for complete arsehole?


No Triumph, No Tragedy

The Thalidomide scandal was certainly a tragedy for many families: the Paralympics is a great opportunity for some who have suffered tragedy to triumph over the odds.  I think it’s great that the Paralympics are having such a high level of publicity as it must be very empowering for disabled people everywhere.  But I have a bit of a problem with the current ‘no triumph, no tragedy’ ethos.  I totally understand that people don’t want to be patronised, nor do they wish to be seen in terms of media stereotypes, but surely having both legs blown off because you were sent out to Afghanistan, is some kind of tragic event?  Not to mention being born without any.  And surely the ability to do amazing things with your body in spite of these difficulties, is a kind of triumph?  If you take away that vocabulary, what’s left?  Disabled people may want to be treated just like everyone else, and in many cases they ought to be – but surely in the case of sport there needs to be some recognition of what has been overcome?

What do you think?

Please comment, especially if you have a disability.  How would you wish to be described?  How do you describe yourself?

And finally.. some good news – Holly is to be allowed to retake her Maths early, after a six-week refresher course.  This is a great thing as she was quite discouraged at the thought of another year of the subject.  Quite understandable.

Kirk out