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Home > Culture and Society

A Very British Coo

4 October 2005

Just as you never pat cripples on the head, point and scream when a midget comes into the room or tie middle-aged men to radiators and leave them there to starve, so should you never lean over newborn babies and make cutesy nonsensical noises at them. They're not retards and they don't deserve your condescension and abuse. This at least is the view of the Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax, who this week decided that admiring someone else's baby is a contravention of their human rights.

Debbie Lawson, neo-natal manager at the Calderdale baby unit explained, 'Cooing should be a thing of the past because these are little people with the same rights as you or me.' Therefore, just as we enjoy the right not to be cooed over, so should they. Worse still, cooing is actually just the thin end of the wedge. Like smoking reefer or stroking dogs, it can lead to other things. 'We often get visitors wandering over to peer into cots,' Debbie continued. 'But people sometimes touch or talk about the baby like they would if they were examining tins in a supermarket and that should not happen.' Tins in a supermarket? You begin to see that the staff of the Calderdale Royal may actually have a point, when you consider that these savages are roaming the baby units in Halifax, prodding the freshborn of strangers and muttering things like, 'This may be full of shit and dodgy chemicals, but it'd probably be alright in a curry.'

Labour MP for Halifax and possible cocaine abuser Linda Riordan views the campaign as 'bureaucracy gone mad'. Speaking to the Halifax Courier, she put the alternative point of view that in reality these newborn babies rather like being looked at. The little tarts. Or at least their mothers like it. 'All mothers want people to admire their babies because all babies are beautiful,' said Riordan. Utter garbage of course. A great many babies look like nothing more than exactly what they are - stinking foul sacks of pointless mewling dough. Indeed it is a shame that more people don't feel the same way about babies that we do, then none of this nonsense would have happened in the first place.

In an attempt not to look quite so preposterous, another hospital spokesperson pointed out that the whole cooing ban is as much to do with avoiding infection as the right not to hear the words, 'Who's a gorgeous little baby? Who's a gorgeous little baby? *You* are. Yes, you are. Yes, you are.... Got your nose.' Remember after all, what these people are like. If they're dumb enough to confuse human babies with tins of sweetcorn, there is also every chance they might sneeze AIDS into the poor little blighters' faces.

Ms Lawson summed up with the words 'Every patient has a right to privacy and dignity, and we say that includes tiny babies as well.' Her next campaign will be to get babies out of those humiliating shit-filled nappies and standing on their own two feet. We wish her well, and recommend that she retrain as a botanist.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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