So, hang on a minute. Firstly there is a smoking ban which is the strictest across Europe, including banning smoking in bars and restaurants, school and hospital grounds. Apparently if you smoke in your car and there are children in your car you can get fined. But we already know that smoking kills. I get it. I understand it, I support the ban. I’m down with that, as they say.
But now it turns out that the sweets that were thrown at the Three Kings’ Parade in Palma could only be thrown from the floats if they were sugar-free. The Consell de Palma did a good thing by making the event more accessible to children with special needs: there was an opportunity for sight impaired kids to meet the Kings, and the hearing impaired had a sign language interpretation of the parade, and there was a special area for seriously ill children to watch the whole shebang from, but sweets? Banning sugar? No way. Surely that’s down to me, the parent?
You see I grew up around sugar, my mother worked for Cadburys Schweppes. My brothers and I would look forward to the when she would come home from work laden with goodies from the staff shop: reject chocolate biscuits, Fry’s Chocolate Cremes, Double Deckers. Chocolate was like the sixth food group in my family. But it wasn’t always around; it was something to look forward to. Then there was my grandma, a boiled sweet addict: pineapple cubes, Army and Navy, rhubarb and custard, all wrapped up in perfect paper bags, tucked into various pockets around her person, and you might just get lucky and be awarded with something or other. Sweets are a part of childhood, they are a treat. Yes, they make your teeth rot, and they make you fat, but there’s something naughty about them that kids love. And it’s down to me, the mummy, to regulate them, not the government.
What’s next? Is the state is going to take full responsibility for my child? Can I stop teaching her to look both ways before she crosses the road because there’s going to be a lollipop lady shadowing her every move? Wouldn’t be more sensible to think about the things which could actually harm our children at these public events? Such as the insane Nit de Focs, and the demonis who run through the crowds with lit fireworks, flaming torches and chainsaws? (Well, they do down our parts). Or, what about Sant Antoni, the Festival of the Animals? In Andratx horses gallop up the main road past babies in their prams. That’s pretty scary, not even the priest who is blessing the animals and their owners looks entirely confident as he’s being born down on by a snorting, over excited stallion. Now that’s something that could do with some thought.
It’s just plain silly to ban children from sweets, get a grip Consell de Palma. Forbidding sugar at the Three Kings’ Parade was a PR step too far.