Why you should say no to the #SayNoToTheBountyMutiny campaign.

I’m not a mummy blogger clearly. I don’t frequent MumsNet or Bounty. So this post may not be too interesting to many regular readers.

There is currently a campaign to remove direct sales representives from maternity wards. The very short story is that a company called Bounty pays the NHS money to get access to maternity wards. Many people, including myself, don’t think this should be allowed. My motivation behind this is simple – Bounty have no motivation to improve health outcomes so they have no place in a healthcare setting.

This post isn’t about my motivations though, it is about the counter-campaign that has sprung up, #SayNotToTheBountyMutiny. I don’t know how it started or a timeline of events, but the central part of the campaign appears to be a petition on change.org.

Go ahead and read the petition. You’ll come away wondering what several parts of it could possibly mean, or why they are relevant. I’ll be blunt – it’s badly written. It’s not directed at any one person (just the “UK Government”) and there is no suggestion to how you could achieve their goal (“Ignore Mumsnet over their Bounty Mutiny”).

I asked for clarification on a number of parts of it. The person who started the petition, Claire Curran (@TheLazyGirlBlog), clarified some of the points on twitter, and I thought I would summarise what I took away from that discussion here.

I have a number of problems with her position and way she has represented her arguments.

False dilemma

Claire has created a false dilemma. Apparently, the two choices are:

  1. Campaign to stop Bounty reps on wards
  2. Campaign to make the NHS better

It’s absolutely clear that this is not a binary choice. I can do both. Using a false dilemma is a common way of trying to strengthen your argument, especially when presenting it to those who aren’t fully informed of the background.

It also heavily relies on an appeal to worse problems. Why are you trying to fix this small issue when there are bigger issues? The same kind of thing you hear from chuggers every day (“Why did you buy that expensive sandwich from Pret when you could be giving an African child water for 6 months?”).

I don’t know if using these two fallacies are conscious decisions or just lack of logical reasoning.

Some kind of issue with MumsNet

I first heard about the campaign from Dr Alice Roberts, who had just had her baby and wrote an article about Bounty in the Guardian. I didn’t know of any particular MumsNet involvement until the #SayNoToTheBountyMutiny campaign started.

Many of Claire’s tweets, blog posts, and the petition discuss MumsNet and how they are in competition to Bounty. The final words of her petition are “Ignore Mumsnet over their Bounty Mutiny” – a tight focus on MumsNet again.

There have been insults directed at MumsNet:


From Claire’s comment on a Telegraph article about her petition:

Yes, I am very aware of Mumsnet and it’s forums as a former member who left down to a disgraceful level of bullying on the forums which the Moderators ignore. I am very surprised they are backing/highlighting a campaign (I say Mumsnet are the main campaigners purely because  the majority of tweets or blogs posted in support of the Mutiny come from Mumsnet’s feed, Justine Roberts (its founder) and Mumsnet members) where new Mothers are portrayed as vulnerable as most bullying I witnessed was of Mothers admitting to vulnerability in their parenting.  However, this is not the root cause of why I am against the mutiny.

It’s not the root cause, but it certainly sounds like it is part of the cause.

Then the petition itself:

However, we believe the bigger picture is that Bounty and it’s forums are in direct competition with Mumsnet. Bounty works with Bloggers and has done for many years- in competition with Mumnets own, very new by comparison Blogger Network

I think we are supposed to infer something from this. Are MumsNet out to destroy Bounty? Do they want their blogging traffic? Who knows, without it being said explicitly, we are left to guess.

I don’t know if this is because Claire isn’t very clear, or if she is relying on people making some kind of false assumption. It really weakens her arguments though as it really looks like there are other motives for starting a petition against MumsNet.

Overstating the impact of £2.3m of funding

This sounds like a lot of cash, but in terms of the NHS budget, it is tiny. I don’t have much more to say about this.


If you want to change the NHS, campaign for change in the NHS. Don’t campaign against people who want to change the NHS.


Claire has asked for her name to be removed. I don’t understand why.


Update 2

This series of tweets happened this evening:

I hate to be like this, but Claire has strongly inferred in public that I have threatened her. This is totally baseless. I can’t see how these tweets have been misinterpreted by me.

Update 3

These are strong accusations without any evidence. Simply for challenging a petition on threads and posts that are about the petition.

The terms “stalk” and “harass” have specific legal meaning in the UK. Being ignorant of this is no defence, and using those terms against someone with no evidence is defamatory.



Update 4

There have been some almost comedic blog posts, condemning the continued discussion of this topic whilst continuing to discuss it.

How do we cope with adult tantrums? – by having a passive-aggressive outburst. If this isn’t an attempt at the last word, I don’t know what is.

The mutiny over the mutiny over the Bounty Mutiny – let’s all be nice to each other, whilst thanking those that hurl insults. Apparently by directing 3 tweets at the poster of this, I have been “bombarding” them.