Saturday, August 03, 2013

The longest trial in England ever

Dear Mother,

I am sorry we did not take you to McDonalds for lunch. We know how much you enjoy it and it nice and simple and cheap for us too, but I am sure you will agree with our sentiments. It's like this, you see...........

The longest trial is also known as the McLibel case. The trial ran for two and half years with the defendants, a former postman and a gardener, being found guilty by a judge of some of the allegations they made of which they were accused. It all centred around a brochure accusing the McDonalds Corporation of various acts of  bad corporate citizenry.

Not content with McDonalds not enforcing payment of damages, the pair went on to the European Court of Human Rights which judged that their rights to freedom of expression and a fair trial had been breached.

From when the brochure was first composed to when the case concluded in ECHR was a period of 19 years.

It is hard to believe McDonalds survived the awful publicity the case engendered, but it did and amazingly seemed to learn little from the experience.

The Dandenong Ranges are a rather special place for Melburnians. You can see the range in the background of my header photo. It is place of national parks, farms, villages, damp winters and hot summers where there is always a fear the whole mountain could go up in a fierce blaze. The villages contain tea rooms, cafes, galleries, nurseries, public gardens and heaps of small businesses. Houses are sprinkled over much of the range and of course it is where the iconic Puffing Billy steam train runs.

On the edge of ranges and quite close to Melbourne is Tecoma, a non-descript little township, and it is where McDonalds is going against local wishes and building an outlet there. There are also many Victorians against the building of a McDonalds there. On one petition alone there are 61,000 signatures.

The locals have been passionately protesting against the development and extraordinarily McDonalds is suing eight local protesting residents for delaying the project, having taken out Supreme Court writs against them.

McDonalds has once again set it sails to a public relations disaster. Of course the company will recover, but I am doubtful about the Tecoma McDonalds store ever being profitable.

But then again, as our own Dame Nellie Melba said to Clara Butt about Australians, 'Sing 'em muck. It's all they can understand'.

Note: I don't use the phrase Scottish Restaurant when I want the post to turn up for google searches and various media monitors.


22 comments:

  1. For the protestors it's a case of 'do you want writs with that'.

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    1. Oh Victor, that is ever so good.

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  2. The law favours those with the deepest pockets. I'd no idea McDonalds was suing people over this. Putting a store in Tecoma will be a dreadful thing, but I'm not so sure it won't be profitable.

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    1. FC, I heard just last night that residents fought them off in Belgrave.

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  3. I am sure you are doing the right thing, taking mum there if she likes it. But oh dear. Mackers
    1. won't allow their teenage workers to unionise
    2. won't pay their teenage workers adult wages
    3. sack teenager workers before they reach 21.
    4. put sugar in all food
    5. cook in deep oil
    6. make children obese if they eat there more than once a week
    7. used to use plastic etc etc etc

    And I haven't even thought about your main point about the need to protect the Dandenong Ranges. They really are a very special place for Melburnians.

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    1. Hels, if we take her out, we pay, so I am happy to for the cheap. Yes, they are not known as a good employer.

      First in will be Maccas, then Hungry Jacks and KFC.

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  4. we fought in Port Macquarie when they wanted to open a FOURTH McDonalds - and won! The fight was led by a Dr McDonald!!! I think I have the DVD of the McLibel case - anti Maccas was a pet project for Don

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    1. Well done to the residents of PM, MC. I did hear a short movie had been made.

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  5. Giant semi-trailer delivery trucks, even more litter, and yes it's the thin End Of The Wedge of KFC, HJacks, RedRooster to follow.
    Eltham fought them off years ago.
    Would you like to eat-in or stay slim?

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    1. Em Stacks, I also heard Knoxfield did too. Nice humour, well done.

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  6. They're going where they are not wanted, but once they are entrenched, the store will turn just as much profit. Tourists, local and international, will see the golden arches, recognise the familiar and eat what they know. Same foods at the same prices, no hard decisions. Instead of searching out the local eateries and discovering something new and unique.

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    1. River, you are probably right, but I would not like to put money on being successful. When travelling and eating exotic food, or just unfamiliar food, a place like McDonalds can be a relief to find as you will kind of know what they have. In Broken Hill, we had no breakfast facilities in our motel and we tired of having an expensive breakfast out every morning, and then we discovered the McDonalds there did cereal and toast. Bliss.

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  7. It KILLS me that these big corporations can just stream roll over everyone and their wishes just because they can. There is no need for another Maccers ANYWHERE. As soon as fast foodies settle anywhere it takes over the town like a disease. Similarly Woolies/Coles fuel debarkle. It honestly makes me so sick.

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    1. M, what they doing with those who they issued writs against is corporate bullying. Best I don't call them liars, but for C & W to say they aren't trying to drive out smaller operators is curious, to say the least.

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  8. When I took my Mum shopping earlier this week at a local M&S food store we noticed the McD opposite heaving with people.
    Pretty much all younger (fat) mothers with baby fat kids in tow.
    I despair for the future...

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    1. Craig, I wouldn't guarantee it, but I think it is worse in England, the north at least, than here. I couldn't believe what kids were fed there. They seemed to eat little else but sweets, some meat, chips of course and crisps.

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  9. I'm not even sure why people eat in these establishments. Everyone knows how revoltingly bad the food is for you. *sigh*

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    1. Fen, cheap, filling and fast. I am amazed at how they manage to extract taste from everything.

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  10. I often wondered why Their stores were so popular when their food is do foul. But then I saw the prices, Kids can buy a whole lunch with a drink for $4 thats why the stores are full of young ones with little cash. Don't councils have a say in who can build what?

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    1. Diane, that is certainly one reason why they are popular. Council represented its electors views and denied a permit. McDonalds successfully appealed to higher authority, the disgraceful VCAT.

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  11. I think you've mentioned this before Andrew, the Ranges doesn't feel like good fit for a Maccers but they must have done their homework oui.. Only thing I don't agree with some of the comments is that Maccers doesn't make you fat, you can lead a horse to water etc etc it's being a piggy and eating too much of anything that makes you fat, go on take Mum to Maccers if she likes it !

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    1. Very sensible Grace. I am sure the homework was done. Yes, you are right about eating too much, but their food is so loaded with fat, sugar and salt, that a very small quantity can be quite a load of baddies.

      Mother could well do with fattening up, but not the sugar and salt.

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