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a blog by Chris Barrow

The Red Cross and bureaucratic idiocy

You may recall my recent comments that I had cancelled my Red Cross subscription after the ridiculous action taken against a Glasgow panto. Here is their reply – do you sense any real remorse? I wonder if my depiction of the emblem above will result in another lawyer writing ME a letter? Dear Mr Barrow, Thank you for your email. I am very sorry that you feel that you have to withdraw your support of the British Red Cross and would like to take this opportunity to further explain our actions in this matter. As you will have seen in the media coverage of this story, the red cross emblem is not a general sign of the medical profession, but a symbol of neutrality, owned by the Ministry of Defence, and recognised by all sides during armed conflicts. The emblem was designed to protect all who wear or display it, and we therefore have a responsibility to protect that emblem, to ensure that its effectiveness is not diluted in any way. We have no desire to appear trivial, nor do we actively look for examples of the red cross emblem being misused, but when potential instances of misuse are bought to our attention, we have an obligation to act on them, even when those misuses are innocently meant. When acting on reports of misuse we typically send a standard letter explaining the special protective meaning and legal restrictions applying to the emblem, and in the majority of cases recipients appreciate the letter and happily cooperate, as was the case with the Pavilion Theatre. As I said earlier, I am sorry that this incident has led to you withdrawing your support of the British Red Cross. We understand that not everyone will share our views on this matter and we respect that, but we also hope that you understand why our neutrality is so important to us and the work that we do. Yours sincerely, Julia Morgan Supporter Services Manager

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