Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

Don’t buy Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs

p1ceu1nzkbumc2itd4-czh7lrblwouulhndll_qzbmve5cwdwmlxzvickigkhdbqhsn5-sgs129It turns out that the toys inside the Kinder chocolate eggs are made by child labour in Romania according to an investigation by the Sun newspaper.

Families in this, one of the poorest of the EU countries are being paid as little as 20p an hour for making the toys at home.

Child exploitation is not new in Romania. It is probably as famous for sending gangs of child pickpockets to the UK as it is for being the home of Vlad the Impaler.

Apart from the child exploitation experts say there is also a risk of food poisoning if the toys have been assembled in unsanitary conditions.

A whistleblower said “Customers would expect products which go inside children’s chocolates to be made in controlled conditions but so many of the toys are being made in peoples homes that effective quality control is impossible”.

Ferrero (the Italian chocolatier that makes the eggs) may not be getting what they pay for and middle men somewhere must be making a killing off the back of people being treated like slaves“. What, corruption in the EU?

The eggs and toy parts are supplied by Romexa SA a Ferrero contractor. The Sun’s investigation revealed that Romexa’s boss Daniel Muran is a millionaire living in a fabulous mansion. He said “this is the first I have heard of it but I will find out who is responsible and the factories involved will have their contracts terminated if this is found to be true”. He is currently under investigation by the Romanian authorities

Ferrero said it banned the use of children in factories and that its suppliers had passed a strict audit inspection this year. “All our suppliers are subject to regular independent checks to ensure that they observe the terms of our strict code of conduct. We will investigate these new allegations fully in order to ensure that our code of conduct is being strictly observed“.

Well there are strict inspections and corrupt EU inspections I guess. Also they seem to be missing the point that these toys are being assembled by homeworkers rather than in factories and so are unlikely to be inspected.

One family of five, including children of six years of age, who were all involved in making the toys told the newspaper that they were paid the equivalent of just under £4 for every 1,000 completed eggs they delivered to a factory in Carei, near the border with Hungary.

The father felt they  had no choice despite the terrible pay as they needed money to feed the children. He complained about their living conditions and used it as a reason for their dream to come to the UK. Perhaps if their country wasn’t so corruptit is he fourth most corrupt country in the EU after Bulgaria and Italy, and equal with Greece – people might have a fairer chance of earning a decent living.

These eggs are illegal in the US with huge fines for smuggling them in.

Supply chain integrity is an absolute necessity in this day and age. I suggest we boycott these eggs here and also any other products made by Ferrero until they sort this problem out.

23 June 2016………a momentous day for the UK

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)


A momentous day for the UK as we take back our independence, our sovereignty and the right to decide who comes and doesn’t come to this country. And no, we are not a nation of racists or Little Englanders but a liberal and open-minded people who will give succour to those genuinely in need of help.


What this vote has done is show the deep divide between the “political elite in the London bubble” who have no real interest in what happens outside the M25 and the rest of the UK who have stuck two fingers up at the “liberal elite and luvvies” firmly ensconced in their Hampstead and Islington bubbles. One has only to look at the money spent in the SE of England against the amount spent in the regions on everything from economic development, sport and even the arts.

In particular I would direct the hand gesture…

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EU prisoner deal not working

figure_behind_bars_anim_500_wht_3524The EU agreed that all countries would ratify a deal by 2011 that meant foreign nationals would be compulsorily deported to their own countries.

Of the 28 EU states, 9 have still not ratified the agreement. These states include Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Greece, The Irish Republic, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. These countries account for 1,600 of the EU prisoners.

And what has the EU done about it? Nothing. It has not taken out infringement proceedings against these countries but sent a letter before Xmas asking them to sort it out by March 2015.

At present there are 10,500 foreign prisoners in our prisons and 4,600 are from EU countries. They cost us £350 million a year.

The top 10 worst offenders are:

Poland with 901 prisoners

Irish Republic with 750

Romania with 521

Lithuania with 461

Portugal with 205

Latvia with 192

Netherlands with 130

Slovakia with 119

Czech Republic with 109

France with 102

Between 2010 and 2013 only 162 prisoners were sent to EU and non-EU countries. A compulsory deal with Albania has resulted in only 3 of the 334 prisoners returning home.

Prisoners claim their human rights are in danger if they get sent home to prison. A Lithuanian has already won an appeal against deportation on those grounds.

And Britain has agreed to give Poland more time to build extra prison places.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said “We are pleased that the commission has reiterated the requirement for member states to have an implementation plan by March”

Just don’t hold your breath.

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French now not so miserable? Sacre Bleu!

Almost four years ago I posted about the French being the most miserable race in Europe.

It appears things are changing but not everyone is happy about it, naturally.

9782738129055Apparently the French have found an appetite for self-help books – buying 6 million by over 700 different authors in 2014 – and books promoting optimism such as “And Don’t Forget to be Happy” by psychiatrist Christophe André, “Change for the Better” also written by a psychiatrist the appropriately named Professor Michel Lejoyeux, “I’m Stopping Complaining” by French business consultant Christine Lewicki, and “Become Yourself” by economist Jaques Attali.

Intellectuals, however, are unhappy with these attempts to banish pessimism and negativity as they see this as an American concept unsuited to to the natural Gallic temperament. They would rather their compatriots stuck to Baudelaire’s miserable poetry or Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables rather than adopt the philosophy in Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy“.

An economist, Claudia Senik, says that the French are (still) 20% less happy than their counterparts in other European countries and “are in a spiral of self-fulfilling pessimism. They have a very high social ideal which is unreal and unrealistic and in fact this makes them unhappy“.

Many people are saying that the search for happiness is a delusion only likely to produce further misery.While you mull that over have a listen to Pharrell Williams

And if you are female and want to be more like French women read how to do it here



The EU is a hotbed of corruption

under_table_bribe_1600_wht_9467Leaving aside the allegations that the President of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, was  party to Luxembourg’s notorious tax-avoidance schemes, which attracted companies like Amazon and Pepsi-Cola, when he was Finance Minister then PM, there is something rotten in the EU.

Bojan Pancevski’s piece in the Sunday Times this week spelled out its extent.

Hungary, one of the first countries to allow escapees from East Germany to cross its borders into Austria, and originally hailed as an example of new democracy, has recently turned its back on liberalism – President Orban talks of a shift to “an illiberal state” – and adopted an authoritarian form of government with close ties to Russia. And corruption is so widespread that the USA has imposed a travel ban on six senior Hungarian officials over allegations of corruption – even though they are partners in NATO.

Slovenia joined in 2004 after emerging from the Balkan conflict. Originally praised for its successful liberal economy an economic development it was the first eastern european nation to meet the criteria to join the euro currency. Now the economy is struggling and corruption seems rife. The former Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who as in power when they joined the EU, is now serving a 2-year jail sentence for corruption. His successor is also under investigation after nominating herself to become a member of the European Commission.

Romania and Bulgaria are both under special scrutiny by the EU as each year they fail to make progress in curbing organised crime and corruption and to establish an independent judiciary. In Romania 30 lawmakers have been prosecuted or jailed for failing to take action against corrupt officials and for pressurising the judiciary. In neighbouring Bulgaria three governments fell in one year in the face of public protests about corruption.

Croatia, the latest country to join the EU, is also struggling with bribery and bad governance. The former Prime Minister, Ivo Sander,  who steered the country into the EU is serving an 8-year sentence for corruption.

There doesn’t seem to be much the EU can do. Once you’re in the EU club you’re in for life it seems (although British eurosceptics might wish it weren’t so).

The candidates for membership of the EU promise to be good democratic. law-abiding countries. Once they’re in the facade slips and the influence of decades of dictatorship re-surfaces.

Let’s not forget that Portugal, Spain and Greece were all ruled by dictators until the 1970s but they don’t seem as bad as the new boys on the block. Hungary and Bulgaria are keen to allow the construction of a gs pipeline from Russia – something the EU has previously stopped.

It’s not all bad news. The three Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all former soviet republics, have done better (although corruption is still around with EU monies ending up in companies set up by MPs and their families).

Poland, the biggest of the new members, has done well economically and its citizens have a reputation for hard work. (The Poles have the highest employment rate (80%) of any nationality in England & Wales  including the Brits). Its President Donald Trusk has been appointed to the post of President of the European Council.

And it’s Poland, and the Baltic countries – who appreciate their hard-earned independence in 1991, who are urging a hard line against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.



I million births due to Erasmus programme

It’s been claimed that the educational exchange programme, Erasmus, has contributed to 1 million births since it began in 1987.

27% of participants met their future partners during their stay abroad and one third ended up with people of a different nationality.

I was on a Summer School in Lithuania with a group of them back in 2008 and they certainly knew how to enjoy themselves the students from Poland, Germany, Turkey, Czech Republic, Latvia, and some other EU countries.

European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen said it was a “touching little figure” that showed the scheme “creates a lot of positive things”. “It is a great encouragement to young people to go and live abroad and open up to all the opportunities that exist if you are willing,” Hansen added. I couldn’t have put it better myself!

P1020579And they still seem to be celebrating those inter-cultural experiences here in Vilnius, Lithuania.