This month’s winning press release,
in a competition for which we have no prize, comes from Photo of a child's car safety seatEmma PR,
inviting us to booth E44 at The Baby Show For Trade at Olympia to
witness the Kiddy Guardianfix Pro.

So many promising names, such
underwhelming reality.

Initial hopes that this would be a
display of one man’s talent at getting infants hooked on the
writings of George Monbiot or Charlie Brooker were deflated when we
realised the product was a car seat.

Secondary hopes that we would at
least be in a maddening arena of people swapping their dancing
children, like the Royal Tournament but a bit more like that Ally
McBeal episode, were similarly dashed upon the realisation that
this was just a giant industry show-and-sell.

Nowadays, an event for selling baby
products is a parade of non-chewable plastic protection. Even the
potential fun of watching an out-of-work drama graduate
demonstrating a teddy bear that wets itself is gone.

We’ve been raised by The Daily
to assume that danger lurks around every sand pit or
staircase, and the potential injury to one’s offspring is nothing,
nothing at all, compared to the ignominy of our peers if they learn
that we didn’t have a laser-mounted Sprog-Catcher 900 in place.

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Of all the many things we can
resent The Apprentice for in this world, one of them must be the
gaggle of pencil-skirted and tan-brogue product buyers at such
gatherings, mooing into the sky that “childcare is big business and
child safety will always sell”. Did you know that journalist is the
only job one can hold and not be allowed to apply to be on The
Apprentice? We have never heard such endorsement of our career

Hopes were magically reignited by
the promise that this seat “grows” with your child into their
pre-teens but, having decided to not visit booth E44, we are left
only to suppose that it is made of enchanted tree branches and
Voodoo bones. Such sorcery cannot be fully market-tested.

How do the seats stop growing? Have
they got a prototype in a factory that is now an armchair the size
of bus?

To top off the madness, we are
invited by the press release to “come and find out more over a
glass of wine or two”. Now, I’m all for being offered a drink, but
do child safety and motoring go better with an impertinent New
World Chablis? I may not be a parent or an entrepreneur but I know
not to break out the Happy Shopper Merlot around cars, kids or any
product that sounds like it has a unit price of ‘one cow’ in
exchange for three beans I plant in my back seat.


Bland Theft

Online car insurance supermarket, they of the obligatory television adverts featuring a
cartoon woman who appears to have worryingly thinning hair but
lives in a beautiful rainbow world and pulls a microphone stand out
of her lap to sing songs, announced recently that there had not
been a single claim for theft of a Ford Ka between 2004 and

(Not that the obese opera singer
with contradictory hyperactivity disorder, Omid Djalili’s cringing
conveyor belt of aging celebrities, or the meerkats with
patronising East European syntax are any relief from the vehemence
I feel toward car insurance adverts. As an experiment, go through
your social media outlet of choice, see how many of your contacts
have used the word “simples” in any public-facing content. Make a
note of where they were educated. Never send your children

The news soon spread from The
article (the only national daily we could find that
reprinted the press release) to various motoring online forums,
honking out the belief that the Ka is just not credible enough to
nick. Well, this might just be a case of something looking like a
duck and sounding like a duck only to turn out to be a convincing
duck replica.

Firstly, not every Ford Ka is
insured through, no matter what they would like us to

Secondly, the Ford Ka has been
available since 1996, six years previous to Admiral’s internet
offshoot ever existing and eight years before their data

Thirdly, the Ka is not without
power or charm.

I recently drove one, having driven
a Focus for a few months, and one slip of the pedal sent me to the
end of the road without the wheels making significant contact with
the ground. It was like clinging on to a marlin after months in the
belly of a whale.

Fourthly, if we accept that those
who steal cars are looking to sell them on (probably in bits), not
impress their dates. Car thieves, as a demographic, tend to favour
the Ford Transit, according to ACPO’s Vehicle Crime Intelligence

Let’s presume that’s more to do
with total tonnage of scrap and parts (compared to one of the
smallest runarounds on the market), rather than taste.

We may as well suggest that the best theft protection for one’s
vehicle is to vomit on the bonnet or have a mural of the Pet Shop
Boys painted on either side. Or have the body entirely made out of
an unsalable material. Like toast.