Friday, 19 March 2010

Condoms: Lie back and think of England

(But see this, and this by the same author, and while you're about it, this by someone reviewing the author's work.)

Last week, the UK Government announced that it would pay for 42 million condoms to be sent to South Africa as part of its preparations for the football World Cup. The news was greeted mostly with titters — just how many condoms does John Terry need?

But it was actually a glimpse into one of the most unsung, unknown British successes. It is a story of thinking small to make a big difference. Of staying true to our values, even when those more powerful than us were rejecting them. It is a story of those three best of British qualities: smutty humour, decency and Blitz spirit, which combined to give us a philanthropic vocation. It is a story of Britain saving the world, one condom at a time. You may know that Britain, in Durex, is home to the most successful condom brand in the world — producing a third of the billions of commercial condoms gracing the planet’s manhood. You may even be part of the movement that means, as of October last year, the condom became the UK’s contraceptive of choice, according to the Office for National Statistics. For the first time since the flower-power era, British women now rely on the condom as much as the Pill.

But what you probably don’t know is that in 2007, Britain was the largest country donor of condoms to the developing world. For every occasion when the US preached abstinence, the British quietly upped their shipments of condoms. Read more
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