From The Archive is a special Friday feature. It features posts from my earlier (now-deleted) blog: Stuff & Nonsense, and a few items from previous versions of A Tangled Rope, that I feel deserve reprinting here, mainly as a way of archiving them. The dates are only approximate, I’m afraid, and there is a possibility that some links may no longer work (although, I will try to remember to test the links before republishing the piece).
Health & Safety – 03/10/2006
The British are supposed to be obsessed with the weather and all its delightful permutations. My own outlook being more akin to the Billy Connolly maxim that ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, merely the wrong clothes’ means there has been many a time when I have been surprised by the number of folks I see wearing, or doing, something entirely unsuited for the conditions.
It seems to me to be elementary common sense to at least be aware of the weather forecast, but these people I see; either they pay no attention to the forecast, or wilfully ignore it. Both these attitudes are symptomatic of a certain kind of foolishness that, these days, it seems the over-officious ‘Health & Safety’ culture is trying to protect against. Mostly, it seems to protect people who display this kind of attitude from their own stupidity.
Examples like burglars suing householders for injuries sustained in breaking into their house, people falling through factory roofs retrieving kites, balls or so on regularly feature in articles on this matter. Such things should be met with at most a shrug at most and any attempt to blame someone else for their own stupidity, let alone attempt to extort ‘compensation’, should only result in the arrest of the perpetrator for being an embarrassment to humanity.
Of course, I’m not saying there aren’t legitimate health and safety concerns. There are, undoubtedly, but there does seem to be an endemic creeping bureaucratisation of these areas of legitimate concern which creeps ever onward until what was once preoccupied with legitimate concerns now seems to turn into a sort of parody of itself.
A similar sort of thing is happening in other areas of what might be called ‘social legislation’. For much as I would like to see Tony Blair banged up – if only for being a git, if nothing else – I found it strained the bounds of credibility to see the police hounding him for being slightly disparaging about the Welsh.
This sort of meddling attitude seems embedded in the current government, a sort of desire for the micro-legislation of people’s lives. It is this mentality, maybe more than their foreign affairs, domestic cock-ups and all else they’ve done, that has driven me away from Labour. I, only half in jest, call them the Laborg for this reason, a seeming need to absorb everything and everyone into the Laborg hive-mind where all difference is legislated away.
This desire to control, to shape the world into an image of their own making possibly goes some way towards explaining the hopeless naivety of their foreign policy and all its blundering. But then so many of them were heavily into student politics (a long established oxymoron) where naïve foolish but noble-sounding gestures are de rigueur. The problem is when you let people like that get their sweaty little mitts of the levers of power you end up with… well, you end up with what we have now.