It’s Elf n Safety gawwnn mad!
Posted on October 6, 2011
In his speech to the Conservative Party Conference yesterday David Cameron claimed that one of the biggest things holding people back in this country “is the shadow of health and safety.”
“I was told recently” he claimed “about a school that wanted to buy a set of highlighter pens. But with the pens came a warning. Not so fast – make sure you comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. Including plenty of fresh air and hand and eye protection. Try highlighting in all that.”
So as you can see, I donned my personal protective equipment and did just that.
And he was right: it was bloody hard.
I’m not sure though that I understand completely (if indeed at all), the link between highlighter pens and paedophiles. Because Cameron went on to say:
“This isn’t how a great nation was built. Britannia didn’t rule the waves with arm-bands on. So the vetting and barring scheme – we’re scaling it back. CRB checks – we’re cutting them back. At long last common sense is coming back to our country.”
Riighhht. So we’re scaling back on initiatives that were brought in to protect children and vulnerable adults from abusers; initiatives that were introduced to stop people like Ian Huntley being able to get jobs in schools, and somehow that’s meant to stop packs of highlighter pens coming with safety warnings?
I’m sure there must be some logic in there somewhere. Tell you what, I’ll give a prize (a free, non-toxic, entirely safe and danger free highlighter pen) to the first person who can find it……
Gosh, they live in a parallel universe don’t they? How about the government cutting a lot of NHS and lower-level public service jobs, mainly women, as a big part of the problem?
Perhaps Cameron and Co have been sniffing too many highlighters, and they want removal of ‘elf & safety’ so everyone else can get just as high and just not notice what is going on?
Gove has the look of a child chimney sweep about him… or maybe a powder monkey…
But do they not realise that the biggest single factor in increasing neurosis about health and safety has been the loosening up of restrictions on no-win no-fee legal action. A classic piece of free-market deregulation that happened, iirc, under the Major government.
Ok, link between paedophiles and highlighter pens? Simples. Child abusers/groomers search through lonely hearts columns looking for “mums”, highlight the most likely. They date the mum a few times, get to meet the children. They offer to mind the kids while mum has some “me” time… Link established – can I have a pink one please?
The logic seems perfectly consistent to me from that speech, if I read between the lines: “This isn’t how a great nation was built. We had our Empire because we were able to send millions of expendable people who weren’t us to their deaths. And now, this health and safety stuff comes along, giving those people the idea that their lives and health are important. This stops them cheerfully accepting their expendability, which is why we’re a second-rate island nation rather than ruling half the world. We need to give people their sense of expendability back. So, toxic fumes, drowning, predators? We’re fully in favour. That’s what made Britain Great.”
Cameron was just having a crack at a well-known Labour fallacy – that you can create a perfectly safe world by passing more and more laws. Labour had created over 3,600 new criminal offences by September 2008 and a good few more by 2010, many of which were on “elfin safety”. No doubt many of these unnecessary laws will be abolished in the forthcoming Great Repeal Act.
Gulfstream5: “that you can create a perfectly safe world by passing more and more laws”
Now of course no-one actually believes that, but H&S legislation certainly is making things safer.
UK Fatal accidents at work, 1992-2010, per 100,000 workers, fell from 1.4 to 0.6 – http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/images/fatal-injuries2.gif – and there has been a similar drop in serious non-fatal accidents.
Sharon and Cim, you are both geniuses (genii?). Congratulations, or should that be commiserations, on being able to understand Tory logic 🙂
Don’t go looking for logic. It’s an argument that operates on an emotional level, not a logical one.
He is right. Why do we have to feel like we have to consult the government to know if something is OK? Does that not make people anxious that if they do something wrong then the government will take them away and punish them? Who wants to live under that strain? You want people to live in fear do you? Why do we all have to conform to what a group of (often not very intelligent) people say is right? What happened to personal responsibility? What about to a society where we forgive people if we think they have done wrong, and don’t jump to punish them?
I for one hope 38 degress take seriously the threat to children and vulnerable adults that the ConDems are proposing. CRB checks are necessary and the evidence is clear to all why.
Six questions Purewater?
Second the genuis of Sharon and Cim 🙂
I think cim wins, hands down.
Elf ‘n Safety is a big myth. I bet that most of the dreaded regulations are brought by big companies to stop ordinary people suing them over thousands because of a paper cut.
They have nothing to do with controling people, and more to do with the fact that big companies have way too much money and that there are too many lawyers with nothing to do.
Oh, and there’s the police state, of course. Everyone live in fear so that we can spend billions on security.
I think Cameron’s argument is spurious and rubbish, but at the same time I think CRB checks are next to useless. You only show up on a check if you have been convicted of something, not even if you have been arrested and released. Your example of Ian Huntley being a case in point: a CRB check missed him because he had never been convicted of anything, and he went on to kill anyway. Statistics show that children are infinitely more likely to be abused by a family member of friend, and no one is having them CRB-checked.