I’m not sure how or when the proverbial health & safety snowball was nudged off the top of Everest. However, what is clear is that it is now careening its way across Britain. I’m sure that – like any poison worth its salt – it has been a slow and largely untraceable development. I am more astute then most in documenting the change given my short ‘working holiday’ visits to England with yearly gaps in between. I have spent the majority of the last few years in Second & Third World, so returns to the First World are always met with utter confusion. The Blame-Someone-Else culture is by no means a British phenomenon, rather a First World one.
It seems that every step forward towards ‘progress’ must be balanced by a side-step towards madness! It begins by somebody closing open manholes – in Mongolia sometimes people don’t – then somebody places a ‘Caution’ sign on the manhole. At this point I think most will agree the matter is closed. The key word being most and the inevitable one is the person who makes the decisions, in Britain, it seems. Therefore, instead of stopping here the steps taken are as follows:
1) Barricade the manhole.
2) Close off the surrounding street.
3) Erect flashing lights to warn anyone within fifty miles of the manhole.
Granted I am allowing my ardour for hyperbole get the better of me with that example. However, I haven’t gone too far from the reality. Here are real life examples of Health and Safety Nazism in 2013 Britain:
A woman in a restaurant asks for left-over food for her dog. The waitress’ response, ‘Sorry I can’t, if the dog gets sick; I’ll be blamed.’
‘You can’t wear flip-flops in the building. It’s a health and safety risk.’
Bag of Mixed Nuts; ‘Warning: May Contain Nuts’.
But of course the signs are the most shocking…