Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Outside the East Chapel is a car port, well hearse port. It's connected to the Chapel by a glass roof. This glass roof is covered in green algae and those little tufts of moss shaped like collapsed golf balls. It looks quite awful. I could take the initiative and just clean it, but I've been told I can't. Under Health & Safety Regs only someone whose had the requisite Height Training can go up a ladder. As I haven't had the said training I have to stay grounded and the roof has to stay mucky. This has been the case now for months.

Once upon a time in the seventies ( BT ~ ie Before Thatcher ) the problem with taking the initiative was unions. If you were caught doing someone elses job you were for it. Things went from bad to worse with Union Regs fossilising the status quo. Under the cover of minimising risk, reducing accidents and more importantly risk of litigation, Health & Safety Regs are used so tightly in the public services, that initiative is being systematically irradicated.

Assessing the degree of risk seems to be the problem. It would appear common sense can no longer be accounted for, so as much risk as possible has to be legislated against. We English are so good at the fervent application of rules, that they become oppressive. Look at the way the Human Rights Legislation is being misused, so much so some people want it withdrawn, despite all the good things it protects and upholds.

So many times I hear on the radio, a well meaning advocate imploring that a situation 'should never be allowed to happen again'. My first response is, I'm ever so sorry I'm afraid it's bound to'. Life is troublesome, life is risky and life cannot have suffering legislated out of existence. Whilst rules and regulations are useful, if used too heavyhandedly we end up smothering the wholehearted engagement in the joys of life.

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