Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The UK In 2009...

...where it's too snowy for reindeer:
As natives of the Arctic Circle, reindeer are pretty used to trotting about in wintry weather.

So you might not have thought a market town in the East Midlands would pose much of a problem for them.

But health and safety officers had other ideas after 12 were booked to entertain shoppers in Market Harborough.
Yup, it's Christmas, and we'll have no frivolity or enjoying oneself here.
They banned the animals from parading round the town square after ruling it was too dangerous --because it might snow.

Officials put up posters saying: 'There is a risk of slips and falls to attendees at the event, when the conditions get worse.'
They are aware that reindeer just live in snow, they don't actually bring it, aren't they?

And as the furious shopkeepers pointed out, it didn't make sense to cancel the festivities if it was going to snow anyway:
Malcolm Lever-Jones, independent traders' spokesman, said: 'It is health and safety gone barmy and completely ruined the festive mood.

'Hundreds of people had come from up to 40 miles away and were dreadfully disappointed.

'The council said there was a risk of snow and ice to pedestrians but with or without the reindeer the streets were still icy. None of the town centre was cordoned off. It just made no sense.'
It makes perfect sense when you realise that it isn't their money...
He estimated the cost to the taxpayer of cancelling Friday's event at around £10,000.
As Ranting Stan points out, this is now normal behaviour for local councils in the increasingly litigious UK, where to do nothing keeps them safe from claims, while to do something might put them at risk.
A Harborough Council spokesman said: 'Obviously, the reindeer would have loved the snow. But sadly we decided to cancel because of the possible danger to people, including young children.'
Ahh, yes. We must, after all, think of the children...

8 comments:

Weekend Yachtsman said...

The most infuriating thing about all these stories is that the jobsworths always try to justify their actions.

If one of them, just once, would hold up her hand and say "Yes, that was a bit stupid, we over-reacted there, sorry", or even "Yes it's ridiculous but the Insurance Company insists", one could almost forgive them.

But they don't.

It's always some po-faced garbage about how the rules are for your benefit really and why ever would any sane person question them, it's all for the best of all possible reasons, etc etc.

Tossers.

Ross said...

I was in Market Harborough yesterday and I really felt that the absence of Reindeer in the town centre spoiled things.

Mark Wadsworth said...

As somebody commented at mine, couldn't the council have just gritted the area?

John R said...

I think the law needs changing to make councils fully liable for their decisions.....and adults need to be required to exercise common sense when walking about.

So when they do something truly "numpty" like this, where a bit of intelligence (e.g gritting the streets) would have given a much better outcome, they make their decision in the knowledge that they could get sued.

It also needs to apply to things like closing roads or raising parking fees to ridiculous levels without compensating traders. Currently they behave like despots and appear to be completely unnaccountable.

blueknight said...

Remember, if you don't like your council, you can vote them out next time.
On the same subject of 'Elf an Safety, in the old days the pavements were kept largely ice free by the local residents who would clear the area outside their houses and sprinkle salt and grit from the yellow bin at the corner fo the road (do we still have them?)
But, if you clear the area and someone slips you could be sued. (If they slip and you haven't cleared it, they cannot touch you) So no one clears now. the law of unintended consequences strikes again

JuliaM said...

"The most infuriating thing about all these stories is that the jobsworths always try to justify their actions."

Even though they are usually totally unjustifiable...

"I was in Market Harborough yesterday and I really felt that the absence of Reindeer in the town centre spoiled things."

I've only been there once - we got lost on the way and had to stop for directions. Pretty little town, though. And a super little kitchenware store tucked away up one of the side streets.

That's all I remember about it! So yes, reindeer might well have improved it significantly.

"As somebody commented at mine, couldn't the council have just gritted the area?"

I think councils have forgotton what grit is. Or the AA was right on Monday when they said they wereen't prepared...

JuliaM said...

"It also needs to apply to things like closing roads..."

Especially for 'accident investigations'. This takes far too long.

"Remember, if you don't like your council, you can vote them out next time."

For...? They seem to be all the same, like politicians everywhere!

"On the same subject of 'Elf an Safety, in the old days the pavements were kept largely ice free by the local residents who would clear the area outside their houses and sprinkle salt and grit from the yellow bin at the corner fo the road (do we still have them?)"

I miss not having a coal fire, actually. The ash came in handy on days like these! No yellow bins anymore - removed for 'H&S', I expect...

"But, if you clear the area and someone slips you could be sued. (If they slip and you haven't cleared it, they cannot touch you) So no one clears now. the law of unintended consequences strikes again"

Indeed. We must leave everything to the State. Even though we know they are useless at it...

banned said...

This dreary decision will not have been taken by elected councillors but by paid officials who in practise make most decisions by telling councillors what they may or may not do ("Yes, Councillor" comes to mind).
Our city had a portable ice-rink for a couple of years before the H&S facists got it closed down even though no-one could sue since skaters had to sign a waiver(sp?) before venturing upon the ice.

The good news is that someone delightfully vandalised Pooles silly fake Xmas tree and they had to replace it with a real one.