Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Friday, 15 January 2010

Whose fault?

We live in an increasingly litigious country, where if something goes wrong it's somebody else's fault.

People are able to claim thousands and thousands of pounds in compensation for hurt feelings if they are called something they don't like, and can be given tens of thousands of pounds in compensation if they get achy muscles because their keyboard isn't the right design for their body.

If you're involved in a car accident insurers will do their best to work out which driver is culpable and the police might try to work out if anybody broke any rules which could result in prosecution and expensive penalties.

So, Mrs R wonders, who will be blamed for this
police reported a major pile-up on a frozen motorway.

Greater Manchester Police said seven people had been injured in the crash, which involved up to 10 cars on the A627(M) in Oldham.

In this report it says
It is thought the vehicles may have skidded on a patch of black ice.
Black ice develops when water freezes. It's called black ice because it isn't easy to see - it looks more like moisture than ice and it's harder to work out whether it's ice or water in bright artificial light.

The first article also says
The day began with Met Office warnings of treacherous roads and police reporting black ice in several areas.
Mrs R believes that black ice should be rare on roads, especially major roads, because they should be properly maintained and kept in a safe condition by those we pay to do it - the Highways Agency and their agents or subcontractors.

Motorists pay their taxes and can, reasonably, expect the money to be spent where the tax says it will be spent otherwise, maybe, that particular tax is misrepresented.
The Highways Agency and councils have cut their use of salt for gritting roads by half - up from the 25% agreed last week - to protect supplies.
They have had to "cut their use of salt" because central government has told them to - to preserve supplies. Supplies can't be topped up because British salt mines are working at full capacity and salt ordered from abroad isn't due to arrive until around 21st January.

They have had to preserve supplies because advice was given that only 6 days salt would be needed this winter - and some of the people responsible for keeping our roads safe did as they were told. It didn't matter where in the country they were and what their normal winter conditions were - they did as they were told.

Those that didn't do as they were told, and instead used their common sense, had their road salt taken away from them and suppliers were ordered not to give them any more. Central government set out those rules.

So, near Oldham, due to a major accident the A627M is closed and
Drivers are being advised to find alternative routes as the roads could be closed for some time.
These drivers are being told to use roads that probably won't have been gritted and salted. They won't have been gritted or salted because central government has told salters and gritters to concentrate their efforts on major routes - those with an M or an A at the beginning of their number.

If there is a major accident on one of the 'alternative routes' that is later found to be because it was icy - who will be culpable?

Update :_
Via MummyLongLegs
An 11-year-old girl has died after she apparently slipped on ice outside her primary school in Lancashire.
An investigation is under way into the circumstances of her death, and how she came to fall to the ground.
A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said Naeemah was believed to have slipped on ice, but that officers were still investigating.
Pictures accompanying the story show the pavements and the road covered with ice. Who should ensured they were safe?

1 comment:

418 said...

This country lacks grit.