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)

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Rules and regulations.

If you read this excellent, and very reasoned article by Simon Jenkins you'll also have the chance to read quite a lot of comments. Some, of course, are calling for more legislation, some agree with the author and say we should back off, but Alfredthegreat sets the tone
Wow, Guardian posters railing against the big state. Maybe there is hope yet.
There were a few more that caught Mrs Rigby's eye. mikeeverest asks:-
Why, in a civilised society, is a taxi driver allowed access to lethal weapons?
Tell you what mikeeverest, Mrs Rigby's got a good idea that'll make us all much more 'civilised' and make sure nothing like this can ever happen again.

Let's nag and pester the government into bringing in a nice new law that says all taxis, oh, and buses and, to be really safe, all motor vehicles must have a big sign that says, "It is against the law to carry lethal weapons in this vehicle." And lets have a whole new squad of enforcement officers too, with instant 'penalties' for the naughty people who break the brand new law.

That'll work, won't it?

But a regular Guardian reader does it even better, took the words right out of Mrs R's mouth!
Erm, every taxi driver does have access to an extremely lethal weapon Mike - it's called a car - ever thought of the damage you could do with one of these if you went a bit mental?

I'm currently cutting up my dinner with a razor sharp implement I could use to butcher my entire family if the mood took me - I think we have to be mindful of the 'ban everything' mentality of the hideous nulabour regime and realise, relucantly and with regret, that there will occasionally be nutters who do terrible things you just can't legislate for.

Let's move onto something else that's prompted by the article.

Numbed says this
I work with children everyday, and everyday at least one person makes some bizarre remark about child safety that puts the onus on my organisation to increase security measures, as if I was suddenly working in a maximum security prison, rather than a place of education and support for young people.

The silliest example recently was when - in a public building, also used by children, a visiting teacher asked why a male member of staff (CRB checked and cleared) was allowed to use a bathroom that might also be used by a child.

I could go on...

In another circumstance, a school locally failed OFSTED for not having high enough walls around the children's toilet building, despite the fact that the windows to the room were high and opaque glass.

Additional security for perceived guilty-until-proven-innocent adults who have regular contact or even irregular contact with children is ridiculously out of hand now.

repeal, repeal, repeal.

I'm watching a generation of young people growing up knowing that when confronted or challenged for poor or dangerous behaviour, all they have to yell is "pedo" and the power is with the child not the adult.

children deserve rights and they deserve to be respected, but adults should not fear children and they certainly should not be presumed to be dangerous when there is no evidence to prove they are.
A little later on shazthewombat says this
@ Numbed 8.01pm - great and depressingly familiar post. At my school, we've had the same stuff about kids & adults potentially using the same toilet facilities.

More worryingly, we had a supply teacher in last week. One of the children was overheard to say that he was gay and a paedo, and was going to rape someone.
This child is 10. There is something very wrong somewhere when kids of that age think it's acceptable to make comments like that - especially since official responses to such accusations can be swift and harsh.
and Numbed's response:-
and the ridiculousness of it is that I find myself constantly watching my behaviour around children. I don't touch them, even when they are upset or hurt; I don't give them anything other than water for fear they are allergic to everything else and that I will be prosecuted for causing them harm; and i find myself saying "of course, i understand" when some nutty comment is made because I am too scared that to challenge them would mean I too am a risk and that my organisation would lose it's reputation or business if I did.

I hate that I do this and I absolutely hate that I don't challenge this head on.

Instead, I wait for a staff meeting or similar and raise my concerns there. But, I generally meet with the response that we have to work within the law and that we also do less harm by agreeing than by dissenting.

this is terrible.
Mrs Rigby simply can't comment. These experiences show just how bad things have got in the past few years. There really is a lot of unpicking to do.

Let's move on to robi, who is still in Guardianista mode
Many people enter into blind fits of rage... most of the time they don't have access to firearms and most of the time their rage subsides and they can go and seek anger management courses.

So let's move on to the discussions about the police response. There are varied comments, some say Cumbria uses Lancashire's helicopter ... and it got there quickly, they saw it flying over. They are corrected by another person who saw the same helicopter and it was Sky News.

There are questions, as already mentioned, about police preparedness. "Dungal", who lives in the area, explains things :-
I really don't think the police could have done a lot to prevent this incident as they are mainly briefed on terrorism due to Sellafield, which if targeted would make Simon's article look like opportunism.
Which means, of course, that if Mr Bird had driven up to Sellafield they would have known what to do, because he might have been a terrorist.

Small point. Although Mrs R has never met one she's fairly confident that "terrorists" don't always ask first before they start shooting, and they don't always look like terrorists either.

If there was a specially trained team available, why ...

Oh, there's no point in asking the obvious question, is there?

We know the routine - a committee will get together and have an enquiry. Afterwards they'll tell us it's very sad and 'lessons will be learned'. At least that's what they used to say, and then they'd bring in even more rules.

So, let's hope Cameron means what he says. The last words are his, via BBC.
"Of course we should look at this issue but we should not leap to knee-jerk conclusions on what should be done on the regulatory front. We do have some of the toughest legislation in the world," he said.

He added: "You can't legislate to stop a switch flicking in someone's head and this sort of dreadful action taking place."

h/t Al Jahom, without whose blog Mrs R wouldn't have read the article in the Guardian.


Witterings From Witney said...

Reasoned comment Mrs. R - as always!

Saw the article and was so gobsmacked that it was in the Grauniad - totally forgot to comment, but knew others would do so and better than I.

Mrs Rigby said...

An astonishing sort of piece for the Guardian, but it's interesting for other things - people are openly talking about legislation being wrong, something that hasn't happened for ages.

Cathartic, and also a turning point?

JuliaM said...

Let's hope so!

Mrs Rigby said...

I hope so too, there's quite an onslaught, let's hope they do indeed stand firm.

It's a tough thing to have happened so early in the term of the new government, it'll test their mettle and also give us a better idea of their philosophy/what to really expect.