The reason madness prevails and the Elfansafetee lunatics have taken over the asylum is manyfold. We may see it as lunacy that coffee is banned at coffee mornings:
I am rapidly forming the opinion that these people have some sort of compulsion syndrome. They are truly ill. They seem to want to create a sanitised world which is impossible. [Man]
… but it’s worth scrutinizing the mechanism by which such decisions are taken.
Firstly, there’s something fundamentally wrong in the ability of ordinary people not able to bring these decision makers to account. There is a name for this idiot – Vicky Kersey, children’s centre officer at Warwickshire Council – and citizens affected by her decisions are unable to find redress nor have the slightest chance to reverse a decision and as you get into it, you see that it’s not actually her but those above her who are the insurmountable problem.
It’s only a test case and as we all know, council officer nazis infest councils up and down the country. Democratic deficit is what this comes down to, the “leave it to us, the experts, your betters” mentality.
Secondly, the poor quality of people placed in such positions is an increasing worry. What does it take to be promoted to a decision-making role? Passing meaningless exams to have a piece of paper hardly worth wrapping the chips in, compliance, the inability to think for oneself but to repeat the mantra.
Cogs, in other words, jobsworths.
Surely there is something desperately wrong with such a command structure, where those with common sense don’t even get a look-in? And the utter reliance on the bit of paper and the nature of that bit of paper! I’ve taken various courses of late and the nature and tone of those tests has my head shaking in disbelief.
Thirdly, the dedication to the mantra and the narrative hides many crimes in its name. Just what is it about the Elfansafetee narrative which sucks people in? The answer is that it so closely approximates common sense in many people’s minds, particularly the matriarchal, that they make the logical jump that this actually is common sense. “Well, surely you don’t want kiddies hurt, do you?”
A glance at the comments spells this dilemma out:
Every parent I know is well used to the flavour of cold tea and coffee because you just don’t get the chance to sip a hot drink with kids belting around at home. [Woman]
No argument there. But in the tradition of Monty Python who said: “I mean, who can honestly say they’ve not set fire to some great public building? I know I have,” in other words, the absurd couched in such reasonable language, appealing for acceptance as reasonable action, these unreasonable decision-makers go for that logical slide which is so hard to prevent. They begin with something we’d go along with:
Even at home, parents of small children apply all sorts of health and safety measures all the time, even without realising it, and leaving hot drinks unattended is fundamental. [Woman]
… which is fine. Parents are adults, they wouldn’t leave something lying about which was going to scald a kid. Then comes the slide:
Banning hot drinks at venues such as this is perfectly sensible, just as you would ban alcohol.
That’s worth looking at again – the first part – “perfectly sensible”, ever so grown-up and rational – and then the second part lightly tacked on – Ban it!
And syntactically, there is no stated subject in the sentence, just the old ploy of constructing the sentence with a verbal noun which avoids a subject, i.e. it leaves undefined exactly who will actually do the banning and to whom. What will be the limits?
As another commenter wrote:
Gosh, I really hope this doesn’t give Hertfordshire any ideas in the next four years – I love my Friday morning cup of tea and biccie at the local toddler group. [Woman]
Fourthly, the extenuating circumstances:
I really don’t usually agree with the ‘Elf ‘n safety lot, but on this occasion I find I do (trust me I’m surprised). I’ve seen mums with scalding drinks – water straight out of a boiling urn, chatting to other mums and oblivious to the children running around, who only have to knock into them and cause a spill to be scarred for life. [Man]
Y-e-e-e-s-s-s, the irresponsibility of the modern, nannied, feckless “parent” who really does need to be kept on a leash and advised by council officers in order to parent. Single-parent mums are cases in point, children themselves.
Fifthly, the hidden narrative. One commenter got down to what this was really about:
This has got nothing to do with child safety. It is the council trying to avoid all risk to prevent them being sued. This is due to the amount of no win no fee shyster lawyers and the amount of thieving chancers who will sue for the most trivial of reasons. [Man]
There is a solution, of course:
Buy a waist high folding partition to segregate the hot beverage area from the play area and let the boiling water stand for a minute before making drinks. Minimum cost, foolproof control measures which mean you have done all “reasonably practicable” to prevent a drink getting spilled on a toddler resulting in a burn.
… plus a suggestion the council puts up notices exonerating it from responsibility.
This fear of lawsuit is genuine in so many jobsworths who want no drama on their watch and in this poisonous culture, it is a very real possibility … but it’s also the Common Purpose cynicism of the people up top who see advantage in this madness spreading across boroughs and regions – it’s firstly a command and control thing and secondly a tool for the demoralization of people.
Salami tactics – a snip here, a meat cleaver there. The relentless grinding down of people with no redress.
As always, the question is – how to counter the bstds?