One of my favourite put-downs whenever I encounter something particular stupid or inane is to enquire as to whether the author has a problem with literacy or comprehension, a question I’d like to direct to a Tory Councillor in Norwich by the name of Anthony Little is regards to this recent gem:
My favourite story of the week that went shamefully unnoticed in all newspapers, except that organ-of-truth Eastern Evening News, was the Health & Safety exectuive’s [sic] attack on yet another bastion of childhood.
The Panto being shown on the pier at Great Yarmouth has apparently been told it cannot partake in the tradition of throwing sweets into the audience in case a child gets hurts by being struck on the head by one. Oh dear. Hence from now on, they will pass the sweets from the front row back, in a calm and orderly manner.
And it is true that children viewing this panto will have sweets passed to them in a safe, non-threatening manner at this year’s panto because of concerns about ‘health and safety’ but that’s about the only thing in the whole story that Anthony’s got right/
For starters, the show isn’t ‘on the pier at Great Yarmouth’ but at the Pavillion Theatre at Gorleston near Great Yarmouth, which is about four miles away from the actual pier at Great Yarmouth and not actually on a pier so much as being situated next to a quayside.
Oh, and the story didn’t actually go unnoticed either, shamefully or otherwise. Before Anthony posted his comments on the 9th December, it had previously appeared in the Norfolk Eastern Daily Press, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Scunthorpe Telegraph and Glasgow Daily Record.
And, as you might expect, this whole business has absolutely fuck all to do with the Health and Safety Executive, who deal only in cases involving serious injury and death – in fact it has nothing at all to do with government bureaucracy and everything to do with a bit of private sector ‘bureaucracy’, as the Daily Mail explains, after getting in its usual ‘jobsworth’ dig:
Theatre bosses were forced to impose the order after two pensioners complained about being hit by bonbons during a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk last year.
The director, Kevin Lynch, rang his public liability insurers and received some worrying news.
“They advised us that we probably wouldn’t be covered in the event of someone getting hurt,” said Mr Lynch, from the Pavilion Theatre in Gorleston, Norfolk.
“They suggested throwing a sweet at someone would be viewed as an act of negligence rather than a simple accident, and we would therefore be liable to pay compensation.”
Mr Lynch added: “It is a great shame that a long-standing tradition has ended but we really have no choice.
“We have to make sure we do not open ourselves to being sued.”
So it’s not actually about health and safety law or bureaucracy, its about the possibility that if throwing sweets into the audience did cause someone an injury and the theatre found itself on the wrong end of litigation from a private individual – under the common law of Tort, not health and safety law I should add – then its private sector insurers might very well cry negligence and weasel out of to coughing up on the theatre’s public liability cover.
Doesn’t look much like ‘political correctness’ at work here, in fact it looks a lot like the insurance market at work here,
So the story here is not ‘health and safety gone mad’ but ‘Tory councillor full of shit’.