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11th September 2013: The world's gone mad and I'm the only one who knows
13th August 2013: Black is white. Fact. End of.
11th August 2013: Electric cars, not as green as they're painted?
18th June 2013: Wrinklies unite, you have nothing to lose but your walking frames!
17th May 2013: Some actual FACTS about climate change (for a change) from actual scientists ...
10th May 2013: An article about that poison gas, carbon dioxide, and other scientific facts (not) ...
10th May 2013: We need to see past the sex and look at the crimes: is justice being served?
8th May 2013: So, who would you trust to treat your haemorrhoids, Theresa May?
8th May 2013: Why should citizens in the 21st Century fear the law so much?
30th April 2013: What the GOS says today, the rest of the world realises tomorrow ...
30th April 2013: You couldn't make it up, could you? Luckily you don't need to ...
29th April 2013: a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE, because THE ABOVE are crap ...
28th April 2013: what goes around, comes around?
19th April 2013: everyone's a victim these days ...
10th April 2013: Thatcher is dead; long live Thatcher!
8th April 2013: Poor people are such a nuisance. Just give them loads of money and they'll go away ...
26th March 2013: Censorship is alive and well and coming for you ...
25th March 2013: Just do your job properly, is that too much to ask?
25th March 2013: So, what do you think caused your heterosexuality?
20th March 2013: Feminists - puritans, hypocrites or just plain stupid?
18th March 2013: How Nazi Germany paved the way for modern governance?
13th March 2013: Time we all grew up and lived in the real world ...
12th March 2013: Hindenburg crash mystery solved? - don't you believe it!
6th March 2013: Is this the real GOS?
5th March 2013: All that's wrong with taxes
25th February 2013: The self-seeking MP who is trying to bring Britain down ...
24th February 2013: Why can't newspapers just tell the truth?
22nd February 2013: Trial by jury - a radical proposal
13th February 2013: A little verse for two very old people ...
6th February 2013: It's not us after all, it's worms
6th February 2013: Now here's a powerful argument FOR gay marriage ...
4th February 2013: There's no such thing as equality because we're not all the same ...
28th January 2013: Global Warming isn't over - IT'S HIDING!
25th January 2013: Global Warmers: mad, bad and dangerous to know ...
25th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
19th January 2013: We STILL haven't got our heads straight about gays ...
16th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
11th January 2013: What it's like being English ...
7th January 2013: Bleat, bleat, if it saves the life of just one child ...
7th January 2013: How best to put it? 'Up yours, Argentina'?
7th January 2013: Chucking even more of other people's money around ...
6th January 2013: Chucking other people's money around ...
30th December 2012: The BBC is just crap, basically ...
30th December 2012: We mourn the passing of a genuine Grumpy Old Sod ...
30th December 2012: How an official body sets out to ruin Christmas ...
16th December 2012: Why should we pardon Alan Turing when he did nothing wrong?
15th December 2012: When will social workers face up to their REAL responsibility?
15th December 2012: Unfair trading by a firm in Bognor Regis ...
14th December 2012: Now the company that sells your data is pretending to act as watchdog ...
7th December 2012: There's a war between cars and bikes, apparently, and  most of us never noticed!
26th November 2012: The bottom line - social workers are just plain stupid ...
20th November 2012: So, David Eyke was right all along, then?
15th November 2012: MPs don't mind dishing it out, but when it's them in the firing line ...
14th November 2012: The BBC has a policy, it seems, about which truths it wants to tell ...
12th November 2012: Big Brother, coming to a school near you ...
9th November 2012: Yet another celebrity who thinks, like Jimmy Saville, that he can behave just as he likes because he's famous ...
5th November 2012: Whose roads are they, anyway? After all, we paid for them ...
7th May 2012: How politicians could end droughts at a stroke if they chose ...
6th May 2012: The BBC, still determined to keep us in a fog of ignorance ...
2nd May 2012: A sense of proportion lacking?
24th April 2012: Told you so, told you so, told you so ...
15th April 2012: Aah, sweet ickle polar bears in danger, aah ...
15th April 2012: An open letter to Anglian Water ...
30th March 2012: Now they want to cure us if we don't believe their lies ...
28th February 2012: Just how useful is a degree? Not very.
27th February 2012: ... so many ways to die ...
15th February 2012: DO go to Jamaica because you definitely WON'T get murdered with a machete. Ms Fox says so ...
31st January 2012: We don't make anything any more
27th January 2012: There's always a word for it, they say, and if there isn't we'll invent one
26th January 2012: Literary criticism on GOS? How posh!
12th December 2011: Plain speaking by a scientist about the global warming fraud
9th December 2011: Who trusts scientists? Apart from the BBC, of course?
7th December 2011: All in all, not a good week for British justice ...
9th November 2011: Well what d'you know, the law really IS a bit of an ass ...

 

 
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At the recent inquest on victims of the Cumbrian gun massacre, coroner David Roberts said it was disturbing that paramedics were prevented from reaching the injured because of red tape which cost vital minutes.
 
And a senior police officer said the response had been severely hampered by slavish adherence to health and safety regulations. 'The public have a right to expect the emergency services to put themselves at risk to help them,' he said.
 
All well and good, but these things have been said before. Here's journalist Melanie Phillips writing about exactly the same thing back in September 2007 ...

 

 
Did you happen to assume, by any strange chance, that the purpose of the emergency services was to rescue people in an emergency from the prospect of death or injury? Indeed. So did we all.
 
Well, more fool us! It turns out that their purpose is to avoid anything that puts themselves at risk - and theyíve got a health and safety rule book that says so.
 
The more we learn about how ten-year-old Jordon Lyon drowned in a pool in Wigan while two police support officers at the scene did nothing to save him, the more surreal and preposterous life in Britain appears to have become.
 
In any normal society, these officers would have been disciplined for failing to carry out what one might have presumed to be the essential duty of a police support officer, namely to protect people from harm - not to mention the basic instinct of any decent human being to try to prevent a tragic accident.
 
But no - their employers, the top brass of the Greater Manchester Police, say they behaved perfectly correctly. This is because both the police and fire service have instructions not to save people who are drowning.
 
The reasons pile absurdity upon absurdity. Police and fire officers, we are told with the straightest of faces, are not taught to swim or trained to save people from drowning. This apparently means that even if they can swim, they still have to fold their arms and stay put.
 
So when Sergeant Craig Lippitt, a regular police officer, attempted to rescue Jordon by stripping off and diving in without hesitation, he was actually breaking the rules. Last March firefighter Tam Brown, who rescued a woman from the River Tay, was informed he could face disciplinary action for doing so.
 
What on earth have we come to in this country, when attempting to save someoneís life might be considered a disciplinary offence - in occupations which exist for precisely that purpose?
 
The police and fire service jobsworths say that such rescue attempts might result in the death of the rescuer. True enough; such tragedies do happen. But if we all followed that reasoning, no one would ever try to save anyone from any danger at all.
 
And isnít the whole point of paying people to be police and fire officers that they put themselves in risky situations - for which we expect them to be fully trained?
 
But it seems that precisely the same reasoning prevents them from being trained in the first place. Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Police were fined for breaching health and safety laws after two 14-year-old boys died at a childrenís event in the swimming pool at the forceís training college in Hendon, North London.
 
Up to that point, all police recruits were taught to swim and many were trained in life-saving. But after that tragedy, the pool was filled in and all such training stopped. And the message then went out to all emergency services: take no chances.
 
It echoes another case in which, after a police officer fell to his death while chasing a suspect across a roof, the Met was prosecuted under health and safety laws. Although this prosecution failed, the police are now wary of chasing criminals in case they fall foul of the law by hurting themselves.
 
The compensation culture has thus not only gone stark, staring mad but has turned positively lethal. Health and safety laws have now become a menace to life and limb.
 
The former Home Secretary David Blunkett, who introduced police support officers, has tried to explain this madness by saying that our society has become averse to taking risks. But that doesnít explain why this has happened.
 
The answer surely lies in a far broader and deeper transformation of British society that has taken place. From being perhaps the most independently minded, practical and commonsensical people on earth, we have become a society which is increasingly unable to act at all unless someone gives us permission to do so.
 
Across the board, our professions have become paralysed by rules, regulations and red tape. Their ability to use their own judgement has been steadily undermined by rules and codes governing their behaviour which are handed down from above and ruthlessly enforced.
 
The police started down this calamitous road more than two decades ago, after a series of miscarriages of justice and corruption scandals persuaded politicians that police discretion needed to be reduced. The result was the introduction of laws like the Police and Criminal Evidence Act which were designed to tie the hands of the police.
 
In a similar vein, the government decided to address failures in other public services by imposing upon them laws and codes which greatly reduced their power to act according to their professional judgment.
 
Teachers and doctors thus got so tied up in red tape they were unable to attend properly to pupils or patients. Human rights law further undermined the ability of all in positions of authority - from teachers to park attendants, from care workers to police officers - to enforce discipline, since it made it an offence even to touch a child. This has resulted in the absurdity of delinquents thumbing their noses at authority while those trying to restrain them are prosecuted.
 
Such law has had an even more profound effect than fuelling the ruinous compensation culture. It has actually changed the default mechanism that governs assumptions about behaviour. This is because it is based on the belief that rules governing behaviour have to be explicitly codified. This happens to run directly against the grain of the English common law, which holds that everything is permitted unless it is specifically prohibited.
 
This principle is the very basis of our liberty. It has allowed us to make pragmatic decisions which meet situations as they arise - otherwise known as the exercise of common sense. But with the codification of human rights into law, this presumption has gone into reverse. Increasingly, the only behaviour that is now permitted is what is written down in rules and regulations, laws and codes.
 
At the heart of this obsession with codifying rules of behaviour lies a fundamental loss of trust in people to do the right thing. Instead the state - and, increasingly, the courts - believe that they must tell them how to behave.
 
The problem is that all such codes merely constitute a formula. And because no formula can cover every eventuality, people cannot respond as they ought to in situations that arenít specified in the rule book. Instead, such rules encourage a slavish literalism so that there is no room for individual judgment. Thatís why, for example, British Airways made such a fool of itself by trying to force an employee to remove the small cross she wore round her neck - on the grounds that wearing jewellery was against the rules.
 
The result is the progressive abrogation of responsibility. Incompetent professionals hide behind the rule book to avoid behaving as they should. Meanwhile, the state gains increasing control over all our lives as it replaces independent judgement by its own view of how people should behave.
 
The resulting paralysis stretches from the absurdities of politically correct jewellery to tragedies such as the drowning of a ten-year-old boy while authority looks on. It was not only a child who perished in that pool in Wigan, but common sense itself.
 

 
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