Friday, 25 March 2011

Incompetence to Make the Mind Goggle

Two blogs in three days - shock, horror. I must be bored. Or have been sacked. Today we are going to return to an old theme, seeing as I've already said most of the things I think, I figured it's about time to start regurgitating the old rubbish with a shiny new bow on it.

Not wanting to dive into a deep new topic, and I know I still owe you some more on human rights, I've gone for a clipping which has been lying around for a while. Another article from the papers this week reminded me of it. The old article was a ruling by my very own Oxfordshire county council that swimming goggles are to be banned for schoolchildren. Deep breaths (and scrunch up your eyes presumably)…

Yes, what upsets me today is the groundbreaking news that goggles are deadly weapons. So concerned are the local Government members of Oxfordshire that goggles could "snap" onto children's faces, they have banned them in state school swimming lessons. Brilliant. World gone crazy. It is not that someone is so stupid that they think this a good idea; I expect that from a reasonable percentage of state employees. It is that nobody within the council within earshot of this totally ridiculous rule being made stopped it. Nobody from the desperately simple originator of said rule, to their boss, their boss' boss, to the chap who put it on the website or printed it out, and to the press officer who announced it. It is genuinely unbelievable the levels of stupidity which you must be able to find at all levels of local Government. And you can bet dollars to doughnuts that they're all still in their jobs today, being paid for by our taxes, and will enjoy their final salary pensions.

No-one turned round and said "aren't we going to look like total pillocks if we go ahead with this?" No-one asked if perhaps goggles should be made mandatory instead, or at least make it compulsory for children to open their eyes underwater lest they smash their faces into the walls of the pool when doing lengths. They could employ people to sit underwater to check all eyes were open. But the CRB checks would have to be pretty watertight. In fact, statistically more children have probably been hurt by crashing into other swimmers or the wall in a desperate attempt to keep out the toxic levels of chlorine and wee wee.

If this council were instead a company dependent on profits and accountable to shareholders, it would be out of business. But it isn't. It just bleats that it doesn't have enough money to carry out the many important roles it has (like banning goggles or making them compulsory in schoolyard conker fights), and we keep giving it our taxes to keep it going. Rather like a frivolous child frittering away handouts from its despairing parents who keep hoping it will finally do something useful with its life. This is how I feel about local Government.

There must be some relatively competent types, but they allow the morons to tar the whole system with their brush, so they too are accountable. It is reported a council spokesman declined to expand on the reason for the ban. No wonder.

The article which re-aroused my pique told the story of a Royal Academy painter who was twice ordered to stop painting and remove his easel from Trafalgar Square lest someone trip over it and hurt themselves. Yes, good old health and safety at work, or more accurately a clinical idiot trying to compensate for his feelings of inadequacy by massively misunderstanding a regulation and putting his small amount of power into force. Yet again though, we see not just one, but many fools. A spokesman for the Greater London Authority defended the action of the over-zealous official. He stated, "it's about people with fixed equipment, such as tripods, which can set a precedent if other people want to congregate in the square." Right.

In case anyone is uncertain of what I think should be done, here it is: Boris should find which dolts within his organisation were in any way responsible for this action and the subsequent justification and punish them. Their punishment? Standing on the fourth pedestal in Trafalgar Square writing out lines on an easel that simply say: "I must try harder to not be a moron." Maybe they could invite someone along to paint them.

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