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I would like to call this Come Back Victor Meldrew but I suspect that the BBC would probably sue me. But you get the idea. I am not a confused, bumbling, angry old man. I am an erudite, well educated, high performance, highly qualified and thoroughly well experienced angry old man. I make no apology for ranting and raving. That is an appropriate function for retired people. We have vast experience and know what is what: and we are not afraid to speak out. I know many younger people who feel just as strongly as I do but they are constrained to silence by their friends or colleagues, customers or employers or just insecurity. So be it.

Today I had to go to see the nurse at my local surgery to attend to a minor ailment. It takes about eight minutes brisk walk but today the streets were treacherous. The temperature had gone to around minus one degree celcius overnight and at eleven o’clock the sun was only just peeping over the house tops. Its heat was sufficient to melt the surface of the ice but not enough to finish the job. The pavements were better than any skating rink. It was clearly apparent that the vociferous motorist lobby had ensured that the roads were salted but there was not a single grain of salt on the pedestrian footpaths as these were only used by pensioners and mothers and “greens” who don’t like or cannot afford cars. Those groups don’t matter one whit – they are not petrol heads and don’t contribute enough to global warming to merit any consideration at all.

I chose to walk in the main road to avoid the very dangerous ice on the pavements and got a little fed up of passing twenty-year-old drivers, intent on breaking the speed limits at all costs, calling me a wanker.

I reached the surgery to discover the fairly new and smoothly tarmac’d car park to be an even more dangerous sheet of ice. It was vicious. I negotiated it carefully along with several other complainants. I try never to complain to those who provide excellent medical services to me but I just had to offer a complaint about the ice.

“We cannot touch it because then we would be liable for any problems we had caused.”

I cannot say I was dumbfounded (gobsmacked if you are under 40) because it was what I expected. I had to put my life at risk, at seventy years of age, because of the prevailing attitudes in this country that seek to destroy our civilisation. The first is called Health and Safety. This has nothing to do with my safety but is a mandate for fascism. "You will perform exactly as I say or you will go to jail." If you think I am exaggerating, listen to the current advertising campaign for Health and Safety on 105.7 Smooth Radio. They are threatening you with jail if you do not have a Health and Safety policy. Really useful.

Let us back track a little here to find out just why we have Health and Safety at all. It grew originally from the Factory Acts which put right a lot of abuse of workers in the Victorian era. In that the Acts largely succeeded. I, and three other generations, ran a manufactory for ninety years and never once had to call on the services of a nurse, doctor or medic. I once had to call an ambulance to a valued employee who had a heart attack because he had spent the previous ten years trying to drink the local pubs dry. We achieved our fine record without a single word of Health and Safety policy. We simply obeyed good sense and ensured all employees were properly trained in detecting and avoiding all the many possible hazards. That method was not only successful for ninety years, it is the basis of every successful policy today.

A friend of mine, who still runs a factory virtually identical to what mine was, has just appointed a new, and expensive, H&S consultant who has delivered to him around three thousand pages of “Policy”. The successful and safe operation of his facility needs, at most, about ten pages of succinct notes. All the rest is pure bullshit. The only reason for its existence is to maintain the cushy jobs of the Health and Safety Executive and a host of parasitic “consultants”, most of whom have never been in a factory in their lives. No one could possibly read these 3000 pages and run a company as well, let alone implement the bullshit. It is impossible. But if he does not do it the law threatens to jail him - just for not having documents. More Bullshit.

Let us back track further here to discern a few basic facts. Our civilisation is based firmly on wealth. The creation of wealth is the fundamental business of civilisation. You can create wealth by only one method – you take materials from the earth and turn them into saleable products. You can do this by hunter-gathering, farming and processing or mining with manufacturing. There are no other ways to create wealth. There is a vast range of functions necessary to achieve these ends and the only satisfactory test of a valid function is – is someone else prepared to freely buy this function and can do so from their own resources?

I submit that Health and Safety does not meet this criteria in any well sense. In a free market it is to the advantage of any sensible employer to look after his workforce in every reasonable manner possible. His failure to do this will inevitably result in the failure of his own business. That is a free market and is a sufficient guarantee of safety in most cases.

The imposition of draconian bureaucracy on manufacturing industry, or indeed, upon any citizen is a negation of freedom and a vicious imposition of unknowable and unenforcable statutory law upon the most useful wealth producers in our society. We have got away with this for the last forty years because North Sea Oil made us a wealthy country and rendered most other forms of wealth creation unnecessary or impossible. The increasingly rapid demise of North Sea Oil and the shots across our bows recently fired by Russia with regard to gas supplies should be a warning of things to come. Health and Safety will soon become an irrelevant luxury consigned to the backwaters of history.

It should not go without record that the whole of statutory employment law is contrary to the simple principle that a man is innocent until proven guilty. In this sad country an employer has to prove his innocence of any arbitrary charge brought against him – a clear impossibility. It is grossly immoral and would be illegal in a just society. Arbitrary law is pure evil.

Now I shall return to my trip to the doctor. When I left the surgery I hung onto car bumpers and fences to try and negotiate the ice sheet and finished up going arse-over-tip to the tarmac. A one-time colleague of mine fell over at sixty years of age and spent six months in hospital trying to mend his bones. I am obviously made of sterner stuff. I cursed profusely and picked myself up and dusted myself down. But millions of pages of Health and Safety bullshit had totally failed to protect me on the one occasion in my life when I needed it. Indeed the H&S rigmaroles and the fear engendered by the ambulance chasing legal thugs licensed by our government to create fear and havoc in legal matters were the causes of my problem. I always kept a large butt of salt in the back of my factory and its external icy surfaces were always salted and never caused anybody any trouble. My doctor is now terrified to do such a thing.

Now the combination of Health and Safety, thuggish lawyers and sheer fear, ignorance and indolence amongst others conspired to ensure that I, at seventy years of age and together with many others, had to face potentially death-dealing circumstances for nothing more than what should have been a minor frost problem. This is the ultimate Bullshit. Those who make our laws should be ashamed.

Now that our Nation has started its financial meltdown, one of the first priorities for the people should be to get rid of this obscene legislation whose objective is fascist control. It has virtually nothing to do with protecting people. On the contrary it is putting thousands of them out of work.

21st January 2009

Colin Walker,

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