The Daily Mail – a newspaper that seems to be obsessed with immigration, Princess Diana and Health & Safety regulations. I’ve tried for years to get my mother-in-law to replace her trusted Daily Mail with another paper but have always failed miserably.
However saying that I was delighted to see that Lord Young’s soon to be published report will be calling for an end to ‘excessive’ health and safety rules that enable councils to cancel popular local activities. Lord Young said:
“Frankly if I want to do something stupid and break my leg or neck, that’s up to me. I don’t need a council to tell me not to be an idiot. I can be an idiot all by myself.”
Years ago I co-founded a guitar festival in a small village in Scotland. It was a real community affair and the festival started with 220 people in a tent in the first year to attracting an incredible 5,000 people from ten countries only three years later. We had 150 local residents giving their time and energy to make the festival successful and the result was something that not only brought the whole community together but also generated hundreds of thousands of pounds for the local economy.
Unfortunately we had to finish the festival in the end because the local council with their health and safety demands and general interfering became too much of a pain in the backside. I distinctly remember being told by one council official in the run up to the first festival that the whole event would be a failure unless we did exactly as they said. The local community and I ignored them, the festival went on to become a huge success, getting glowing nationwide TV and press coverage in the process.
Lots of events in villages, towns and cities the length and breadth of the UK no longer happen because the health and safety obsession of some council officials becoming a block to joy, innovation and community activism. So in the future I truly hope that councils take a more reasoned approach by allowing local communities to run activities and not binding them up in red tape.
In the meantime I shall continue my struggle to get the mother-in-law to change her choice of newspaper.