The state of the Nanny State


I like to keep up to date with current affairs and I tend to have a news channel on throughout the day if I’m at home, it makes me feel like I can have my finger on the pulse of the world whilst I’m ironing my husbands boxer shorts. Sometimes though, the news I hear makes me want to go out into the garden, dig a large hole and bury myself.

Most recently the stories which have left me itching with irritation concern the increasingly nannyish state we are living in. It seems our government and the mostly faceless people in charge are attempting to completely stamp out things such as spontaneity, adventure and common sense in modern society.

Amongst the headlines this week was the case of a father winning a high court ruling in favour of his taking his daughter on an unauthorised week’s holiday to Florida during school term-time. Call me naive but I’m under the impression that no RESPONSIBLE parent would ever jeopardise their child’s education for a cheap trip to Alicante and I feel that parents should be allowed to use their common sense with impunity to decide whether or not to take their child out of school for a holiday. After all, family time and the experience of going away on a trip can be extremely enriching for children. Why should families be denied this because they can’t afford the outrageously hiked up school holiday prices? I understand the somewhat ridiculous pressure teachers are under to adhere to the curriculum and keep our children on track but will 7 days a year mean a difference between my daughter being in meaningful employment or a drunken street dweller? I’d like to think not…

Another headline that made my eye twitch was concerning the popular seaside attraction of a Punch and Judy Show. A woman giving off an air of ‘I’m an annoying busy body’ whilst wearing a hideously sensible cardigan and a revolting pair of Birkenstocks was sat on the BBC Breakfast sofa arguing that Punch and Judy shows should be banned as they encouraged domestic violence. Again, common sense is being trodden on, can’t we be trusted to teach our children right and wrong and to know that strangling your wife with a string of sausages is totally out of order?

I read recently that a school in Bramley, Leeds had forbidden children to play the game ‘Tig’ in the playground as it was deemed too dangerous. The kids were instead encouraged to play ‘Air Tig’ which is far safer… I wonder what the Head teacher of this school would think about the game ‘Bulldog’ I used to play at school, during which my friends and I would cross our arms infront of ourselves and run into each other repeatedly until one of us fell over in the mud. As far as I know we are all still alive and we learnt that running into other people can be quite painful and so should generally be avoided in adulthood.

Unbelievably fire fighters have been banned from using step ladders to install or maintain smoke sensors in peoples homes as it contravenes the ‘Working at height’ regulations. You’d think of all people firemen would be quite capable of climbing 4 feet into the air without falling off and breaking their spines.

We are constantly being bombarded with rules and regulations from above on how we should live our lives. From what we eat to how we raise our children, nothing is free from government advice and supervision. Although, now I’ve looked into it, we may only have ourselves to blame. The rise in an ambulance chasing, compensation demanding culture means that last year alone the education authorities paid out £2 million in compensation claims. One particular case ended in £5000 being paid to a boy who’d had his finger hit by a cricket ball. That’s nothing compared to the £600 million paid out by the NHS in negligence claims.

It seems we are always looking for somebody else to blame for our stupidity so perhaps the government is right to mollycoddle us to prevent us from hurting ourselves and suing anybody and anything. It’s a moronic cycle that can only be stopped by changing our behaviour…

It seems we are selling our right to use common sense to make a quick buck.





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