You must surely have seen the HSE 'Shattered Lives' campaign adverts. In the current financial climate, it's only the public sector who have the money to pepper the media with any ads at all. Don't worry though, fellow taxpayers, the upside is that supply and demand have dictated that such ads are a lot cheaper than they were in the boom years. Not that our money is being saved, of course, it just means the hectoring is increased as government spending power increasingly dwarfs that of the more responsible private sector (government budgets must be spent after all, or else they aren't replaced next year).
The problem with elfin safety is that it consistently fails to balance potential risk with quality of life. Yet another example comes via the Evening Star in East Angular (© 2002, Jade Goody)
When Dave Mison first moved to Horseman Court in Martlesham two years ago, it was a lonely, soulless place, so together with a few other residents, he decided to set up the Horseman Court Tenants Association.
Since then neighbours have gathered together to enjoy parties on special occasions, coffee mornings and fundraising events.
One of the residents, known as Bling to his friends, saved his pension and bought a patio set and sunshade to put outside his window so that all the residents could get together for tea or coffee in the afternoon.
Mr Mison, chairman of the tenants association, said: “When I moved to here, the neighbourhood was a very lonely place. Myself and two other neighbours put about changing this by forming a tenants association. Our little community has grown and real friendships have been made. It is a very nice place to live now.
“As everyone's flat is too small, we like to conjugate outside. There is nowhere else to sit and chat with each other. We all feel it would be sad to lose our sense of community.”
Asha Baldwin, area housing manager from Sanctuary Hereward Housing, said: “The safety of our residents is paramount which is why we have asked some of them to remove personal property from communal areas in Horseman Court as they pose a potential hazard to other residents."
One cannot blame the housing association here. They are stymied by an overbearing authority who are backing up their advisory 'carrot' adverts with the big stick of a ramping up of inspections.
What else can be done by a business except tick the boxes to avoid a potentially devastating financial penalty?
Much of the day to day running of businesses is taken up with this type of bullshit. Red tape has never been more crimson. Government and local authorities have never been so impenetrable to common sense.
What is routinely forgotten is the people whose lives are affected by it all. The Horseman Court experience is just one of many. Their community is being destroyed by petty nannyism on the pretext that someone might be saved from tripping over a plastic chair.
Shattering lives? There is none so guilty as the HSE.