Well, the snow came and went, and I am now a devotee of Land Rover. They really are quite fun. Stepping back into a BMW was a bit of a shock, though - so close to the ground! And so fast! I think I had better get thoroughly acclimatised to the BMW before dragging the 911 out of the garage, otherwise my head may explode.
The additional time and effort of coping with the snow while still keeping up with client demands does mean that not a lot of time was left for blogging, though. Sorry*.
Some news did catch my eye. None of it was (on its own) enough to justify a whole post on its own, but it does add up to a nice point. You see, we have had 13 years now (almost) of a regulation-happy government. Over that time, the nest of regulations has become steadily more impenetrable, and steadily more self-contradictory. For example, if I hire someone new I must ask to see documents proving their entitlement to work here, but I dare not ask this of a UK citizen in case they take offence at the implicit racism. And how do I know they are a UK citizen, until I have seen their documents? But that is just one isolated example.
After all this time, however, the thicket has become so dense and so twisted that it has started to hurt its maker. Over the last few weeks, the regulations began to hurt what the Government itself wanted to do. We have heard the following:
- Schoolteachers who couldn't get to their place of employment used to go to the nearest school that they could reach, so that they could cover for other absent teachers. That way, children (who are often very local) can still be taught. Now, of course, they cannot becuase their CRB checks are specific to their place of employment. So although they are fully CRB checked and it is officially recognised that they do not pose a threat to the children of village 'A', they are somehow unsafe to teach the children of village 'B'.
- Airport scanners will protect us from terrorist bombs, albeit with the downside of revealing full images of our large anatomical parts**. We can't use them to scan children, though - that would breach child pornography laws. Am I the only one who is relieved that Al-Queda members are all infertile and therefore will not possibly be able to locate a child to carry the bomb for them?
- Farmers would once-upon-a-time invest in snowplough attachments for their tractors, and would be paid to go out after heavy snowfall and clear the worst of the snow away. They won't now, though. Why? Because Customs & Excise now come down hard on any use of red diesel on the public highway.
- Local Authorities were offered bulk road salt at a reduced price last year, but declined. Why? Because Whitehall said they needed 6 days' supply and they already had that. If they bought more, then questions would have been asked. People could have been disciplined for
- Schools that could have stayed open didn't. They knew that only some of their pupils would have made it - and that the rest would have been classed as unauthorised absences, with all the attendant attention from Ed Balls that this would have attracted. So the target set in order to keep pupils in school resulted in pupils being unable to go to school, as it was closed.
See? Regulation hurts.
*unless you enjoyed the break
**Together with, as Stuart Sharpe pointed out in the House of Comments Podcast, small body parts.... for some gentlemen...