Monthly Archives: January 2014

Risk-Averse Britain by Fiona Faith Ross

risksAs the people of Britain approach the orgy of consumerism that used to be Christmas, the retail frenzy and party preparations are fully underway. Christmas trees have sprouted up in town centres and malls. Father Christmas and his elves are harnessing the reindeer and heaping the sleigh with container-loads of cheap imports. Meanwhile, schools and church groups are planning their Nativity plays, but unfortunately, another kind of “elf” has muscled in. In Neath in South Wales, where local children are rehearsing their Nativity play, “Elf ‘n Safety” has demanded the child who is to play Mary must wear a hard hat when she rides her donkey through town, in case she falls off and hits her head.

The child’s parents are happy to comply, and it seems like a perfectly sensible thing to do, but there’s something odd about the thought of Mary in her traditional blue and white robes topped off with a black hard hat. It somehow knocks us out of the story.

The creeping tendency of the Brits towards risk aversion seems these days to be in full gallop. Today’s children are considerably more restricted than previous generations, for whom the adventures of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, or the scrapes of Richmal Crompton’s Just William, were not too far removed from their readers’ imaginations or escapades. These days, British children play out of doors far less, and are hardly allowed to walk to the shops for fear they may never come home.  At its peak several years ago, the Health and Safety mania also led to the age-old children’s game of conkers being banned in schools. Young William and his chums would spin in their graves if they knew.

It is true that the recent explosion of dangers externally and online have made the world seem like a more dangerous place, but where is the line between perception and reality? It’s a difficult one to call, because any organisation must be mindful of exposing itself to an expensive law suit if compensation claims are made against it.  It’s a dilemma only too familiar to leading personal injury law firm, The Accident Advice Helpline.  Safety is generally the best policy and an expert explains why.

“Organisations responsible for the health and safety aspects of their operation must take care to protect stakeholders against adverse physical and financial risk. Sometimes it can be difficult to insure against all eventualities and then restrictions are applied.  As with most things in life, the trick is to find the right compromise. We recommend taking legal advice when seeking insurance cover for group or public events.”

Despite these fears, it seems the old British fighting spirit is coming back. Earlier this year, schools in the Midlands revived the conker-bashing bonanzas, and permitted the traditional tournaments once again, no doubt to the delight of thrill-seeking students. It’s a game that requires concentration, a good eye and a steady hand, much like riding a quadruped. Of course, nobody wants any participant of the traditional Nativity play to come to harm. As long as the donkey ambles along in beach-mode, and the owner has one hand firmly on its reigns, and a carrot in the other, Mary should be safe enough.

Author Bio

Fiona Faith Ross lives in South Devon, UK. She’s an English teacher from a family of English teachers. She writes science fiction, with a focus on the interaction between humans and technology. Her debut novel for YA, Far Out, is published on Kindle. Her interests include web technologies, literature, painting and writing. On the web she writes for the legal, business and consumer sectors.

Play time for your kids. Let them learn with educational games

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Best convertible car seats for kids

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