• August 2008
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Blame Culture

I was speaking to a friend recently who owns a shop. One woman member of staff had brought a chair into work. When my friend asked her why she’d brought the chair in she said that the chairs at work didn’t support her back properly. Fair enough, but when my friend caught the employee standing on the chair to reach an item on a high shelf he warned her that the chair should remain in the staff area and only a step ladder should be used for accessing high items. A week later the lady fell off the chair whilst disobeying my friend’s instructions. She sued under health and safety regulations. She was awarded £5000. She also got legal aid.

From last nights Glasgow Evening Times:

WHEN jobless teenager Darren Mirren couldn’t find his way across Glasgow he didn’t get mad… he got his dad to represent him at an industrial tribunal.
The 16-year-old who didn’t know how to travel all the way from Pollok to Shettleston by bus, train or taxi has had his claim for age discrimination thrown out.
Darren failed to turn up for a job interview because he claimed he couldn’t find his way across the city.Then, after missing out on a job as a cleaner, he lodged the claim against the firm.
The company, Spotless Commercial Cleaning, had called him at home after he missed the interview and the youngster told senior managers at the firm in Shettleston that he didn’t know how to find his way to the offices from his home in Myres Road, Pollok.
The tribunal heard how Darren insisted that a taxi would have cost him up to £40 to attend the interview and he had no idea how to get to Shettleston by bus and trains.
The hearing was told that the company, which does contract work at Braehead Shopping Centre, normally only allows over-18s to work on an unsupervised site where a floor buffer is used.
However, the firm, which employs around 40 people under the age of 18, encouraged the teenager to fill in an application form and attend an interview for a risk assessment.
In a written judgement, the tribunal rejected Darren’s age discrimination claim and accepted the company’s evidence that the 16-year-old would have been eligible for work on a supervised site had he attended an interview.
The youngster said: “It wasn’t my fault.
“I was unable to get there because they didn’t give me any directions.
“I felt it was discrimination because of my age.”
Legal experts have slammed the case as an example of Scotland’s blame culture’.
Glasgow lawyer Cameron Fyfe said: “Some people seem to think if anything goes wrong they can claim compensation.”
Darren’s father, who represented his son at the tribunal, questioned why, if the youngster was old enough to go to war, he wasn’t old enough to use a floor buffer.
Speaking outside his home today, he said: “The tribunal is over and done with.
“I’ve got nothing to say to you.”


Half Baked

Sometimes going on and on about the crazy laws rules and regulations we live with becomes a parody of itself. The phrase ‘political correctness gone mad’ has almost become the trade mark of the reactionary tabloid press exemplified by the Daily Mail and Daily Express. However sometimes when one reads the latest policy to be dreamed up to protect people from possible harm or to save them from insult or offence, one really has to wonder.

The latest apparently centres on baking competitions. The Scottish Women’s Rural Institute have banned the consumption of cakes and scones entered in competitions, insisting that all baked goods are destroyed immediately following judging. The new rules are meant to help avoid possible food poisoning outbreaks.

It is worth remembering when one reads stuff like this some of the other crackers which have surfaced in recent years

Tunbridge Wells (The very epicentre of right wing reaction!) Borough Council in Kent were recently reported to have swapped the phrase “brainstorming” for “thought showers” out of fear of offending epileptics or the mentally ill.

A few months ago, Welsh mum Jayne Jones was prevented from taking her disabled son to school by taxi each day along with his specialist medical equipment because she had not been screened for a criminal record.

In July, worried education chiefs banned the sack and three-legged races from an Edwardian-themed sports day at a Tyne and Wear school in case children fell over.

(Saint Mirren fans take note!) EU rules bizarrely state that you can’t take home a plastic seat as a souvenir from your favourite old stadium if it contains cadmium, even though a fan would have to eat the whole seat to be poisoned by the substance.

An EU directive ensures that every pair of rubber boots comes with a user’s manual in 12 languages.

The ancient tradition of cheese rolling in Gloucestershire is now banned because St John’s Ambulance are only insured to rescue the injured from the bottom of the hill and not on the slopes.

Cooing at newborns in the maternity unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, was outlawed on the grounds that it could infringe the babies ‘rights to privacy.

(Source: Daily Record 25/08/08 )

Saints 7 Sinners 0

Last night at the Cooperative Insurance cup tie with St Mirren was one of those times that as a football fan, one questions what one is actually doing there. Fair enough, between the SPL and the SFL third division there is and should be a gap in terms of quality, fitness and skill. However last night was men against boys and if the wee team don’t get the basics right then any faint hope of a shock or indeed of a respectable result flies out of the proverbial window.

Dumbarton inexplicably for such an occasion, had two experienced campaigners, Craig Brittain and Fergus Tiernan on the bench. Sons really don’t have an alternative for Brittain’s position and if the wee man was fit then that decision was baffling. Tiernan, although his form has been patchy, has fairly recent SPL experience. Instead Sons went for guys who have had recent experience in the junior leagues and farted about during the game with different systems although it was quite impossible to detect any one which was going to work.

Fair play to St Mirren, they went about their job in a professional manner and although it took them 18 minutes to score, from the minute that first goal went in they were never going to suffer any worry about winning the game.

There really is no need to give a blow by blow account of the goals other than to say the Dumbarton defence was real comic cuts. To be fair though keeper Dave McEwan may have kept it to single figures with a few great saves.

Sons boss Jim Chapman gave the following quote to the BBC

“It sounds morbid but I enjoyed watching Saints play. Unfortunately, it was against my team.

“Their movement and application was brilliant and we got ripped to bits.

“We are all gutted and the players are hurting but if we can learn from that then we can do all right at our level.”

Lets hope they have learned and they put it to some use starting this Saturday.