It is only Wednesday, yet I find myself having to award yet another "Prats of The Week" award.
Needless to say it goes to yet another useless, and failing, local council.
Seriously, can anyone think of the slightest reason why we allow these idiots to tax us and interfere into our lives?
Anyhoo, this week's second award goes to Midlothian Council, which is paying to keep the lights on in a disused school in case intruders break in and injure themselves.
Yes, you did read that correctly!
Seemingly, the "brains" in Midlothian council believe that it has a "duty of care" to protect anyone who enters the building.
Isn't this another example of a council trying to justify its existence, by ascribing to itself all manner of powers and responsibilities that it doesn't really have?
They are not Superman or Batman, are they?
Maybe we should stop taking these councils at their word, when they use the excuse of "we have a responsibility..." for jacking up council tax etc. It is time to confront them and point out that, like the emperor, they have no clothes.
Now where was I?
Oh yes, Dalkeith High School just outside Edinburgh, has been closed since 2004.
Midlothian council is currently in talks to sell the building. However, until title passes they keep some lights on (using timers) and ensure that a security guard checks the school twice a night.
A Midlothian council spokesman said:
"A small number of lights,
including some on timers,
are left on during the winter months
to protect any person moving around
the building from fall hazards.
Midlothian Council as owners of the property
have an obligation to do this under a common law
duty of care and in addition have a statutory
duty to do so imposed by the Occupier's Liability
(Scotland) Act 1960."
Errrmmmm...wouldn't anyone moving around the building, in the middle of the night, be there illegally then?
So, if they injure themselves, wouldn't it be their own fault?
So, why should we give a fark about them???
The council, needless to say, came to their decision after carrying out a risk assessment on the school when it closed. Much like Pavlov's dogs, I instinctively retch and reach for the sick bag now whenever I hear the phrase "risk assessment".
Anyhoo, the risk assessment (BLAAARGH!!! there I go again!) resulted in the council boarding up the ground floor windows to prevent access, keeping the building's burglar alarm and employing a security company to check it twice a night.
The cost to the taxpayer of this little exercise, since 2004, in preventing criminals from injuring themselves has been £3K on lighting and another £10K on security.
PJ Lewis, a former Conservative candidate for the area, goes straight for the jugular:
"It typifies the shoddy way the council
runs it assets and has handled
Dalkeith High School in particular.
All the lights are on and there is no
adequate management of access or controls against vandalism.
It's shocking, an unbelievable triple whammy,
with fire risk, expense and environmental waste."
Midlothian council, well deserved "Prats of The Week".
Drop them a note, to let them know that they have won: firstname.lastname@example.org