Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Nanny Bans Christmas Lights

Nanny Bans Xmas
In the traditional run up to Christmas, nice to see the stores are already stocking their Christmas items (absurdly early, quite sickeningly early in my view), it should come as no surprise to learn that Nanny has launched her own traditional" attempt to put the mockers on the event.

In the old days, high streets up and down the country would be festooned with coloured lights and Christmas decorations; adding a little cheer to the gloomy December night sky. Unfortunately, Nanny has a belief that thousands of people have been killed an injured by falling decorations and electrical short circuits. As such she and the health and safety Gestapo have so tied the process of mounting a light display up in red tape, that many councils can simply not afford to put them up.

The Federation of Small Businesses says that the rules and requirements introduced by Nanny and the Gestapo are making insurance premiums too expensive for councils and traders.

Insurers, as is the norm, insist on strict adherence to health and safety guidelines. These guidelines require councils to use expensive specialist equipment to test the safety of light fittings.

Ladders are, of course banned, council workers have to hire hydraulic platforms.

Every light fitting must also undergo a "pull test", using specialist equipment to make sure it is strong enough. Lampposts are also now banned from being used as a hanging point for decorations, they are "unsafe".

Stephen Alambritis, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

"The festive period is looking darker

and bleaker year on year

Britain is facing a Christmas blackout this year.

The sense of pride a good festive display

can instill on a town centre is immeasurable.

Spiralling costs and exhaustive safety

concerns are ruining the festive spirit

Christmas in Birmingham
That is because Nanny doesn't give a stuff about Christmas, or about people having fun. Dictatorships throughout history, have been more than happy to ban or highjack a particular festival in order to use it for their own ends (eg Nanny's lickspittles in Birmingham, some years ago renamed Christmas "Winterval").

North Somerset Council have told traders in Clevedon that lights can no longer be attached to lampposts or buildings, therefore there will be no lights this year.

The council, as befitting a local council, have absolved themselves of any responsibility and blame a new code of practice. Its spokesman, Nick Yates, said:

"There is a code of practice which has to be followed

regarding the installation of Christmas lights.

The lighting columns are concrete and it is

not possible to attach lights to them

A small point, Mr Yates, codes of practice are simply codes of practice; they are not mandatory. The council, if it had the will and the cajones, could simply elect not to follow the code of practice. However, as with all councils, they adopt the zero risk approach because they are weak, untrained and unsuited for their roles.

You cannot zeroise risk, Nanny and her lackeys have yet to grasp that important point!

Bodmin council, in Cornwall, have issued an edict ordering that a pressure gauge be used to test all 150 bolts which hold lights or cables around the town.

This must be carried out by two workmen in a cherry picker, which will cost the authority £1,200 in training fees, plus their wages and the cost of the equipment. To test the bolts the town centre roads have to be closed for a day, and then closed again while the lights are put up.

Kim Roscoe, council spokesman, said:

"Health and safety requirements have

greatly increased the costs.

Bodmin will not be the same without its

Christmas lights, and it is particularly

galling as last year was the best ever

In Sandwell, Worcestershire, traders have been told that lights cannot be hung across the widths of roads, because of fears that cables may break.

Last year Scarborough Council cancelled the celebrity switch-on, because of police objections on various health and safety issues.

There will be no lights in Northampton, because the council cannot afford them.

The good old boys in the Association of British Insurers are quick to cover their backsides. A spokesman said that, because of an increasingly litigious culture, the cost of the liability cover was increasing.

"Insurance is a risk-based product

and a high proportion of that risk is liability.

If councils are protecting themselves from being

sued by a private party then the policies will be expensive

Can someone from Nanny's little world please tell me how many people in the UK have been injured, or killed, in the last 50 years by public Christmas decorations?

I am willing to bet the number is but a handful.

As to how we got ourselves into this mess, I am afraid it's a combination of a number of factors:
  • Greed of the insurance companies, who now regularly quote a minimum £5M figure for any public event

  • Weakness of local councils in not challenging the quotes of the insurance companies

  • Greed of individual citizens who sue for the slightest injury or accident

  • Greed of the ambulance chasing private injury law firms, who proactively encourage people to sue

  • Nanny and her lackeys in the health and safety Gestapo pushing through countless regulations that are ill thought through, and are designed to restrict people's daily lives rather than enhance the quality of their lives

  • Laughably poor quality local councils, feeble minded, weak in spirit and ill trained to understand or manage risk issues. They instead choose to adopt the "safe" zero risk approach
We really do need to make a stand against this nonsense, before we are totally swamped by rules and regulations that will destroy the very fabric of our lives.


  1. Crazy....Who are to blame?....well we all are for allowing it to go this far.
    'Elf n Safety this and 'Elf n Safety that...I think it is just a cover all excuse...There does seem to be a conserted effort by the PC brigade to get Christianity out of the public's lives. There are no more PC organisations then local authorities.
    I agree the "No win no fee" brigade have partly destroyed our way of life, but there are a class of muppets in this country that will sue for the least little thing....Often it is cheaper for companies to settle rather than fight. What the muppets cannot understand is that all these costs are passed on to the rest of us. Hence the rise in insurance premiums.
    I suspect that the next target will be home owners that put on a Christmas display in their garden...I expect there will be some sort of license required to erect the display with all the inspection costs and license fees payable to the local council....Kerching and penalty charges for failure to comply....Kerching Kerching....Rant over!!

  2. alan g3:05 PM

    You're right Ken - it all comes down to greed in a handful of people, which spoils it for everyone else.

    Sadly Tonk - I think you may well be right. It will doubtless take one minor incident and a complaint from a muppet to get the whole elf n' safety brigade and the councils calling for more regulations and restrictions on home displays.

    By the way, has bonfire night been banned yet??

  3. The Sheriff of Nottingham3:33 PM

    Good, let's call off Christmas altogether

  4. grumpy4:22 PM

    Sadly, both Tonk and alan g have already - it seems - been overtaken by events.
    A friend of mine from Lancashire writes to tell me that Council House tenants (Do they still call them that?) have already been warned that:
    "...affixing any device intended to support washing lines or appertunances intended by the tenant to serve a similar function at a height greater than two metres above the mean ground level, or electrical fittings or supports for same, or other devices which require affixation to the outer surface of any dwelling, out-building or other fixed or immobile building at any height or which may be deemed by any officer of the Local Authority or operative or other duly authorised person to constitute an immobile (temporary or permanent) building, must comply with the relevant Health and Safety regulation as required by the said authority. Any such work must first be authorised by an Officer of the..........Council (hereinafter 'The Council') and is to be undertaken only by duly accredited, trained and authorised employees of said Council or by such companies, firms or other organisations holding the Council's express warrant for such operations.
    Tenants who are found to be in breach of this order will be prosecuted and may be required to pay restitution costs, (which costs may or may not include any specific or non-specific costs in amelioration of the Council's assessment of, or obligation to make enhanced payment with regard to specialised training of, or to specific risks by, operatives involved in any, or all, subsequent dismantling and/or renovation operations ), which may be incurred by said Council.
    The Council further reserves the right to report and/or prosecute any tenant found to be in breach of (or suspected of being in breach of) these regulations on the charge of inflicting criminal damage.........." (It goes on like this for several pages).

    So remember folks. stick a Christmas light on your house and go to nick for the New Year.

    Season's Greetings to you all.

  5. is it not strange that up north the muslims are not having any trouble about festive lights to mark the end of eid, in fact the police have complemented both them and the council for the display.Under the articles of the UN declaration of the rights of indigenous peoples, we the natives of England have an absolute right to display and celebrate our culture,our religion and our traditions, past ,present and future,so go to it people wether the council or thier overseas friends like it or not, tough,this is ENGLAND!

  6. Grant9:53 PM

    As regular readers of NKB will know I am not one to be often contrary about the opinions expressed by our dear Ken nor, typically, have I ever been known to support politicians, councils and most of the H&S epidemic.

    However this particular subject (though not grumpy's mate's letter from the council) does give me some hope. Not so much about the lights - for which one might observe that if the lamp posts are not strong enough to hang some lights from once in a while one has to wonder if they are fit for their intended purpose at all - but more in the hope that the absurdity of displays that has overtaken the country in recent years may be toned down somewhat. If not I foresee the Weasels of Westminster demanding carbon taxes and offset payments for all things to do with lights.

    Furthermore the dispklays would clearly need to be created from the new low consumption bulbs and those are somewhat reliant on Mercury as well as being not too reliable in function. The idea of closing a few town centres at peak shopping times because some wag has smashed a low energy bulb and thereby caused an H&S major chemical spillage alert might not be attractive to the retailers.

    But mostly this concept gives me hope that other forms risk could be curbed. For me that would mean the dreadful repetitive cacophany that is Xmas music played incessantly for weeks before the event. It's bad enough that nearly all stores (even out sweet little local Co-op in the last week or so) now have their own 'Radio' stationsn on perpetually but to have them all on and playing flaming Noddy Holder 24/7 really is too much. (Nothing against Noddy, a bit of colour in an all too grey world, but there are limits and in the case of 'that song' the limit was after year two. And I feel I'm being generous there.)

    So, if banning the lights is a prelude to banning the excruciating noise pollution music that tends to accompany the lights, I'm all for it. The risk, if such a thing does not happen, is that I and a few others of like mind, might just run amok due to brain pattern interference and inadvertently smash some Low energy lightbulbs thus shutting down town centre around the country. It would not be our faults of course, Indeed I would expect to sue the LA for a healthy sum for not properly managing local noise pollution levels.

  7. Anonymous10:45 PM

    >> As to how we got ourselves into this mess, I am afraid it's a combination of a number of factors:

    Lets not miss out from that list the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 that introduced conditional fee agreements that paved the way for the no win no fee brigade.

    Given the state of things in the US, why it wasn't obvious that this would only lead to a mass of frivoulous litigation by people with nothing to loose, still amazes me.

    Oh wait, ... no, ... why am I surprised? Politicians voted for this and most of them are lawyers. The wily ones would have seen the opportunity for easy money in their private practice and the inept would let it pass unhindered.

  8. grumpy11:28 AM

    my mate's letter was sent to me as part of a discussion about the increasingly 'popular' game of dressing-up one's house for Christmas.
    It was my opinion that, by covering houses with glittering lights, at least they were made an easily seen target for bombers - an idea who's time has come IMHO.
    However, sticking somebody in jail for putting up a washing line (whether illuminated or not) still strikes me as a tad excessive.

    One can't help but agree with anon 2:45 about the whole rotten 'Elf&Safety' thing - politicos are scum, lawyers are worse scum; allowing them to combine the two 'professions' and then letting them loose, both to create and implement the law, is an act of utter bloody stupidity on the voter's part that we are now living to regret. 'Things Can Only Get Worse', as the NuLab rallying song should have said.

  9. Grant1:26 AM

    grumpy wrote:

    "my mate's letter was sent to me as part of a discussion about the increasingly 'popular' game of dressing-up one's house for Christmas.
    It was my opinion that, by covering houses with glittering lights, at least they were made an easily seen target for bombers - an idea who's time has come IMHO."

    Agreed. Around the corner from me we have a whole street of them. I think they have probably written the need for involvement into the deeds of the houses in case anyone tries to escape the Close. I can't see them being able to sell to anyone with the money to buy.

    grumpy further wrote:

    "However, sticking somebody in jail for putting up a washing line (whether illuminated or not) still strikes me as a tad excessive."

    Very true unless of course they were repeat offenders and used it to display over-sized bloomers to attract the local peeping toms.

    What we must remember is that for a council owned property there will be an entire support team, tax funded, to provide such services likely FOC for most occupants.

    Bear in mind that the use of ladders may be required and the potential for delay whilst the staff are trained could be frustrating BUT the service will almost certainly keep half the council staff employed, thus boosting the local economy. At the same time the tenant may be in luck if a shoddy job is provided since they could well sue the landlord (the council) for injuries or failure of service or efficacy of the way the thing was fitted. This action would keep the other half of the council staff employed.

    As you can see the idea of enforcing rules of occupancy and control of service delivered is a win-win situation for all concerned in the long term.

    I won't go into the way the finances work - Ken's an accountant so I'm sure he can explain it much better than I.

  10. grumpy2:41 PM

    I think that somewhere in my friend's letter (about page 17 if memory serves), there is a paragraph dealing with the optimum size of bloomer that one may legally hang out to dry.
    It follows the chapter about the necessity of consulting the Council's weather expert in order to decide both the strength and the direction of the prevailing wind on one's nominated washing day.

  11. Andy Mabbett12:01 PM

    'Birmingham, some years ago renamed Christmas "Winterval" '
    Oh no they didn't!