Monday, February 04, 2008
Rules come first, commonsense comes last.
That's Nanny's golden rule, and she is not changing it for anyone.
Therefore it should come as no surprise to learn that a charity bingo event in Misterton, a village in Somerset, recently came a cropper when it tried to advertise its existence by putting up some flyers on lamp posts.
The event, to raise money for children, was to be held down a rather off the beaten track lane; and the organisers wanted to make sure that people could find their way there. Therefore putting up a few flyers on lampposts seemed to be a good idea.
The local council were informed by someone with too much time on their hands about the fliers, and immediately ordered that they be taken down.
Paul Bradly, treasurer of the village hall committee, wrote to South Somerset District Council to complain.
Nanny's trolls on South Somerset District Council responded thus:
"It is not our intention to deprive the village of community events. It is just our duty to enforce legislation in regards to anti-social behaviour."
Ah yes, the old "I'm only obeying orders" response!
Mr Bradly was quite rightly unimpressed:
"The fliers drum up interest in an event. The more people find out about it the more will come and the more money will be raised.
How is that anti-social?
This is all just completely ridiculous. I personally don't understand the problem with it as long as they are taken down afterwards which they are.
It would be different if it was a profit-making business. But a local charity is not the same as a travelling circus putting up large banners.
How else would people find out about fundraising events?"
However, Mr Bradley has made the mistake of assuming that Nanny and her jobsworths in local councils use commonsense...they don't!
Rigid application of the petty rules and regulations is all that matters to these people.
For good measure, the council threatened to fine the village hall £75 for fly-posting.
A spokeswoman for South Somerset District Council said that charities should not consider themselves exempt from the law.
"We have recently had a complaint from a resident about signs littering the countryside so we had to act upon it.
Putting signs up like this without gaining permission is illegal.
I'm afraid littering and acting illegally is considered a form of anti-social behaviour."
I can't say that I am particularly impressed with the sad individual who complained about this, but the council should have used some commonsense.
Commonsense, unfortunately, is in rather short supply these days in local councils.