To return to topic... On Monday Cameron was forced to apologise to the House for getting his facts wrong at PMQs when he accused the Government over funding given to two Islamic schools. It now transpires that not only did he get his basic facts wrong about the schools in question and the Government funding, which has been well-documented elsewhere, but he also failed to check what his own party was up to on the getting cosy with Hizb-ut-Tahrir front.
And now he's at it again, with his health and safety speech. If you want a serious analysis of it you could do worse than look at Hopi Sen's blog. But just to pull out a few choice pieces...
- Cameron attacks the absurdity of making kids wear goggles when they play conkers. This is an old chestnut (ho, ho) but in its latest incarnation it hails from a school in East Cheshire which is, you've guessed it, Conservative run. The Health and Safety Executive has said that "the dangers of a game of conkers has been exaggerated and there was no national ban".
- A woman was refused the loan of a pair of scissors because of health and safety concerns in a library in Camden. That's Tory/ Lib Dem run Camden.
- A lollipop man was banned from tying tinsel to his lollipop (and no, that's not a metaphor) by Tory Hampshire County Council.
- Tory controlled Sherbourne Council in Dorset branded a pensioner who voluntarily cleared rubbish from a disused allotment next to her own a 'vigilante' and ordered her to desist immediately.
- Tory run Dudley council has said roadside snack vans will be forced to close unless they offer healthy alternatives such as salads and yoghurts.
- And this is the best one... A gardener in Bromsgrove who fenced off his allotment with a 3 foot high ring of barbed wire after thieves stole £300 of equipment has been ordered to take it down by the Tory council - in case intruders scratch themselves!
"I'm not going to rant on about it all being political correctness gone mad (although it is). what it demonstrates is that these councils are presided over by weak politicians who have little control over the officers. It's about time they learned what the word Conservative actually means." Iain Dale, 'Supine Tory Councillors need to control their officers', 1/11/2008.
*Most up to date figure I can find, doing a miniscule amount of homework myself, is £26,940 a year in 2007.