No win no fee earns H&S a bad press again!

The BBC’s One Show was taking a cheap shot last week, with an item on an ex WWII RAF Spitfire pilot. Apparently, the old boy wasn’t allowed to get in to a Spitfire that had been restored by a group of volunteers. The reason given for the prohibition was of course given as ‘health and safety concerns’, which of course was greeted by derisory comments from the one Show presenters, similar to those made in national newspapers earlier in the week.

Interestingly, the film clip they showed was edited to show the OAP first standing next to the cockpit and then, as if by magic, sitting in the aircraft. No doubt climbing in to the aircraft for the 90+ year old pensioner was not as quick or slick as the producer would of liked and no doubt had some potential health and safety implications, they didn’t want shown on early evening TV.

Trivialising health and safety concerns in this way, does nobody any good and completely ignores the aircraft owners genuine reasons for refusing the ex-RAF pilot’s request – the fear of being sued by a no win, no fee lawyer. Had this old gentleman come a cropper, either climbing in or climbing out of the Spitfire, do you think either he or his relative would of accepted it as just one of those things? Or would they have been on the phone to the first no win, no fee lawyer they found in the phone book? Even if they hadn’t initiated the legal action, there’s every possibility one of the numerous ambulance chasing firms, that advertise daily on day time TV, would probably have been on the phone to them!

As long as the no win, no fee legal system remains unchanged, people will continue to respond in this way to what would otherwise be a very straightforward request.

Riots, a truly classless problem

Am I the only one beginning to see evidence emerging that proves we are indeed living in a society that, if not actually broken, has certainly lost its moral compass.

Commentators, politicians and social activists have all been trying to identify a well defined group of criminals as being responsible for the recent riots. As well as being feral and disaffected, these people are supposedly lacking in hope and are forced in to their extreme responses because of their frustrations with a society that has abandoned them. This has lead many to become outright criminals.

However, a quick scan of the details of those who have been through the courts, reveals a much more disturbing fact. Not only are many of those currently bailed or sentenced in gainful employment, a number are very well educated and some were about to embark on productive careers.

If you can’t pin loutish, anti-social, or even criminal behaviour on a disadvantaged background, then you have found yourself a completely new can of worms to open. The Government now has to examine the whole spectrum of our society. It needs to identify how we have distrorted the morals of those involved in theses riots to the extent that, no matter what their backgrounds, they felt that it was, if not okay to do what they did, it was certainly worth the risk.

If it was just a case of reconnecting us all with our lost respect for authority and in particular the law, then that would be easy. More police on the streets, a zero tolerance approach to low level crime and a crime and punishment system that isn’t paralyised by political correctness of the liberal left and the extremes of the Human Rights Act. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that it is anywhere near as simple as that and that what we are dealing with is a state of mind that many of those in charge and over the age of 50 might have difficulty getting their heads around. Why over 50? Well, I think the rot set in the late 60’s, started in our schools and has been reinforced by numerous political decisions and social changes since then.

When my father was alive and something about kids behaving badly was reported in the papers, or came on the TV, one of his favoured comments was, ‘what we need is another bl***ing war, that’ll give ’em something else to think about!’. Given his experiences in WW2, that was a bit extreme to say the least, but I could see where he was coming from. The consumer and celebrity obsessed society we have allowed to develop in this country, has distorted the attitudes of recent generations to what is important and to their place in the world. I fear it will take much more than a few years of David Cameron’s Big Society to fix it – I just hope it doesn’t take another war.