Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In the UK, A Man's Home is His Nanny's Castle

In another step toward the dark abyss, the UK is drawing up regulations that would allow health/safety inspectors unprecedented access into private homes for the purpose of preventing childhood accidents.

Health and safety inspectors are to be given unprecedented access to family homes to ensure that parents are protecting their children from household accidents.

New guidance drawn up at the request of the Department of Health urges councils and other public sector bodies to “collect data” on properties where children are thought to be at “greatest risk of unintentional injury”.

Council staff will then be tasked with overseeing the installation of safety devices in homes, including smoke alarms, stair gates, hot water temperature restrictors, oven guards and window and door locks.
What kind of a stretch is it from here to assume that these same benevolent servants of the state will be headed back every few months to check battery strength, whether the water temperature gauges have been fiddled with, or whether gates at the top of stairways are in place at all times?

When inside the house, what other potential negative situations do you suppose will be encouraged to be reported? Will objectionable reading materials be cause for alarm, or will the recycling police be alerted should a parent here or there not be separating their plastics properly? Will refrigerators be checked for balanced diets? What if, gasp, out of season fruits are on the table?
Nice [National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence] also recommends the creation of a new government database to allow GPs, midwives and other officials who visit homes to log health and safety concerns they spot.

The guidance aims to “encourage all practitioners who visit families and carers (sic) with children and young people aged under 15 to provide home safety advice and, where necessary, conduct a home risk assessment”. It continues: “If possible, they should supply and install home safety equipment.”
This should really keep the midwives hopping. I can hear it now. "Ma'am, your water just broke. I'll go boil some water, collect some clean linens, and head to the truck for a smoke alarm."

A h/t to Bruce at Q and O who opines
Two things at work here – one of which we’re all familiar, even in the US. This is what? It is “for the children”. All manner of state intrusion is prefaced by claiming it is “for the children”. Which brings us to the second thing – the assumption by the state that parents are too dumb and inept to properly care for their children. While this is true of some, certainly, the standard is applied to all. And we’ve certainly seen evidence that the state is so much better, haven’t we?

So why does the state not only feel the necessity but right to intrude at such a level?
About 100,000 children are admitted to hospital each year for home injuries at a cost of £146m.
Well, creating a whole new bureaucracy for the purpose of installing fire alarms and window latches won't be cheap but, after all, the right to the freedom of children from suffering accidental injury cannot be exactly free.

So, lets just call it even on the expenses side of the equation--savings in accidents minus the cost of midwife spies and AAA batteries. As for the liberty side, citizens dumb enough to expose their children to unnecessary risks might not even notice that their freedoms are being trampled.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to see the once proud UK just keel over and die rather than having to watch it slowly rot away like an Alzheimer's patient. Having given up most of its sovereignty to the EU already, many of its citizens seem more than willing to cede what little freedom it still has to the remaining nannies inside its own country.

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