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Tumbit's take on Spain : Mr Grumpy

Mr Grumpy has lived and worked in Spain for 6 Years. He is self-employed and has a 3 year old Daughter that speaks better Spanish than he does. Despite the occasional moan about 'Spanish Bureaucracy' he enjoys the Spanish lifestyle and the warmth and friendliness of the Spanish people.

Common Sense Triumphs Over Health & Safety !
01 July 2010 @ 12:13

Anybody over the age of 25 will doubtlessly be able to look back at their childhood with dewey eyed nostalgia - to a time when a ball and a cardboard box held more interest than a game boy. Growing up in the 70's, a game of football was often held with nothing more than a broken bottle and a pile of dog-mess as goal posts, on a pitch in the local park with more rough gravel than grass to play on.

Like most people of my own age, and older, it seems to be a favourite pastime to be able to shake our heads at the younger generation and lament that "Things weren't like this in my day", and I suppose that this has always been the case since the beginning of time.

On reflection I think that it is unfair to criticize these younger generations because it is in fact the generations that have gone before them that have brought about a nanny state governed more by Health & Safety issues and a fear of litigation than by common sense.

I  have just returned from a local fiesta in the Town Square. Two or Three times a year a full day will be dedicated to entertaining the kids and today the Town square was filled with a number of inflatable water slides and bouncy castles,and so on, for the kids to be able to cool down on. This was all paid for by the Town Hall.

I would imagine that the normally quiet square was full of three hundred or so parents & kids and the bars around the square had probably not seen as much business on a Sunday lunchtime for quite some time.

It got me thinking : There was no way that anything like this would be allowed to happen in the UK. As soon as any local Council would decide to host an event like this at some point either a Lawyer or Health & Safety Officer would crawl out of their bubble and have to enter the "real world" to get involved and do a risk assessment and somewhere down the line – probably after some months in the planning and at considerable cost to the tax payer thus far – they would decide that the risk to the public would be too great and the event would not go ahead.

As I looked around the square I noticed a few things : That the tables and chairs from the bars were perilously close to the Inflatable's; there were no crash mats at the bottom of the slides or around the Castles themselves; the Kids were running across bare tarmac to take a run up the slides and games; Nobody was supervising the games; Occasionally an attendant would spray a high pressure water jet over the kids - whether they liked it or not ; and the various compressors and water hoses were left hanging around for all and sundry to bump into or fall over. Other than a sign in the Bar window asking for glasses to be kept inside the bar as plastic glasses were available for outside use, there was no indication of any Health & Safety anywhere at all.

... And guess what : Nobody fell over, nobody stubbed their toe, and nobody sued the Town Hall !

What did happen was that every parent took responsibility for supervising their own child, everybody drinking in the bar acted responsibly and asked for a plastic glass if they were intending venturing outside; The Kids themselves took care when they were running about and watched where they were running and were rightly told off if they started to meddle with any of the equipment.

It seems that the British Government could learn a thing or two from Spain rather than impose a nanny state on everybody – To the best of my knowledge everybody had a great time and nobody got hurt, because everybody took responsibility for their own actions. I would rather my daughter grew up aware of the dangers around her and being able to recognise them and act accordingly as opposed to growing up in a bubble and never having the opportunity to enjoy her childhood.The culture of blame in the UK has a lot to answer for.

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Sue said:
01 July 2010 @ 11:03

How very true! Where we live, in Jumilla, children can go out to play on the streets or in the parks, without their parents having to worry about them. Mind you, we sometimes see children cycling the wrong way down a one-way street......!

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