Cops, crabs, crap rugby players and Abu Qatada
But the real legal lunacy of the week came with the release from prison of Abu Qatada after the Home Secretary’s bid to deport him to Jordan was thrown out by the courts.
He’s now out on bail while the Home Office appeals to the House of Lords to try to get the judgement overturned, but it’s his bail conditions that really highlight the barminess of this ruling. He’s got to live in an MI5 safe house, he must stay indoors 22 hours a day, he can’t use a mobile phone, nobody can enter his home without the Home Secretary’s permission except his wife, his children, his lawyers or a doctor and – the most ridiculous of all – he’s not allowed to meet or contact Osama bin Laden. Well, that’s all right then.
In theory he is allowed to work, but I think we can give that one a miss, and the cost to the poor taxpayer of all this is estimated at between £500,000 and a million pounds a year … presumably for ever. It really is enough to make a cat laugh.
YOU’D THINK that after using a stepladder for 30 years, school caretaker Anthony Gower-Smith would know how to go about it. Sadly not.
While removing cards and staples from a gym wall at a primary school in Hampshire, Mr Gower-Smith fell off a six-foot stepladder, fractured his skull, broke a cheekbone split a kidney and spent time in intensive care. Now, to add insult to his injuries, he’s suing for £50,000 in damages because the county council failed to train him how to use the stepladder in the first place.
You might ask, how much training does one need to use a stepladder? It’s a fair point, especially when Mr Gower-Smith admitted in court that he’d had one of these lethal devices at home for at least the previous 30 years. He also admitted that he’d ticked the box on the induction training form saying that he’d received the necessary “ladder training” before starting the job.
So where do we go with this? Sadly, we must regard Mr Gower-Smith as a chancer on the make. Our current compensation culture makes it all too easy for prats like this to take us for a ride. The silly old fool should be ashamed of himself.
UNFORTUNATELY, HE’S not the only one taking the mickey. I’d just been into Lidl to buy tea – dolphin burgers, one week only – when I found this top secret report left on the seat on the train. It appears that the equivalent of two whole police forces are currently on the sick - and on full pay – while working as little as one hour a day.
More than 8,200 police officers are being paid a full salary while on “restrictive or recuperative duties” at a total cost of £284 million a year. And this is not officers off sick through work-related injury: this is those who have returned to work, presumably after being signed off by their doctors, who don’t quite feel up to a normal day’s graft. Well neither do I some days, but I still have to drag myself into work.
The sad truth is that there is a layer of public service employees who will take every opportunity to milk their cushy positions at the expense of the rest of us, the people who pay their wages. In the case of the police, it’s even more annoying that hard-working, front line officers are being denied the support they deserve by the slackers amongst their own ranks.
And why does the Home Office put up with this? Because it would cost too much to make every copper with an imaginary bad back redundant. So instead we limp along with a handicapped service, while toddlers stab each other to death at their nurseries. Ain’t life grand?
WHEN I were a lad, there was only one health and safety rule that mattered when you were catching crabs in rock pools – don’t let the little blighters bite you. These days, things are a little more complicated.
Around 10,000 leaflets were handed out last week to Norfolk holidaymakers by students from Cambridge University, who had taken it upon themselves to protect these poor crustaceans from the attentions of the nation’s children.
According to the bunny-huggers, overcrowding crabs in buckets could cause stress for the smaller ones and lead to vicious fights. Consequently, children are “advised” to only keep 10 crabs or fewer in a bucket at a time; to change the water in the bucket every hour; and to make sure that their bucket isn’t in direct sunlight.
It is uncertain what will happen to children who defy these rockpool rules. Perhaps they’ll be captured on CCTV and be subject to a fine from the Crab Police. It’s hard to tell these days.
I’m only glad that we weren’t subject to such strictures when we used to spray them with lighter fuel and send them running down the beach like eight-legged Buddhist monks. Well, we had to make our own entertainment in those days.
IT APPEARS that there have been some accusations made against our rugby union players currently touring New Zealand. A lady apparently alleges that some of them behaved inappropriately towards her.
To be honest, after watching them last Saturday morning, I find it hard to believe that they could actually catch someone, never mind hold them down. Although I’m not sure that counts as evidence.