Tuesday, October 19, 2010

nanny I think I may have wet my trousers...

Because the waves were quite large washing squid this evening. I've been looking at the UK papers seeing as it looks - to me - like one of the boys will end up there. I read that the Food Safety Authority put out an advisory that children should not eat fruit and berries from hedgerows unsupervised. I had to shake my head. For heaven's sake. Australia too seems to have a fair bit of nannying, which I remain amazed at how people put up with. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? As a parent I drummed the knowledge of what they could and couldn't eat from the wild into my kids heads from so early they probably can't remember learning it. That's MY responsibility. And yes, my kids (and me) are just as capable of utter idiocy as the next bloke. The fact that nanny is there to make sure I do xyz is more likely to make me careless, than her absence, and knowing I need to be responsible. Idiot number one managed to throw the tentacles and keep the head of best squid we caught tonight. But that was me, my stupidity, and I am unlikely to do it again in a hurry.

What was the classic bit from Swallows and Amazons?
If not duffers won't drown. If duffers, better drowned.

There is a practical limit with all these things. Some regulation is not a bad idea... but...

One of my friends here - talking about climbing - said it would be a great money-earner. Wonderful for tourists, good for the Island... and then I pointed out the regulations. The insurance. Which is why the island no longer has so many of its little local entertainments -- what is possible and merely a hassle for a trotting race in Hobart just makes it out of the question here. The races happened here for years. They were a major social activity... and then nanny said...

Gah. I do hope this pendulum swings back soon.


  1. My Premier has been nick named "Daddy" due to the severe nannying that has gone on the last 8yrs. Toss in his indecisiveness, his love for all things "Toronto"... we have hopes to get rid of him next election... Unfortunately the options are no better.

    Federally, it appears the lack of "nannying" has gotten us in trouble with the EU.... Their problem not mine. So... IMO the faster we are out of Afghanistan the better. They can deal with it themselves.... hiding up in the North so they don't break their fingernails.

    I hope we keep the Prime Minister.

  2. I was in a discussion with two friends of a friend on FB about government regulation of food. They were insistent that we needed more government regulation, because poor people weren't smart enough to make the right food choices and because big companies were adding sugar and high fructose corn syrup to everything.

    To me, it's more about education than regulation. Jody and I looked closer at the food that was already in our pantry and we're just not seeing it. Yes, there is corn syrup and sugar in some of the things we've purchased, but it's in the items you expect it to be in - peanut butter and that sugary cereal Tripp wants when we're in the store but hardly eats when we're at home as he prefers to eat my Special K.

    These people didn't seem to understand that adding even more government regulation would lead to even more ignorant people because they would be even more dependent on someone else to do things for them and wouldn't be learning what choices to make.

  3. It's the parents Dave. As you now we banned children under 12 years of age from the restaurant a few years ago. Eventually little Fiona stabbing our table (wooden) with a fork while Mum and Dad ignored her helped to make up my mind. (Mum was a bit miffed when I, jokingly, added R1,500 to her bill for a new table top).

    A recent Poll in the Independent as to who is responsible for disciplining children yielded a higher score in favour of the school being responsible.

    So the pendulum won't swing back as it seems most parents enjoy abrogating their responsibilities.

  4. There's an Australian singer named Steve Lee who wrote a series of songs about guns. In one of his songs, "I'll Give Up My Guns...", he mentions all the little things that Nannyism has taken away in addition to wanting to take his guns. It reinforced the whole "slippery slope" concept.

    But as I get older I see that the whole question really is almost an "all or nothing" one. It's almost impossible to tell Government that you want X without Government deciding that you need to have Y as well. This is particularly true when you ask Government to regulate something.

    Take food safety. We don't want Government to merely punish producers who sell tainted food...we want them to _stop_ people from doing so from the beginning. Which means intrusion. It's far easier to let the Mandarins simply decide the extent of that intrusion rather then actually trying to control Government ourselves.

    It's a sticky wicket.

  5. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

    Lawyers. Over the last decade or so there has been an increase in successful public liability litigation against councils, governments, and organisations running events attended by the public in Oz (and I assume the UK as well). I believe that the famous case was the local council not having placed warning signs to indicate there was a sandbar at a beach, and thereby being found culpable when a surfer broke his neck whilst surfing there. It's why public liability insurance for events has shot through the roof since then. After all, somebody must be at fault and must be made to pay. At least we (haven't yet) gone the US route of being able to charge clients by taking a percentage of a successful litigation.

  6. If this comment gets through then we throw a party!

    The reason eating wild blackberries was banned in Victoria was because of the spraying that was used to contain them. When I want to wild harvest in the ACT, I check to see if the spraying has happened, which I can do as an adult with a knowledge of who to ask and access to the internet and local farmers.

    The hidden environmental hazards are an increasing problem, but have always been there.

    it wasn't so easy for a child in the 60s. The local government was blamed when people wild-harvested from sprayed plants and got sick on pesticides in my childhood, so the local government responded by announcing it was spraying and that people should not pick introduced berries from the side of the road.

    I do wonder if the same thing is happening in the UK - there is lots of encouragement of wild harvesting there right now and very little public understanding of pesticide use.

  7. Ahh...the whole "locovore" thing. But people in England have been picking from hedgerows for _millenium_. You'd think that someone would have sense.

  8. Farmwifetwo - my own suspicion is nannying is welcomed by those on whom it has very little impact - ie lifejackets are legally obligatory in this state and not wearing one is punishable by a large fine - all because of some folk getting drowned a few years ago. Now, the conditions, the place and (by hearsay) the state of the sailors were more than just dumb. But it was a tragedy and the largely non-seagoing people think it a good law. Well, try asking divers in wetsuits around here how useful it is... and that's seriously not that terrible a law - just in floatation device (a wetsuit) on a sea like glass it's not particularly relevant, and can be a complete, expensive PITA.

  9. Blloonatic - I have to wonder, sometimes, if they ever heard the expression 'think of it as evolution in action'. I'm not saying that intelligent, mostly sensible people don't do dumb things or fail to inform themselves, but this lowers us all to the lowest possible denominator and sets that as a standard, instead of aknowledging that yeah, being smart, thinking and learning are good for you.

  10. Tantalus - they deserve the children and problems they'll end up with. Except the rest of us do too. I put the lack of table etiquette down to the disappearance of family meals - our kids ate at table, formal knife-and-fork meals from IIRC around 5. So they could learn how to behave. What to eat with your fingers. Which knife to use, how to behave.

  11. Quilly, it's probably why I am a Heinlein style anarchist. Or at least Jeffersonian democracy in the absence of enough room.

  12. Reverence Pavane - I was told that Australia now has more lawsuits than the US - per capita

  13. Gillian, where is the party :-). There was no mention of spraying. The Quango expert claimed that wild plants like belladonna (in England? really) could be mistaken for edible stuff. And you know, some berries had BUGS or Mould... and so they issued this... in October.

  14. Dave. Running a restaurant is a sure fire way to gain an understanding about manners, and it is not just the young.

    Booked for 19h30 turns up at 20h30, thinks their watch is a fashion statement. Phone call to warn us they are running late, huh ? Apology ? Then the 'no shows' who get miffed when I phone at 23h00 to ask if they are lost or if we can go to bed yet.

    Adult rocks back on chair until it breaks, lawsuit ? make my day.

    Teenagers texting each other across the dining table.

    Diners clicking their fingers at wait staff, yobs.

    Obviously we are in the service business and that carries responsibilities, but we're not in the servile business. Respect is a two way street and so it is with parenting.

    I could write a book, now there's an idea :-)

    But for all my moaning and groaning 99% of our customers are rock solid, loyal and fun to be around, it is the disfunctionals who leave a nasty taste.

  15. Funny thing is, even Belladonna is edible. It's of family solanaceae, same as tomatoes and potatoes. Eat the berries when green or unripe: get poisoned. Eat the berries when they're purple-black and soft... and they're sweet, and quite pleasant. (I learned from a Botany professor. And I've put it to the test, yes.)

    I agree completely on the overnannying front. But it wasn't always that way. About eight to ten years ago, under the Howard government, a couple of major insurance companies went ker-flub. And in response, the insurance industry got heavily regulated, and mandated, and prices went up all the hell all over the place.

    Pissed me off no end, because it really did put the zap on all sorts of wonderful little rural festivals and events.

    I think the pendulum will swing eventually, simply because of Darwinism. People who don't learn to be responsible for themselves make stupid choices and have fewer offspring - at least in theory. (Might take a while for social conditions to move that way... but give it time.)

  16. Speaking of solanaceae, Dave -- do you get Kangaroo Apple all over the place on Flinders? It's a damned weed here, and again, you wouldn't eat the fruit when it's unripe, owing to the large quantities of steroids. But when ripe, I'm informed you can make quite a nice jam or preserve out of it.

  17. I suspect so - I have spotted a solanaceae bush - volunteering all over. Been told it is poisonous. It looks remarkably msobosobo/ nastergal - Solanum nigrum - which oddly is toxic in a similar looking plant in Europe.

  18. It's the effect of this sort of nanny rubbish on rural communities that really irritates me. They simply lack the numbers, finance and facilities to cope with the regulations. So all those things - which make the countryside fun and bring the community together - are dropped. My own feeling is there ought to be a condition to any regulation passed: If it will be more expensive and difficult for rural communities to comply than Hobart, then Hobart can pay the difference. Soon stop them.

  19. I just saw on the news at work yesterday that there are some areas here in the U.S. where the schools are now going to start providing an early dinner, too. Another step down the slippery slope.

  20. Dave,
    Back when the Bar was on compu-serve during a discussion of Heinlein Jim called it anarcho-syndicalism. I've always liked that.