Monday, 11 January 2010

Scots Rebel Against Red Tape

Thousands of rebelling curling fans defied a health and safety warning not to stage a national meeting on the Lake of Monteith.

More than 2000 players had been due to play a Bonspiel this weekend on the frozen loch for the first time in more than 30 years, but despite the long cold snap, authorities were unable to give clearance for the event to go ahead over health and safety fears. Those fears centred on the emergency services not being able to gain access to players if they injured themselves or fell through the ice. Without H & S support insurance could not be acquired and the event would have been a liability for the sport's governing body the Royal Caledonian Curling Club.

Undaunted, over 2,000 Scottish curlers and spectators turned up this weekend. The maverick winter sports fans said they were paying scant regard to the actions of the "nanny state" and the cancellation of the official event announced on Friday. Observers said the ice was far thicker than the minimum of seven inches required for curling.

A group was formed on Facebook with the message "Bring your stones, bring your skates if you prefer or just bring yourself. Take heed of the warnings but do it anyway."

Four curling 'sheets' had been marked out and games of ice hockey were set up around the fringes, along with skating rinks.

Mr Grahamslaw, chief executive of the RCCC , said he pleased pleased at the turnout to the unofficial event. "It's great. What we're seeing is what you'd hope for on a busy weekend in such a beautiful setting. It's nice that people have been able to take advantage of that."

Nice indeed and I hope everyone had a day to remember. In 1963 I recall skating on the River Tweed. No Elfin Safety in those days, just locals who knew how to measure ice and assure us youngsters it was safe.

That's the end of the official Bonspiel. It will now be consigned to history because of the nanny state, insurance companies who won't take the slightest risk and police who say too many people attending such an event is dangerous.

Someone else has had a Bonspiel this weekend.


Apogee said...

"Health and safety" once again causing problems with "unintended consequences". Seemingly,the problems envisaged were not on the ice, but in getting to the area. So the organisers could not get insurance, so a news report seemed to be saying,so the official event was cancelled.But people went anyhow!
And quite within their rights to do so. Could it be that H and S is being applied far too widely just because it can be, and without any commonsense being used, which is surely against the spirit of H and S.


INCOMING!!!!!!! said...

Ah yes insurance cover, one of the great stealthy instruments of behavioural change.

subrosa said...

Aye Apogee, I think first it was because the ice wasn't thick enough, then when they were found out to be telling porkies, they got the police onside to say there wasn't enough space for people to park!

Couldn't make it up could you.

Would have been super for the curlers to have an official Bonspiel. They'll never be another now of course. The Bonspiel is now history.

subrosa said...

A total nonsense Incoming but organisation such as this need the liability cover.

Strathturret said...

I feel that this story has been somewhat 'daily mailed'. Surely the issue is the RCCC needed insurance cover otherwise it would have been liable is someone fell through ice and died etc. It couldn't get cover. As a governing body where liability may move on to office bearers or indeed members it had no choice but call off the official event?

The real issue is our litigatious society not H&S.

Anonymous said...

I'm a great believer in individual liberty. I never interfere with people doing what people want to do regardless whether it is safe or not. As long as it doesn't disturb me (which might sound a bit selfish, but you know what I mean.)

I am sometimes aggrieved at things like my having to go on a course at work to learn how to use a pair of steps, so that the next time I want to put my office clock back or forward, or change a light bulb, I can do so with approval.

On the other hand Strathturret has it in a nutshell. You have to be careful you don't get sued. It's not really the fault of the authorities; much more the fact that we have learned from America that, if it hurts you can sue someone somewhere for it. There’s always some nutter lawyer looking to make a buck.

So, from someone who hates authority and resents every bit of power it has over me, I say, to a certain extent, ordinary people have brought this kind of thing upon themselves.

Strathturret said...

For your info I checked RCCC website. They are a company limited by guarantee. This is now increasingly common for sports clubs/governing bodies. This means if you sue them then officials/members/affiliated clubs are protected. You can only take assets of RCCC as they are a legal entity.

banned said...

Good for them, and the 2,000 Scouts and Guides who carried on camping in the Essex snow despite the elfinsafety miserableists.

subrosa said...

I think this suing business is more of a generational thing tris. I'd no more think of suing someone if I was taking part in a sport etc. Of course in cases negligence it's another matter.

subrosa said...

I don't think it's been daily-mailed Strathturret. I think it's been in the headlines due to its history. The Bonspiel was the highlight of many people's lives at one time. I remember a great uncle of mine who played in one of the winning teams at one. I'm sure the memories kept him alive once his wife died.

subrosa said...

Would RCCC have many assets? I've no idea.

As it is it would have been a fine occasion because it seems like many turned up anyway.

Maybe someone didn't like the sound of a north/south curling match. :)

subrosa said...

Well done the Scouts and Guides and their leaders banned. I didn't read about that but I see not have had their common sense particles removed.

Strathturret said...

Yes I'd wondered what assets they might have too. Probably not much but they have some full-time staff (looks like 3-10 from their web site) who could have been out on the streets if they got bankrupted by Messrs Sue, Grabbit & Rune.

Apogee said...

Perhaps I have it wrong, but does not various other sports get round the insurance problem by having contract ambulance, rescue, fire fighting personnel on site as required for the event and as the insurance company requires to cover the event?


subrosa said...

Aye many do Apogee. The problem here was the police I think. They said the area wouldn't be able to 'contain' the amount of traffic. Now don't ask me for the link to where I read that...

Strathturret said...

All national bodies are insured I think? But there are always conditions. In an indoor curling rink a couple of first aiders will do I suppose.

On Bonspeil from what I've read RCCC approached insurers who said have you got 'blue light boys' on board. Police said no so insurance said no.

At least RCCC is quite good humoured about unofficial event. Other sports would not be so sanguine (rugby, football and athletics for example).

subrosa said...

Aye that's what I read too Strathturret. The police wouldn't give the go ahead at the last minute.

Curlers are a breed apart I think. Although not publicly voicing any anger I'm sure many feel it.

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