Saturday, September 02, 2006

Taking a Liberty!

“Give me liberty – or give me death,” was the cry of an American politician in 1775. I had to go and look him up, it was a Patrick Henry, and I really don’t believe he meant it. If someone had stood up and challenged him on the spot……..

“Well no, old chap. Not really and truly. I mean it was just a figure of speech – you know how it goes. You’re in the middle of your oration and it just pops into your mind. No, I’m not going to take you up on the offer!”

Politicians are like that – they seldom mean what they say.

Liberty means different things to different people and I think that, in Britain, the present Vicar of St. Albions and his gang have got it terribly wrong.

I read that new fire station (in Cornwall, I think it was) will no longer have the traditional pole for the gallant members to slide down, in case they hurt themselves. Going to a fire, is not, presumably, as hazardous. So they will have to trip or clatter down a flight of stairs and I would suspect, unless the government have fudged the figures (which they probably will), there are fewer accidents from sliding down poles than from falling down stairs.

My solution is that all fire stations should be equipped with one of those invalid chairlifts, Stannah, I believe is the manufacturer. The government could prove its weight carrying capabilities by showing commercials of John Prescott riding up and down, safely if not morally, with a satisfied smile on his face.

Mind you, a lot of people will get burnt to death in the conflagrations that will ensue while the fireman are riding gracefully down to their engines, but no doubt the statisticians can fix that.

But the slippery pole problem doesn’t stop there. You will recall that in the film, Bridget Jones’s Diary, there is a scene where Bridget is shown actually sliding down one of these dangerous devices. And it doesn’t look as though she used a stunt girl for the part – surely the Health and Safety people should be alerted?

At the very least, the film should be pulled from circulation. For Heaven’s sake, firemen might be tempted to try the same thing. Or perhaps a notice: “Do not try this at your fire-station,” would suffice.

“Give me liberty – or a pole at our fire stations,” could be the next political rallying cry from the opposition benches.

I promise I’ll write something more sensible next week!


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