WHAT is one of the top items we should be campaigning for in the forthcoming general
WHAT is one of the top items we should be campaigning for in the forthcoming general election? I would suggest: common sense.
The reason is that the lack of it is harming voluntary activities in local towns when people trying to help others are being prevented from doing so.
The synagogue â?? along with local churches â?? runs lunches and take-home meals for those unable to feed themselves or their families properly. Yet when we approached local supermarkets to give us food that was past its “sell-by” date, they refused lest they be sued if any illness resulted, even though it is still safe to eat and despite the fact that some people would otherwise be forced to scavenge food from dustbins (which is surely much less hygienic).
Then there’s the problem over criminal records bureau checks (now known as disclosure and barring checks), which certainly must be made on teachers, youth leaders and care assistants.
But the net is being spread too wide and discouraging parents who bring other people’s children to scouts or sports activities, or those who give lifts to elderly people to local friendship clubs.
The response of many is to say, “I was just trying to help out but don’t want to be bogged down with all this paperwork â?? ask somebody else”. Others are insulted that they have to prove they have no criminal past.
The result is fewer people offering their services, activities being stymied and elderly people staying at home alone.
We need a “Good Samaritans” clause that marries health and safety with common sense and, when the two collide, gives precedence to the latter.
Politicians seem to have dropped the term “The Big Society” from the last election but there are many ordinary people working to make it happen who need to be encouraged rather than tripped up.