I must admit to a wry smile as I read the news this morning. At work we live in terror of the Freedom of Information Act. In practice, it has very little (i.e. absolutely no) bearing on our daily round. But in principle anyone can ring up any government-run establishment and demand whatever nonsensical information that takes their fancy. And have an enforceable legal right to have that information within a month. For a nominal fee (I think it’s about ten quid) hard working people are legally obliged to drop what they are doing to find out (for example) how many left handed Nigerians have been tested for emphysema in the last week.
The idea is that information kept by government sources is to be freely available. Ironically following such a series of such requests for data made under The Freedom of Information Act, it would seem that some government departments have had enough. The Ministry of Defence, inundated by crackpots demanding information on flying saucers have decided to no longer keep records of UFO incidents. With no records they have no information to disclose to the general public, and so will save themselves untold effort looking up said information.
I wonder how many other government departments are now going to start emptying their files too.
I also saw there are plans to bring back the dog licence. But in a rather different format. The idea is that people will need to pass a competency test to show they are able to handle a dog. Add onto this the proposal to have all dogs micro-chipped and compulsory third party dog insurance, the average dog owner is looking at a bill of sixty quid a year on top of all the expenses associated with keeping Fido. My initial reaction from my own experience was that I liked the proposal. Having always had dogs in the house as a child, once I had a house of my own, I couldn’t wait to get a dog of my own. And then I realised how utterly unprepared I was for a dog.
But then on reflection, not many of my friends and acquaintances have dogs any more, and of those that do, I don’t think there’s any that don’t have well looked after and well controlled mutts. All that this licensing will do is to add expense where it isn’t needed.
And the pikey element (at whom this legislation is aimed) will just ignore the licensing anyway.
And then to work. Yesterday ‘er indoors TM came home from Tesco with some heat pads for my bad back. You stick them down your pants, and they work wonders, or so the blurb would have me believe. I’d reached the stage where I’d try anything, so down the pants they went, and I set off for work. It was either the moving about all day, or the heat pad. But something’s worked wonders. I wouldn’t say I was cured, but I’m certainly a lot better than I was…