On a discussion forum a SL from Redditch (maybe known to some people listed on the right- I don’t know) asked some advice as to whether the thing she wanted to do was OK within the rules. It elicited this response.
This is one of those occaisions when common sense has to prevail over POR.
As far as anyone was aware what was being asked wasn’t actually forbidden by POR. Often in Scouting we blame the rulebook for restricting us, when it is only our lack of understanding that does so. POR is carefully written by people who take time to deliberate over whether a rule is necessary.
Many of us tie ourselves in knots trying to comply with, or enforce rules and regs that no-one has actually written. And we find we can’t move because the strings on the straight-jacket are ever tightening, not noticing that the people who are tightening them are ourselves. Those who don’t know the rules and make up restrictive practices, or better enforce a pointlessly stricter version of the rules because “it’s better to be safe than sorry.” are not making our lives safer, they are reducing our ability to make sensible judgements and therefore making the world more dangerous.
Am I wrong in thinking that it is perfectly fair and just that the responsible are subsidised by the irresponsible. Am I being harsh in thinking mistakes should have consequences? According to a recent survey, I’m not.
Currently the big banks are making noises that if penalty charges are banned, other charges will have to go up or be introduced. A survey by moneysupermarket has found that most of us would prefer to stick with the penalty charges.
It’s true, there are some very vulnerable people who are hit by bank charges because of the incompetence of others. People who have cash flow problems because money does not get to them in time, and I have no problems about moves to protect these people. But these are in the minority of those hit by penalty charges. Many people reclaiming charges are living comfortable lifestyles with many luxuries like new cars and foreign holidays, and are living irresponsibly close to the limit of what they can afford.
One forum correspondent observed that it was difficult to know what charge would end up on your credit card statement when spending abroad. This is a false premise for many reasons: credit limits are limits, not targets. It’s obviously difficult a to work out a foreign currency transaction to the penny, but it’s actually fairly easy to come up with a rough figure based on the prevailing tourist rate. Allowing a few percent margin of error for the commission, plus leaving a safety margin at the top of your credit card and you should be fine. Or even, unreasonable of me to suggest it I know, ring your credit card company up and ask them what the charges are for foreign transactions, so you only need worry about the exchange rate. Another holidaymaker observed he went overdrawn while abroad because it was impossible to check his balance. Er- no it isn’t. Check your balance before you go and keep a tally. And if you are on a foreign trip 10 to 1 you earn enough to apply for an authorised overdraft just in case.
Banks allow limits higher than a few months salary, so if you’re treating your credit limit as a target rather than a buffer, it’s your own fault. And set up your overdraft before you need it if you want to avoid an “unauthorised overdraft charge”.
While I would be pleased that a number of vulnerable people will benefit from the anti-charges revolution, I can’t help feeling the biggest noises in this controversy are not from that section of society, but people who could avoid charges if they gave their finances a moments thought. People who suffer charges not through circumstances, but through irresponsibility and for whom charges are their just desserts. So largely speaking, the responsible will suffer, and the irresponsible will be in the majority of those that gain.
Hot on the heels of my comments about leaders on a big camp, comes analysis from the Childrens Society showing that we are becoming more risk phobic as a nation.
The report suggests that children who aren’t allowed out of their parent’s sight before they are teenaged end up suffering and lacking in judgement.
The BBC comments page is a familiar picture. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, people are still asserting that today’s world is a much more dangerous place than the one they grew up in. It’s only more dangerous because people are getting ever more unable to judge risk.
It’s often asserted that even though a risk is not proved, it’s better to be on the safe side and guard against it. Risk assessment is seen by some as the act of eliminating, rather than sensibly controlling risk.
Worrying disproportionately about specific, unproven risks, far from keeping people safe, puts us in danger, by diverting attention away from a general awareness of the world around us.
Letting children get muddy and bruised helps them develop an awareness that will stop them getting seriously hurt in their teenage and adult life.
I do have the odd incisive post here. I often take a tack that few people have noticed, that may be only obliquely related to the zeitgeist, but many of the things I discuss still nonetheless important issues.
Some of this goes over peoples heads because I refuse to be patronising and take a shallower approach to my topics. Well, you can choose to change in order to get on, but I’m not currently heading for blog stardom, so for now I don’t see any benefit in compromising my moral values.
Just doing a job for a friend who’s looking for a new laptop. Asked round the office about where to get a laptop, and all courusd the same supplier. Which I won’t name, as this is not about them.
I’m currently getting to grips with the website of a competitior. The recommendation being that they are on the high street, and although the general low level of technical knowledge leads them to give over simplified explainations, they do sell good quality kit and aren’t likely to be here one day and gone the next.
The frustrating thing is that in order not to baffle and scare off some buyers with too much jargon, they’ve replaced technical terms with exciting marketing language. The worst culprit being a “Super Multi Dual Layer Drive”. I prefered the jargon! This term isn’t explained anywhere in the jargon buster (because it’s marketing speak, not jargon) so instead of a term some people won’t understand, we have one that no-one will understand.
Yeah I know I can get a bit irritable and picky.
However my vacuum cleaner has gone kaput- the brushes don’t go round.
So having been busy all yesterday I left work after the Vac Shop had closed. So I went to the retail park where Currys and Comet reside. Looked round and found there were no drive belts- the only consumables being. The annyance being that when I asked for a drive belt the supervisor acted as if I’d asked for some obscure spare like a motor or switch, he even said we don’t stock spares. But to me a drive belt for a vaccuum cleaner is a consumable. Not a spare.
It doesn’t help that the design of the vaccuum has been made so that the drive belt is not easily replaced by a regular person. so what was once a consumable is now only replaceable by the more extreme user, not everyone of a normal technical competence.