Wednesday, 4 April 2012



Sunday, 01 April 2012

Another tumultuous week for the government and its citizens with yet more allegations for the government to deal with. Panic buying at petrol stations across the country and George Galloway returning to politics with victory in the Bradford West by-election. But one story stood out to me this week and set me thinking about how we in society deal with responsibility. The story is one most of you will be familiar with, it is of a York woman. Diane Hill who suffered 40% burns after de-canting petrol in her kitchen whilst the cooker was on:

and this has seen calls for the Cabinet Officer minister Francis Maude to resign over advice he issued telling the public to stock up on petrol in jerry cans.

Now I will firstly say that in no way am I going to say that what Diane Hill suffered was not horrific and I am not going to make a joke out of the accident because it is not a joke. What concerns me is where the blame of who is responsible for this accident lies and who is to blame.

But where does the blame for this accident lie and who with? Is it right to blame a government minister, who admittedly gave out wrong information, but would also assume that anybody taking this advice would use some common sense and when dealing with petrol would do so in a room that is well ventilated and away from lit flames.

Surely the blame and responsibility for this accident lies with the individual who was de-canting petrol in her kitchen, on a warm day and whilst the cooker was on? To myself the individual in this instance has to take the blame for their actions and any responsibility for the aftermath of this horrific accident.

My reasoning behind this is in my early socialisation. I was brought up in an era when you did take responsibility for your actions and if you hurt yourself, as I did many times as a young child, then it was my fault and nobody else’s. If I fell over and cut myself because I was running, then surely it is my fault that has happened and not the fault of my parents, the police, the council, the government of anybody else, and I feel that the same applies here. The information giving out was only on storing and not on de-canting petrol. The woman doing the de-canting should have used some common sense as to where to do it.

But to get back to my original point and where the blame lies with this accident, to be fair to the woman we haven’t heard anything from her as of yet and therefore do no know where she feels the blame lies. The accusations so far have come from Labour politicians, so it could also be assumed that the woman is merely a pawn in a far larger political game of points scoring and one-upmanship, and the accident may have happened anyway because we do not enough about her or her lifestyle and it just happened at the right time for the warring political parties.

And this seems to be endemic in the society we are living in today. Rather than people taking responsibility for their own actions first, people look to blame others be it friends, colleagues, government and even nature for anything that happens to them these days, instead of looking at themselves first and saying “what did I do wrong?”

Is it any wonder we seem to live in a society that is so selfish and people are out to simply get what they can? The rise of Claims Management companies who will get you money because you didn’t take the necessary precautions to ensure that you and the equipment you are using are safe and up to standard is symptomatic of this society we are creating. And now politicians are getting involved by insinuating that we can now blame pretty much anyone, however tenuous the link, to any mishap we have. Does this mean that if you have a crash on the motorway you can now blame the Highways Agency? Or if you go too fast round a corner in wet conditions and crash into a tree, you can now blame your local council for not predicting this situation and removing the tree?

I firmly believe that people need to take more responsibility for their own actions and not look for others to blame when something goes wrong. By taking responsibility lessons will be learned and passed on to the next generation rather than turning to Claims Management companies and looking to pass the blame.

All comments and opinions in this blog are entirely my own. Please feel free to add your own comments and ask questions.

Thank you for reading my blog J

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