Friday, 12 March 2010

Mail creates a new health and safety myth

Here's a classic Mail headline:

A two-hundred-year-old British tradition ruined by 'health and safety killjoys'? It's a Mail wet dream:

One of the UK's oldest traditional events has been killed off this year after falling victim to health and safety concerns.

But, as usual with such stories, it's not entirely accurate.

Yes, this year's race at Cooper's Hill in Gloucester has been cancelled. But:

The organisers of the Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake regret to announce that the 2010 event has been cancelled.

The attendance at the event has far outgrown the location where it has traditionally been held for several hundred years: last year more than 15,000 people tried to attend (according to official estimates) which is more than three times the capacity of the site.

So the organisers cancelled it. Not 'health and safety killjoys' then?

And it's nothing to do with the actual cheese-roll race itself, which the Mail seems to imply.

While quoting some of the comments left on the Committee's blog, they ignore some of the others. Such as:

Being another committee bloke can we just make it clear here that the police, council or hse do not organise the cheese roll, nor have they stopped it. We the committee organise the event and now that we have the support and help of the council and police, we WILL continue to do so.

Not 'health and safety killjoys' then?

Another committee member says:

Last year the roads around the site were blocked for miles, visitors' cars were abandoned everywhere when traffic stopped flowing and many were then vandalised.

Not 'health and safety killjoys' then?

In their official statement, they say:

The organisers are working with the local Authorities and Police to control numbers which will enhance:

- crowd safety

- respect for the local community

- emergency vehicle access

- traffic flow on local and trunk roads

Unlike many of the commentators on the Mail website, I have been to Cooper's Hill and it's a very awkward place to get to, along some very narrow roads. Given that accidents and injuries do happen, access is important.

And how many Mail readers would appreciate roads around where they live being 'blocked for miles' by outsiders?

Although the Mail moderators have let through quite a few comments which point out the headline and article are wrong, there are still plenty of mindless, frothing, ignorant outbursts.

'Best' of the lot? This cracker:


  1. It's got 4 positive ratings! Who are these people?

  2. For the sake of the humanity, sanity and this country, let's hope Vicky from Bristol never procreates.

  3. I find it equally depressing if:-

    (i) people simply read the headline and post something without actually reading the damn story all the way through or...
    (ii) People have read it and either choose to deliberately misinterpret or just don't understand.

    There was another classic where someone had done a survey about kids wanting a job, lots of money etc without having to work hard. The depressing thing was how many people commented on McBroon, Broken Britain...and didn't notice that the survey was actually done in the US. The DM deliberately contributed to this confusion by talking of Thatcher's Children.

    As I said thoroughly depressing how many thick people are out there.

  4. 99% of the people reading about this story will be convinced its been cancelled due to PC "health & safety" rules.

    The Mail's work is done no matter what the truth is.

  5. It reads like something in Letterbocks - can;t trust these comments any more, they are beyond parody!

  6. I have submitted all sorts of comments to the Mail, Times online et al about the accuracy of articles and quality of journalism and - surprise surprise - none were printed. So, just for a laugh, I posted one with the most moronic, half-baked comment about "Brown's Britain" - you guessed it...printed.


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