Nanny State

 EXAMPLES of how we have all become victims of the Nanny State are legion and I’ve come across a few more champions of corporate stupidity.

A national supermarket was up there with the best, printing this caution on its peanuts – “Warning: contains nuts” – while more ink was wasted by a certain chemist warning on their children’s cough medicine: “Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medicine”!

Another High Street outlet also offered useful advice on their bread pudding that “Product will be hot after heating” while who could argue with another national concern which warned on its hair dryer packaging “Do not use while sleeping”.

Equally useful was the advice from a national company selling irons “Do not iron clothes on body”….presumably because you will crease up with laughter.

Other gems included a national sleep aid which alerted “Warning: May cause drowsiness” and Christmas lights which stressed they were for indoor or outdoor use only!

International corporate brains would also appear to need oiling with advice on a Japanese food processor cautioning “Not to be used for the other use” while an American airline helped passengers enjoy their packet of nuts by advising “Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts”!

It was almost a given that a child’s Superman costume should caution “Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly”, but my personal favourite piece of advice is this.

It was on a Swedish chainsaw and it read: “Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals”!

Just thinking about it makes me wince but surely someone somewhere should have given it the once over before going public with such glaringly obvious gaffes.

There have been a few local efforts, one I saw repeated several times being “Closed because of snow”, a landscape carpeted in white apparently not being enough of a giveaway.

Other rib-ticklers I have found include “Caution: Water on road during rain” or “Illiterate? Write for free help” and how about, “Soccer not allowed. Soccer may only be played on the archery range.”

Other gems include “Do not enter: Entrance only” and, believe it or not, “Sign not in use”.

If I come across any more I’ll let you know.

Valentine’s Day

 VALENTINE’S Day is nearly on us and shoppers are being beguiled by love messages from a host of shops.

Such displays are an emotional minefield for men because woe betide them if their wife or girlfriend doesn’t get one card she can sigh over.

No card and that sigh is exchanged for the sort of frosty breakfast table atmosphere last experienced by Captain Oates as he bravely told his doomed polar companions: “I am just going outside and may be some time.”

This portrayal of a brave man deliberately sacrificing his own life to give Captain Scott and the rest of his friends a better chance of surviving is, of course, ludicrously wide of the truth.

The reality is that Oates suddenly realised he hadn’t sent his loved one a Valentine card and that his life wouldn’t be worth living when he got home, so why not end it now.

For an occasion allegedly garnished with tender feelings there are some notoriously dangerous female remarks for us men to watch out for and here are a couple of them.

“Don’t get me a card. They’re way too expensive.” Never fall for this or you will be accused of being a despicable skinflint who values her less than a cheap piece of paper.

“Let’s not bother with cards this year.” A favourite ploy here. If you take her at her word and don’t get her a card then a year at the dentist will seem like child’s play compared to the year you will be facing.

Yes, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…even if she told you to scorn her.

Naturally everything changes if she gets more than one Valentine card because then the man is not allowed to ask where these other love tokens have come from because he will fobbed off with a remark that it is “just a bit of fun”.

So, gentlemen, be on your guard and follow my advice. If she says she doesn’t expect a card then respect that wish….but keep a signed Valentine “To my bunny wunny” handy just in case.

Referendum on Europe

So we are all going to be offered a chance to vote on whether we stay in Europe or come out of the EU are we?

As with so many promises made by so many politicians, it seems to be a case of jam tomorrow.

David Cameron produced some stirring words to tell us all that he wants first to renegotiate this country’s relationship with Europe and, having done so, will give the electorate a chance to express their wishes via a simple “yes-no” vote on staying in the EU.

Well, the vote may appear simple but nothing else does.

For a start, before we can all vote on our destiny we must all consider voting Conservative, or enough of us to get the Tories re-elected in 2015 because there will be no referendum if they’re beaten.

That’s because Labour leader Ed Miliband lost no time in making it crystal clear that there would be no such vote if Labour won the next general election.

He had scarcely said that than his own party fired the first bewildering shot in this saga by shooting him in the foot!

Specifically, he had barely finished speaking before his own party’s advisors were hastily putting a different interpretation on what he’d said, claiming he had not ruled out any possibility of a referendum vote.

So barely a few hours into this political porridge we already have one leader saying one thing and his party apparently saying another.

Miliband accused Cameron of making his clarion call not for the good of the country but because he had been dragged to it by his party, amusingly paralleled by Miliband who claimed to be making his remarks for the good of the country only to be hauled back by his party!

If this has made matters a little misty then we’re all likely to be stumbling about in a veritable peasouper by the time this runs its course.

And what a course that promises to be because, even if the Tories get back in, Cameron said it was likely to be the thick end of five years before a referendum is held.

Personally I feel that one of the key issues has to be the reins of power.

Europe now has a disturbingly large say in our daily lives with the Government of this country finding its powers chipped away at by the continent on an almost daily basis.

That and the pros and cons of trade links and finance will be the battleground.

Weymouth has had its fair share of problems with the faceless gnomes who try to lay down European law from Brussels.

They are just so irritating, convinced that they are the hub of the universe round which we should all revolve.

Bureaucracy is their hallmark and their long-winded pronouncements are usually issued with the sort of misguided reverence reserved for Jeremy Clarkson.

So it was nice to see them get their come-uppance in a recent table of succinctness.

It was pointed out that the Pythagorean theorem only took 24 words, that the Lord’s Prayer is only 66 words, Archimedes’ Principle 67 words, the Ten Commandments just 179 words and the Gettysburg address a mere 286 words.

Even the US Declaration of Independence at 1,300 words and the entire US Constitution with all 27 amendments at 7,818 words are not overly long for the magnitude of the message they convey.

So what world-shattering document took those majestic wordsmiths at the EU a staggering 26,911 words to express?

Well…… was regulations on the sale of cabbage. Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it, and time to leave the EU if you ask me.