... or "Diminished Responsibilities". We are blessed in this quiet corner of County Diplo with a generous smattering of fine churches and it seems that local pressure for the introduction of yet another rash of ill-conceived signage is endangering our enjoyment of one more. The approach over the causeway across the flood plane to the South of the village of Fotheringhay offers what has long been at the top of my list of the best church-scapes in the country - somewhat blighted now as can be seen here. The bridge we are being warned about is indeed narrow but by no means invisible so I simply do not appreciate the need for the sign. Over the years there have been accidents here but surely the bridge was not at fault, some people simply can't drive properly, have no concept of speed, no spacial awareness or have failed to think about what they are doing. Quite apart from aesthetic and environmental concerns over road signage I have another, far more serious beef - I believe we have an ever increasing bulk of the population who can't think for themselves and in producing all this guidance we are only encouraging them to switch off. There is an argument that we need to point out hazards to idiots but conversely it has to be said that the more we direct, the more we diminish responsibility. At the West end of Diploville there is a quiet primary school, just inside the 30mph speed limit, it goes without saying that when some half-sharp double glazing rep flattens a five year old who carelessly steps between parked cars at school-out time, his defence will be that he was "only doing 30 - that's the speed thing in'it ...". No comfort really to those scraping bits of bloodied grey flannel shorts and satchel off the tarmac. Quite obviously the driver's at fault even if " ..he just came from nowhere, jumped out he did..." - however the local authority have absolved him of all responsibility by telling him it's ok to drive at thirty.
I was interested to hear the discussions taking place on the wireless over the weekend around the decision to require parents accompanying children from a Cambridgeshire school on a short walk to some event to be CRB checked ! A few things'll result from this - volunteers with a criminal record may be deterred from helping, child molestators and other unsavories who've been clever enough not to have been caught will be happy, the school will be absolved of all responsibility because they've done their bit and the children will be at no more or less risk than they were visiting the un-CRB checked priest for tea and cakes after mass - marvelous. To go back to the narrow bridge - not many people have ever had a head-on collision with a closing speed of 60mph, many of those that have will not have survived, many that survived will have expressed surprise that their obligatory seat belt didn't stop them getting a bloodied nose, some will have sued the car manufacturer and no doubt some will have sued the local authority for not telling them that a 10ft wide bridge is not wide enough for two cars to pass. None of the above should concern us in the least - remove those who can't drive, read a map, change a wheel etc etc from the road, we could then get rid of all the signs, there'd be more pleasure in driving for those of us that can and we'd be able to enjoy some of our splendid countryside without bright red and yellow aluminium scars. MORE ACCOUNTABILITY !