Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

We seem to live in a society where there is no such thing as an accident. Fire, flood, natural disaster, shipwreck - you name it and someone is to blame. It may be an individual an organisation or simply our favourite group ‘They’.

I don’t know about you but I make mistakes and errors of judgement. It may be as simple as dropping a glass when
Broken Glass
I am washing up, scraping the car door on a bollard or taking the wrong turning in the car. Fortunately, as yet, I haven’t made the sort of dire mistake where someone is hurt or it makes the news headlines. Wherever you look, stuff happens, things get damaged and destroyed, people get hurt and killed.

Let’s take the recent storms where hundreds of people were flooded, with furniture and personal belongings destroyed. Two residents of a village which had been inundated were interviewed on TV. It went, more or less, like this. A woman, understandably distraught, standing amongst the wreckage if her living room with mud covering everything including a clothes airer full of newly washed clothes. She felt
‘They’ were to blame for not building more effective flood protection.

A man, owner of a small village shop, was asked if he was insured "No, we were flooded thirteen years ago and insurance went up to £1,000 a year. So I put £1,000 aside each year and when there is a flood warning I work like stink to get as much as I can upstairs. This lot will cost about £3,000 so in one way I suppose I am in pocket!". When asked "Do you think
‘They’ did enough with flood defences?".

Flood Bridge
Look, it hasn’t rained like this for thirteen years. I believe thirty million has been spent on flood defences round here. The excess water has to go somewhere. If we spent another hundred million and stopped our fields and villages being flooded, it would carry on down stream and some other poor beggars would cop it" The interviewer didn’t spend much time with him because he didn’t seem to want to blame anyone.

Where does the blame culture come from? I think it has a lot to do with lawyers, also a belief that money will make everything better. As an example of legal fees. The families of those killed in the
Hillsborough disaster had taxpayer-funded legal fees in excess of £63m between December 2012 and June 2016. Would it be cynical to suggest that as well as a desire for justice, compensation was also a consideration?

Of the £63.6m cost for representing the victims' families, £34.3m went to the firm Birnberg Peirce while Broudie Jackson Canter received £19.8m. My primitive maths suggest that had that money been shared between the 96 families, they would each have received over £66k. Would that have made things better?

Legal advice

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