Sticks and stones may break my bones…

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

RE­MEM­BER where you were this day – the day the world fi­nally dis­ap­peared up its own fun­da­ment.

The thought po­lice have fi­nally found the straw to break the camel’s back by in­sist­ing on tak­ing their nanny state into the school play­ground.

Now, they want to ban ‘names’.

On the face of it, the de­sire to ban name-call­ing cer­tainly does have some merit.

No-one likes a bully, and get­ting called some­thing you’d pre­fer not to be – I en­dured a pri­mary school of ‘ Dumbo’ thanks to my ridicu­lous lugs – can be quite un­pleas­ant.

But you can’t change peo­ple. You can’t change hu­man be­hav­iour.

And as the world where the grown-ups live can be a pretty un­for­giv­ing place at the best of times, surely the best way to pre­pare our fu­ture adults for it is to ex­pose them to some of its rough and tum­ble.

In those ‘Dumbo’ years, the school­yard scan­dal of the day was the ban­ning of a game called ‘Bri­tish bull­dog’.

From mem­ory it in­volved a load of kids run­ning from one end of the play­ground to the other while try­ing to dodge would-be cap­tors in the mid­dle.

Some­times, if they caught you, you’d go fly­ing and scrape a knee. So in came the nan­nies to ban what was by and large a fit­ness-in­duc­ing pas­time.

Ban­ning run­ning games was as daft as ban­ning name-call­ing.

Sure, keep an eye on it, don’t let things get out of hand. But for Christ sakes, let the poor bloody kids be kids! IT can’t be much fun work­ing in a steel mill right now – where jobs are dis­ap­pear­ing from the industry faster than sunny days.

The lat­est to fall vic­tim are 1,200 Tata Steel work­ers, who learned on Tues­day that their posts were be­ing axed at plants in Scun­thorpe and La­nark­shire.

Firms blame this on high elec­tric­ity prices in the UK for such en­ergy-in­ten­sive busi­nesses, com­pounded by the ex­tra cost of cli­mate change poli­cies.

The gov­ern­ment’s poli­cies to com­pen­sate steel firms for such ex­tra costs have been com­ing in too slowly, they say.

There are also al­le­ga­tions the Chi­nese steel industry has been sell­ing steel in the UK at un­re­al­is­ti­cally low prices – ef­fec­tively “dump­ing” cheap steel on our mar­ket.

And the EU is un­usu­ally strict about state aid to iron and steel com­pa­nies. Al­ways there to help, that lot…

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