What conclusion, if any, should we draw from the fact that 11 out of the 12 men to have walked on the moon had been members of the Boy Scouts movement?
Well, at least two: firstly, that Boy Scouts have traditionally had a sense of adventure; and secondly, that adventure generally involves risk and, often, danger.
But because of Health & Safety legislation coupled with the country’s increasingly litigious culture, we have arrived at a point where organisations and local councils now do anything and everything they can to avoid ending up in court.
So how refreshing to see that a leading health and safety body has called for a much-needed return to “basic common sense”.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) has said that people should be able to get on with activities – such as hill walking and mowing their lawns – and children able to play traditional playground games – tag, conkers and British Bulldog – without fears of falling foul of the law.
Tom Mullarkey, the Rospa chief executive, says that although there are of course areas where strict health and safety rules are needed – for example, the nuclear and aviation industries – people should be given sufficient information to make their own judgments about taking in any particular activity.
Mr Mullarkey goes on to say that “absolute safety is, frankly, impossible” and that the constant quest to have it in each and every situation “should be abandoned”.
So, let’s give three cheers for this public-spirited official and his commendable common sense contribution, not least in the hope that it will lead, in turn, to fewer “jobsworth” characters interfering unnecessarily in the way we go about our lives.
Even so, it remains doubtful whether his thoughtful advice has yet reached Mr Keith Gill, the chief housing officer at Gosford Council in Hampshire, who has told local council tenants they cannot have doormats outside their homes because “they are a health and safety risk”.
Oh, dear. As someone once said, a billion pounds here, a billion pounds there – soon we’ll be talking serious money.
But whoever it was, it certainly wasn’t Sir Fred Goodwin who, two weeks ago in this column, I wrongly accused of being the man who led HBOS down the wrong financial path but even so had been given a £60,000 a month consultancy by LloydsTSB, the new owners of HBOS, to oversee the sacking of 20,000 of his former employees.
Sorry, Sir Fred, I named the wrong man. It is Andy Hornby whose hand was at the tiller of HBOS and who has come up smelling of roses with the LloydsTSB consultancy.
Meanwhile, Fred Goodwin has been given £300,000 to stay on as chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland for three months to oversee the handover of his beleaguered bank to a successor.
As I said at the time, nice work if you can get it.