A blog like this shouldn't do politics. But when politics pushes its idiotic jobsworth foot into the door of a simple hobby that has preceded happy, unhindered and harming no one for a good 70 + years it's probably time to push back.
This morning I went to my local Royal Mail Post Office to post a couple of parcels here in the UK. Surprisingly I was asked to "declare" what they contained and given a leaflet - four pages - of "prohibited and restricted items". Formal customs declarations are required for international posting but this is the first time I have been asked to "declare" the content of domestic parcels. Well, sadly we already know what the British government thinks about respecting "its" citizens personal privacy so why shouldn't I have to sing out the content of my parcels in front of the whole post office? At least I don't have to complete a form the size of a book - yet - a type of documentation that every "agency" in the UK now seems to enjoy proliferating. A couple of months ago I was made aware that enamel paints - solvent based paints - were going to be restricted with a maximum amount allowed through the post and specific packaging requirements. The Royal Mail leaflet makes it clear that no amount is allowed to be posted - domestically or internationally - via their services. And this is confirmed at the Royal Mail's own website.
Those little teeny tins of Humbrol paint that have been mail ordered with kits by small hobby shops and retailers for decades, without to the best of my knowledge ever causing any danger to anyone, are now banned from being posted in our ordinary mail. The leaflet requires safe posting to comply with national and international regulations (without specifying which ones) because the Royal Mail wants "to ensure the mail is safe for everyone" (pass the sick bag). It is always that kind of emotive appeal that is used to justify these nanny government sledgehammers as they crush our nuts. Risk aversion couldn't get much more risk averse. The cynic in me wonders where it will stop and the same cynic answers that it probably won't. It won't as long as Too Many Politicians suffocate us with regulation, more regulation and yet more regulation - all for our own good of course. With increasing numbers of people earning lucrative salaries and gold-plated pensions churning this stuff out day after day, in Brussels, in Westminster and even in local council offices, there is a vested interest in building empires, extending their control and proliferating red tape. And the sad irony is that it is ordinary taxpayers who fund most of the multi-tiered government "agencies" who tell them what they can and can't do in increasing areas of their once private lives.
Small retail and mail order businesses are most affected by this nonsense as they now have to send the teeny tiny tins of enamel paint by courier and pass on the additional cost of doing so to their customers, the ordinary taxpayers. This must especially affect those businesses whose main product is paint. How much business activity is suppressed by these unbelievably stupid and inflexible regulations? Big business can defray costs by bulk shipment - small businesses have to rely on the loyalty and perseverance of their customers. This nonsense doesn't contribute to a free and vibrant economy - it hinders it, but the taxpayer funded jobsworths who churn this stuff out don't have to compete in a free market - they get paid anyway. And the two things of which there is no shortage in nannied Britain is official stupidity and the projectile vomiting of red tape. You can find them both everywhere, usually hand in hand and spoiling your day.
I haven't finished with the Royal Mail yet. . .