I haven’t blogged much about the looming crisis in the EU primarily because I don’t know what to say. It seems completely out of our hands. The latest is that a deal will be made to preserve the union and bail out the PIIGS. If I were running the place, I’d probably combine the two solutions: pay the PIIGS to leave the EU until they get their houses in order.
However, maybe the European Union does need to go the way of the dodo:
The EU toy safety directive, agreed and implemented by Government, states that balloons must not be blown up by unsupervised children under the age of eight, in case they accidentally swallow them and choke.
Despite having been popular favourites for generations of children, party games including whistles and magnetic fishing games are to be banned because their small parts or chemicals used in making them are decreed to be too risky.
Apparently harmless toys that children have enjoyed for decades are now regarded by EU regulators as posing an unacceptable safety risk.
Whistle blowers, that scroll out into a a long coloured paper tongue when sounded – a party favourite at family Christmas meals – are now classed as unsafe for all children under 14.
The new rules are designed to protect children from the chance that a piece of the whistle could be swallowed and cause choking.
Really, I can’t say it better than Lenore Skenazy:
This is not to discount the suffering of any family that has experienced this unlikely tragedy. But if the chance that something terrible COULD happen is going to be (and apparently is) our new standard for what to outlaw, we will have to outlaw stairs (children could fall), cars (for obvious reasons), pets (kids could trip), chairs (kids can fall off, tip backwards, choke on a bite of the seat cushion, impale themselves on the legs — you name it). The fact is, there is a small amount of danger present in everything on earth, and if that means that now we insist kids can not be around any of it unless supervised, we are really just saying we don’t want kids to be unsupervised, ever.
Here in America, the number of children who choke to death on balloons was 4 in 1998, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Considering there are about 32,000,000 children age 8 and under, we are talking about 1 death in 8 million. That’s an outcome that is, thankfully, very rare
So let’s bring this all home, shall we? Even the biggest optimist would concede that the EU has huge challenges in its future — an aging population, sub-replacement level fertility rates, a big welfare state, immigration, corrupt PIIGS governments. And the EU is insisting that the best people to deal with these future challenges is a generation of Europeans so swaddled from birth to adulthood, so encased in bubble wrap, so protected from even the most minuscule danger that a fucking party balloon sends them shrieking into their beds.
Oh, yeah, this is going to really well.
(PS – Here’s how to raise the money to bail out the PIIGS: get a nickel every time a Brit says, “thank God we’re not on the Euro.”)