Anorak News | Plain Nuts

Plain Nuts

by | 7th, October 2004

‘YOU can hear the click-clack of typewriter ribbons being worn to shreds as enraged people respond to the Mail’s invitation to “vent your spleen on this barmy conkers ban”.

‘Now to draw and quarter the bastard’

This is, is it not, a clear case of some form of “political correctness gone mad”, “fat bureaucracy”, a “nanny state” suffocating the children in their playroom.

“It beggars belief.”

In sum, it is a massive overreaction to the idea that the many children who nowadays suffer from nut allergies can be damaged if they come into contact with a horse chestnut.

Despite a lack of evidence that any child has ever suffered by merely rubbing up against a shelled conker, schools like Bookwell Primary in Egremont, Cumbria, have banned the conker.

“We have some children with severe nut allergies and children have been told not to bring conkers in,” says headmaster Gary Postlethwaite.

Headmistress Chris Marshall of Ivy Lane Primary in Chippenham, Wilts, concurs.

“We have a pupil with really severe reactions to nuts, conkers are related to nuts and are therefore completely banned from the school,” says she.

All very valid, but the case is most succinctly put by Veronica O’Grady, headmistress of Menstrie Primary, near Stirling.

“The ban was enforced after we took advice from a dietician,” says she. “When you are talking about children’s lives you cannot be too careful.”

Quite so.

So, as we reported earlier in the week, children in Cummersdale School, Cumbria, are only allowed to play conkers if they wear protective goggles.

And today we hear the Sun’s news that Jan Corlett, head of Hayton Church of England School, wants her charges to wear gloves to protect their fingers from the ravages of conker abuse.

Another school in South Shields had gone to the source of the problem and lopped off the branches from a row of conker trees – to prevent children climbing them and possibly falling out and killing themselves or someone walking a small terrier beneath.

You cannot be too careful, and the Sun’s graphic of “ROBO CONK” – a picture of a young conker gladiator in hard hat, breathing mask, goggles, gloves, body armour and kneepads – surely points to the way ahead.

It’s pretty clear that these conkers are the epitome of pure evil. And if we had our way, they’d be strung up from the nearest tree.

As lifelong Mail reader John Bull puts it: “Hanging really is too good for them.”’

Posted: 7th, October 2004 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink