What horrors! Bleach!

A story for the “What is the world coming to?” files. It appears that minors, mere children, can go into a shop and buy bleach in England. This is, as we’re all entirely aware, such a disgrace that all such corrosive liquids must be kept under lock and key immediately. Or something:

A schoolgirl was able to buy bleach from London shops, despite retailers agreeing to prevent sales of corrosive substances to children amid a spate of acid attacks, an investigation has revealed.

BBC’s 5 Live Investigates was present during an undercover sting led by Newham Council and the Metropolitan Police this week, in which a 14-year-old girl was able to buy bottles of household cleaning bleach from three out of five high street retailers in Newham.

The London borough had been dubbed the “acid attack capital of Britain” in reports after Met Police figures showed it had the highest rates of attacks in the UK.

The Government is currently reviewing the regulation of sales of corrosive substances.

Retailers are currently being encouraged to sign up to voluntarily self-regulate sales of corrosive substances to minors.

There’re the odd one or two technical points to make here. Bleach isn’t fun to get on the skin, true, but it’s not anything like an “acid”. For a start, it’s alkaline, the very opposite of acid, secondly the purities and strengths sold in those gallon and more bottles aren’t enough to do significant physical damage unless used directly into the eyes and not washed for some time. So, you know, regulatory over reach and all that.

There’s also the point to be made about the business itself. A quick visit to a supermarket will show a number of brands, each offering a number of variations, adding up in toto to an entire shelf or two of the stuff. Controlling who purchases something so widely available really isn’t going to be all that easy – even if it were something we’d wish to do. We’d also not be all that keen on dumping the cost of doing the policing upon the grocery stores. Such costs will be reflected in the prices everyone will pay for everything else.

But the real danger is here:

The results of the sting caused alarm, with Newham Council demanding the Government urgently bring forward legislation to introduce a total ban on the sale of corrosive liquids to children, 5 Live reports.

That danger being the regulatory two step. Cook up some cod reason why this or that should have some voluntary restrictions upon it. Salt in crisps, fat in pizzas, bleach to kiddies, take your pick of whatever manias you wish to consider. Note that the voluntary regulations aren’t followed by all – obviously, that’s the point of their being voluntary, that people can choose – or that they’re a bit leaky and then insist that legislation, banning, the criminal law, be used.

You can’t, from a standing start, get people sent to jail for adding salt to crisps. But you can if you start with “voluntary” regulation which then morphs, because it is ineffective, into a legal ban. That’s what the danger is here.

This isn’t about bleach and kiddies at all, this is about the anal retentive prodnoses who would regulate every corner of society. Not because of, not because of anything in fact, but just because. The freedom of 8 year olds to buy bog cleaner is a pretty shallow ditch to die in but at some point we’re going to have to fix bayonets against the regulators.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. This isn’t about bleach and kiddies at all, this is about the anal retentive prodnoses who would regulate every corner of society.

    There are only two figures you need to know about Newham. One is that of the 60 local councilors, 59 of them are Labour. The other one used to be a member of the Labour Party until kicked out for bullying. The other figure is that Newham is 16% Whitre British.

    We have let an enormous number of people from Third World countries into this country and now we have a problem. Acid throwing – not a traditional British pastime but commonly found in places like Jamaica and Pakistan – is now common in London. The problem is that there is nothing we can do to improve outcomes for these people. Education does not work – we have tried everything and everything has failed. Welfare is not helping. Policing is impossible because large sections of these communities do not consent to be policed. So what is to be done?

    That means I don’t think this is just about anal personality types. The people of Newham voted 100% for the Labour Party and the local Labour Party now has to find a solution. They could blame the people of Newham but that might mean they would lose the next election. So they had better blame no one specifically. The system is at fault. Institutional Shopping or something. The Tories and Fatcher perhaps.

    What else can they do? It is better to blame Tories than Labour voters. Best of all, imposing rules on communities that do not consent to be policed is hard. Impossible even. So it is easier to impose rules on those who will obey them. White British shop keepers for instance or at least White British manufacturers. They won’t kick the sh!t out of you if you come around with some rude questions.

    The voters demand they do something. So they have done something. It won’t work of course but no one is demanding a solution. That would involve jailing young Labour voters. A pointless gesture is called for.

    • “Welfare is not helping”? Welfare is hurting; entitlements are independent of misbehavior and teach about a world where you don’t have to be civil to get fed well. A misbehaving teen is a larger caseload for the social worker, which down the line translates to a higher budget. But I agree, it will be worked out with a pointless gesture. Line up the teenage “clients” and have them wail, in their best Parkland Florida accent, “Don’t I have the RIGHT to a day without bleach attacks? Please? PLEEEEZE?”

  2. You can’t buy castor oil over the counter now, because some people apparently think it works as an abortifacient. Solution is to buy it over the internet with *no* checks & wait a few days for it to be delivered. It’s just a stupid rule that doesn’t solve the problem & gets in the way of legitimate users. Why did I want castor oil? It’s great at discouraging moles (esp. if you add a bit of that extra hot chilli sauce).

  3. ‘Controlling who purchases something so widely available really isn’t going to be all that easy – even if it were something we’d wish to do.’

    Good post, Tim. This is a metaphor for gun control in the U.S.

    There are 150,000,000 guns in the U.S. Some say 300,000,000. Any adult who is not locked up can get a gun. Gun control weighs only on the law abiding.

    “But we must do something!” The Left awaits tragedies so they can “do something.”

    ‘You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.’ – Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, Murder Capital USA

  4. This isn’t about bleach and kiddies at all, this is about the anal retentive prodnoses who would regulate every corner of society.

    There are only two figures you need to know about Newham. One is that of the 60 local councilors, 59 of them are Labour. The other one used to be a member of the Labour Party until kicked out for bullying. The other figure is that Newham is 16% Whitre British.

    We have let an enormous number of people from Third World countries into this country and now we have a problem. Acid throwing – not a traditional British pastime but commonly found in places like Jamaica and Pakistan – is now common in London. The problem is that there is nothing we can do to improve outcomes for these people. Education does not work – we have tried everything and everything has failed. Welfare is not helping. Policing is impossible because large sections of these communities do not consent to be policed. So what is to be done?

    That means I don’t think this is just about anal personality types. The people of Newham voted 100% for the Labour Party and the local Labour Party now has to find a solution. They could blame the people of Newham but that might mean they would lose the next election. So they had better blame no one specifically. The system is at fault. Institutional Shopping or something. The Tories and Fatcher perhaps.

    What else can they do? It is better to blame Tories than Labour voters. Best of all, imposing rules on communities that do not consent to be policed is hard. Impossible even. So it is easier to impose rules on those who will obey them. White British shop keepers for instance or at least White British manufacturers. They won’t kick the sh!t out of you if you come around with some rude questions.

    The voters demand they do something. So they have done something. It won’t work of course but no one is demanding a solution. That would involve jailing young Labour voters. A pointless gesture is called for.

    • “Welfare is not helping”? Welfare is hurting; entitlements are independent of misbehavior and teach about a world where you don’t have to be civil to get fed well. A misbehaving teen is a larger caseload for the social worker, which down the line translates to a higher budget. But I agree, it will be worked out with a pointless gesture. Line up the teenage “clients” and have them wail, in their best Parkland Florida accent, “Don’t I have the RIGHT to a day without bleach attacks? Please? PLEEEEZE?”

  5. You can’t buy castor oil over the counter now, because some people apparently think it works as an abortifacient. Solution is to buy it over the internet with *no* checks & wait a few days for it to be delivered. It’s just a stupid rule that doesn’t solve the problem & gets in the way of legitimate users. Why did I want castor oil? It’s great at discouraging moles (esp. if you add a bit of that extra hot chilli sauce).

  6. ‘Controlling who purchases something so widely available really isn’t going to be all that easy – even if it were something we’d wish to do.’

    Good post, Tim. This is a metaphor for gun control in the U.S.

    There are 150,000,000 guns in the U.S. Some say 300,000,000. Any adult who is not locked up can get a gun. Gun control weighs only on the law abiding.

    “But we must do something!” The Left awaits tragedies so they can “do something.”

    ‘You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.’ – Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, Murder Capital USA

  7. Banning sale of bleach to children?

    Utter lunacy and simply another power & control grab.

    Contains “bleach”: toothpaste, washing powder, dish washing products, hair dye…

    The solution is to stop & convict the criminals, not to ban their latest tool.

    Banning sale of sharp things to under 18s hasn’t stopped increase in knife crimes & murders.

    Learn from that and don’t repeat a failed strategy.

  8. Banning sale of bleach to children?

    Utter lunacy and simply another power & control grab.

    Contains “bleach”: toothpaste, washing powder, dish washing products, hair dye…

    The solution is to stop & convict the criminals, not to ban their latest tool.

    Banning sale of sharp things to under 18s hasn’t stopped increase in knife crimes & murders.

    Learn from that and don’t repeat a failed strategy.