Pandora: Cameron falls foul of health and safety

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The Independent Online

David Cameron delighted the Conservative Party faithful during his conference speech in Birmingham on Wednesday by attacking that favourite target of Middle England: the petty bureaucratuic arbiters of "'elf and safety".

"This attitude, this whole health and safety culture has infected every part of our life," he informed the rapt audience. "Teachers can't put a plaster on a child's grazed knee without calling a first aid officer."

His claims naturally had traditional Tories rolling in the aisles.

But was his assertion true?

Yesterday, a number of political opponents issued swift rebuttals of Cameron's comments, claiming that the legislation he referred to, dealing with the treatment of injured schoolchildren, does not in fact exist.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, the example Cameron used is one of most persistent myths that the body has to deal with. So much so, says one spokesman, that the child's plaster story was included in its "myth of the month" awareness campaign, which was launched back in 2006.

"We have publicised it heavily for well over a year now, so you'd think most people would know about it," I'm told.

Johnny finds the attention Rotten

Johnny Rotten is in front of the lawyers in LA today to answer a civil lawsuit which alleges he punched Roxanne Davis, an assistant on a reality TV show he was filming.

Surprisingly for a man who has basked in controversy all these years, the former Sex Pistol – real name John Lydon – isn't keen on the media being granted access to his taped deposition. His bashfulness could have something to do with the fact that among the details filed in the 33-page lawsuit is a list of demands he reportedly made to the programme's production company, which would make even Jennifer Lopez blush. Ms Davis's lawyer, Keith Fink, says Rotten demanded a budget for his own stylist, that all plane seats and hotel rooms should be next to his assistant, Rambo, and "under no circumstances was anyone to touch Rotten's hair".

Carluccio caught up in 'bin wars'

There is more bad news for the cuddly, mushroom-loving Italian chef Anthony Carluccio, just two weeks after he was admitted to hospital after stabbing himself in the chest with a carving knife.

Carluccio is the latest victim of the "bin wars" being waged across the capital. Yesterday, the Environment Agency announced it was taking his popular restaurant group to court for allegedly failing to properly dispose of its waste. Apparently, this action is because the company allegedly failed to comply with environmental health regulations or respond to any warnings.

A spokesman for the agency said last night: "Carluccio's not only failed to register themselves as a producer of waste but they failed to change. We requested that they take reasonable steps and they haven't."

No one from Carluccio's was available for comment last night.

Petra yah to bête noire

Yesterday, I cast doubt on Bernie Ecclestone's daughter Petra turning up at the launch of her sister Tamara's new clothing line at Harrods. Harrods, you see, are a bête noire of animal rights group Peta, which Petra supports. So surprising to learn she did attend. "She was invited, and always intended to come," said a spokesman for the event. I do hope Peta don't mind.

Nationwide has got Balls

At this moment, the public has as much faith in financial institutions as Tottenham fans have in Juande Ramos. So what a funny time for the Nationwide Building Society to write to MPs, promoting their education scheme designed to teach teachers, parents and children how to manage money. Encouragingly they say Children's Minister Ed Balls is right behind the project.

Ritchie breaks with tradition

The cast of Guy Ritchie's new Sherlock Holmes movie, which stars Robert Downey Jnr, lined up in London this week. Already it is set to upset traditionalists. Ritchie refused to confirm whether Holmes would don his trademark deerstalker, or even wear his traditional tweed. Producer Joel Silver also indicated he's for a youngster-friendly PG-13 rating, which rules out Holmes indulging his passion for class-A drugs.