Waspsnest’s Contributors

The Wasp
Mr Raccoon

Personal responsibility – compare and contrast.

As I mention in my holiday posts below, Estonia still believes in the concept of people being responsible for their own actions. The lack of the UK’s myriad warning signs for example is one of the reasons I love spending time in Estonia. It reminds me of my childhood in a way when people were free to do what they pleased without the nanny state constantly whispering in their ear.

One very good example of the difference in culture is the attitude to swimming. Estonians tend to go swimming just about everywhere in Summer – lakes, rivers, canals and the sea. The modern English view, of course, is that is all very dangerous and may harm others too.

The first picture below is from a local reservoir :

Yes – Cold Water Kills!! And, even worse, you may be endangering the people who will have to come and pull you out of the water.

Compare that to the following picture taken around a lake to the West of Tallinn (and seen in quite a few harbours and other places as well) :

Yes, you see that right – No Drunken Swimming.

Seems eminently sensible to me and probably the only warning you need to give people. No mention, you will note, of evil dangerous cold water or prohibited or any other nanny state crap.

The idea that you are responsible for your own safety is evident everywhere. Large 8 person swings have signs saying use at your own risk. Old military ruins have signs saying enter at your own risk. Even the electricity pylons lack the first world war style barbed wire and warning signs. Nothing banned, nothing prohibited for the sake of safety – just use common sense and decide for yourself if you will take the risk.

How long it will last now that the EU has Estonia firmly in its grips is another matter but for now I just want to go back there as soon as I can!

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