Free-Range Kids

150-Year-Old Christmas Tradition Cancelled for 'Safety' Concerns


Santa Claus
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Every year since, oh, 1860, brave Brits in Brighton, England, have participated in a Christmas Day dip in the sea. It sounds like New York's Polar Bear Club tradition. But this year, in Brighton, the 150-year-old romp has been cancelled due to "health and safety concerns." The city council will close parts of the beach to make sure no one goes for a swim. According to The Express:

Health and safety chiefs fear a repeat incident of a swimmer who needed to be rescued after getting into difficulty near the pier in October.

They also cite the death of a Hastings woman who died during a Christmas Day dip in 2012.

Margaret Tuppen, president of the swimming club, said: "It is a shame to break tradition. I do moan about health and safety sometimes, but the conclusion of the meeting was that it can be quite dangerous—especially when drink is involved. If it means a tragedy is prevented then we support the decision."

How will anyone know if they prevented a tragedy? They won't. That's why the real danger is the decision to arbitrarily end traditions. What is the difference between no more dips and, say, no more Christmas trees in the home? After all, they could fall and hurt someone. Or caroling? Someone could slip on the ice. Cancelling  those might mean a tragedy prevented.

Or not. 


But once we are beholden to the precautionary principle, when will it end? Maybe we'll just cancel Christmas—after all, some people could overreact and go into diabetic shock, or be disappointed and suicidal, or try to get the Transformer out of its plastic wrap and suffer a gash that drains their last drop of blood (perhaps ruining the carpet, a double tragedy!).

That may sound silly. It is. But so is ending a 150-year-old tradition over unjustified safety concerns. Why not let the people decide if they dare to have fun or not? 


NEXT: 'If they can do it, I'll challenge ‘em. I'll pay them a million dollars if they can do it'

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  1. Margaret Tuppen, president of the swimming club, said: “It is a shame to break tradition. I do moan about health and safety sometimes, but the conclusion of the meeting was that it can be quite dangerous – especially when drink is involved. If it means a tragedy is prevented then we support the decision.”

    Good to know the English stiff-upper-lip is still unwavering. God Save the Queen!

    1. What a useless little bootlicker she is.

      1. Margaret Tuppen or the Queen?

    2. “We will fight them on the beaches, in the towns, in the countryside….no wait, all that shooting may injure our eardrums. So, Herr Hitler, please take the next ferry over the Channel and we will give you the keys to the kingdom.”

      1. Just because you mentioned it:

  2. Forget it Lenore, Its UnitedKingdomtown.

  3. Sometimes I get really upset about the state of the U.S., then I read about the United Kingdom and I don’t feel so bad anymore.

    1. I do the same – and then, I usually realize that the UK is simply foreshadowing where we will probably be in another decade or two.

      1. We’re much closer on their heels than that.

        1. We are so close on their heels, that if they suddenly stopped, we’d be guilty of sexual assault.

    2. We twa hae sported i’ the burn,
      From morning sun till dine,
      But seas between us braid hae roared
      Sin’ auld lang syne.

  4. Will the beach be mined as well as closed? What’s to stop someone from doing it anyway?

    1. Death. By the state officials trying to make them safe.

      1. British cops, though? Wouldn’t a single board with a nail in it be enough to hold off a dozen of those?

        1. “‘ey, ‘ey now! That’s an OFFENSIVE WEAPON, that is!”

          /Cockney cop

          1. -“That’s our lunch!”
            -“I’m taking these in for forensic examination.”
            -“Because it moight’vebeen used as a MURDER weapon, that’s why!”

  5. Why not let the people decide if they dare to have fun or not?

    People place authorities over themselves for the very purpose of not having to decide on their own.

    Submission to government is the only way adults get to maintain that infantile longing for the sweet juice of mama’s tits.

    1. Now, I was just an ordinary English man,
      Till I got me uniform, and hat,
      And ever since that hour,
      I exercise me power,
      Preventing you from doing this and that.
      You’ll find me on the turnstiles at the zoo,
      Or outside the Roxy, marshalling the queue,
      And if you turn up late,
      when I’m on the gate,
      It’s no good asking me to let you through ? ’cause I’ll just say:

      Jobsworth, josbsworth; it’s more than my job’s worth.
      I don’t care, rain or snow, whatever you want ? the answer’s no!
      I can keep you standing, for hours in the queue,
      And if you don’t like, you know what you can do! (A?a?ah?ah)

  6. No global warming joke yet? I am disappoint!

    I guess they’re afraid the water is too hot for them to swim in, what with global warming and all!

    1. The heat’s hiding down there, and it could attack at any moment!

  7. Brits. Pussies. Water. Wet.

    Schocked, I am.

  8. What about all the Christmas tree fires? Natural Christmas trees should be banned. Only trees made of asbestos, oops!, non-flammable materials should be allowed.

    1. People break ankles (and worse!) from slip-and-falls on ice. To prevent any such occurrence, people should not be permitted to walk in any location where participation could fall.

  9. Alt-alt-text: Let me see what this talk of ‘shrinkage’ is all about. HO HO HO!

  10. I would say that if it was relatively safe the last 150 years, it can only be safer today. But people have turned into much bigger pussies, probably at faster rate than medicine has improved, so perhaps it really is more dangerous now.

    1. ‘relatively safe’.

      Relative to what?

      Former H&R commenter and physicist, thoreau, used the example of a municipal ordinance prohibiting ‘riding a bicycle in a swimming pool’ as the litmus test of government overreach. I don’t know why the fuck I remembered that, but it stuck. He was onto something. There has to be some objective boundary, other than abortion, that keeps the state out a person’s business.

  11. So the Brits are afraid to go skinny dipping and we’re afraid to show a movie. Make that two movies. So I guess we both suck.

  12. This ‘blacklist’ approach to personal security if far too inefficient. The list will grow and grow and never be complete. I recommend we just shortcut this whole process and by jumping straight to a ‘whitelist’ approach.

    You MAY:
    – watch 10 hours of tv or less (too much tv is bad for you).
    – go for a walk in designated safe walking zone.
    – stare blankly at the wall.

    Everything else is forbidden.

    Have fun out there!

    1. You say “May”, Big Brother says “Must”.

      1. It’s a democracy. That’s why we say “may”.

  13. How is landing an over-loaded sleigh on icy rooftops in any way safe? And then breaking into peoples’ homes through the chimney, allegedly to do good? A stocking full of candy is asking for tooth decay and obesity. Can’t Santa leave apples and oranges instead? And what about the reindeer? 25,000 miles in one night? They should unionize.

  14. or try to get the Transformer out of its plastic wrap and suffer a gash that drains their last drop of blood

    My prediction stands. Civilization will die, whimpering, when everything comes in plastic packaging and we aren’t allowed anything sharp enough to open it.

  15. Authorities have closed beaches for swimming from for, like, ever out of lack of lifeguards, etc. But I gather that this beach is open for swimming the rest of the year. Is there any evidence that it’s more dangerous on a per capita basis during this annual event than it is for swimming on any other day? I think the authorities may have succumbed to the fallacy of looking at raw numbers rather than per capita. It may appear safer on other days just because so many fewer people swim at those times. Sort of like my friend Rob Kramer who, when it was announced that Skylab’s re-entry would most likely land it in the ocean, declared that he would avoid the waters while it was pending.

  16. “Rule Britania,
    Britania rules the waves!
    Britons never, never, never
    shall be slaves!”


  17. Kelly `s st0rry is great, on thursday I got a top of the range Fiat Multipla from having made $5941 thiss month and-more than, 10k lass-month . it’s definitly my favourite work I’ve ever had . I started this three months/ago and pretty much immediately started bringin home minimum $70 per hour .
    hop over to here ==========

  18. Thanks for sharing. We have a lot of depression and anxiety in our family. As a church, I think it’s important to mention those things to help others know it’s ok. It’s helpful to go to counseling and anyone can suffer with depression sometimes. Thanks for your honesty and sharing.

    Try it, you won t regret it! ….

  19. It’s time to outlaw water, it’s far too dangerous for humankind. If even one life is saved it’s well worth it.

  20. I looked at the paycheck that said $4961 , I accept …that…my neighbours mother woz like they say actually making money part-time on there computar. . there dads buddy haz done this for under twelve months and just cleared the loans on their house and purchased a brand new Nissan GT-R: .
    try this site and free register ———

  21. We should make a PSA that many people die when having sex. Hopefully all the scaredy-cats won’t reproduce.

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