Another Cameron oddity?

Following May’s cat — which is most thoroughly eviscerated by David Allen Green at the New Statesman — we have Cameron’s marker pens:

… one of the biggest things holding people back is the shadow of health and safety. I was told recently about a school that wanted to buy a set of highlighter pens. But with the pens came a warning. Not so fast – make sure you comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. Including plenty of fresh air and hand and eye protection. Try highlighting in all that.

Now, why couldn’t anyone predict that, along with those dastardly Yumun Rites, Elfan Safety would put in an appearance?

In this case Cameron, loving parent, should be made to answer on two grounds: xylene and toluene.

So let’s go for a small experiment:

  • Detach the cap of said marker pen.
  • Inhale vigorously.
  • You are getting a dose of one or the other. You may notice that, unless you replace the cap firmly and shortly, the pen dries out and is useless. That is because xylene and/or toluene are solvent.
  • You may also, should you wish, imagine quantities of such stuff floating around an ill-ventilated (and most are) classroom
  • Ever heard of solvent abuse?


According to the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, xylene is a colorless, sweet-smelling liquid that catches on fire easily. It has interesting and unhelpful effects on the liver, the nervous system and the kidneys — especially during periods when organs are developing.


Again, let us refer to the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. There we realise that toluene is what ordinary folk call paint thinner. It has alternative uses at the nasty end of your local skid row. If you’re into drinking nail varnish remover, that’s your substance of choice. It, too, goes for the nervous system, but also the heart and the circulation.

Both of these chemical poisons seem exactly the kind of stuff to have around the school class-room.

But, with his experience of Eton, Cameron wouldn’t have much knowledge of such lower-class ways of getting your kicks, now would he?



Filed under Conservative family values, David Cameron, education, health, Tories.

3 responses to “Another Cameron oddity?

  1. Quite. But what was his nonsense about hand and eye protection all about? Or was Dave just being economical with the truth for comedic effect?

  2. Pingback: Catgate: why telling the truth is a bad idea in politics – Telegraph Blogs

  3. Pingback: Son of Marmite (STV edition) | Malcolm Redfellow’s Home Service

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