Safety First: Do We Live In A ‘Cotton-Wool Society’?

It is understandable that, in response to a catastrophe like the Grenfell Tower fire or terrorist incidents, there should be a public concern to identify those responsible and to take appropriate steps to prevent such incidents. But, is there a danger that safety becomes an end in itself, distorting how we deal with risks by constantly demanding that something – anything – must be done to keep us safe? Does the dictum ‘better safe than sorry’ heighten perceptions of risk and vulnerability? Many parents now go to extreme lengths to keep their children safe. But will over-protected ‘cotton wool’ kids really develop a sense of independence? Is it time to confront the dangers of our ‘safety first’ society?

In this highly engaging debate, filmed at the Battle of Ideas 2017, the speakers are: Richard Angell; Terry Barnes; Professor Bill Durodie; Dr Clare Gerada; Lenore Skenazy and the chair is: Claire Fox.

Battle of Ideas session details