How the Vest was Won…

I want a hi-viz vest. You can do absolutely anything if you have a hi-viz vest. You can run the railways, standing, chatting on the platform as old ladies stagger by with their luggage; you can issue penalty notices as a pseudo policeman; clamp vehicles; marshall public events and watch them for free; you can even stop traffic on any public highway to load, unload or just lean on a spade. The possession of a hi-viz vest bestows upon its wearer sweeping discretionary powers to halt, harry and enforce health and safety. It’s quite a piece of kit…

Once upon a time, the only high visibility vest in the world belonged to Rab C Nesbit. Now they’re everywhere, like some badge of blue collar office. Considering that they were intended to stop sweaty old navvies getting mowed down on the country’s highways and byways, they’ve come a long way. These days, this humble article of labourer’s livery has taken on the equivalence of the beadle’s staff or the field marshall’s baton. And God help us if it’s accompanied by a small walky-talky or a laminated badge…

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