"Half a league, half a league. Half a league onwards" are words from the first line of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem about "The Charge of the Light Brigade.
The poem tells the story of a brigade of 600 men, who rode on horseback into the "valley of death" for half a league. They were obeying a command to charge the enemy knowing more than likely it would end in their deaths. Why? Because the role of the soldier was to follow orders "not to make reply ….. not to reason why", so they followed the command and rode into the valley of death!"
The poem was written to portray courage and honour, but was a complete blunder like many battles in war, as the brigade charged in the wrong direction and many needlessly died.
In fact the event that was supposed to galvanize the Crimean War and strengthen "The Thin Red Line', was all too often poorly managed had too much bureaucracy and became increasingly unpopular.
Half a league is equivalent to 1.5 miles or 1500 fathoms.
If we human beings were rational creatures, no way would we obey such a command that would lead to instant death! The problem is, as I see it, is that we've duplicated this in health and safety by creating a tick and flick society that can't think for themselves and "fathom" out what is right or wrong.
We are charging into "The Valley of Death" (uncertainty), and the workers are merely obeying our orders (following our systems), instead of engaging them in the process to design out risk and plan for a safer future.