Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Loony Laws

There's a corking article in this morning's Telegraph about stupid laws that are still in force in the UK and around the world.

Of the top 10 British Acts of Stupidity, I found number 1, "It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament", to be a bit of a disappointment - I can think of any number of MPs who could make the world a much better place by flouting that one!

Number 2 also strikes me as little odd: "It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside-down." How is upside-down defined in this case? What happens if you write the address upside-down, too? Then it's the envelope that's wrong, not the stamp.

Number 3, "In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be topless except as a clerk in a tropical fish store ", is sadly claimed to be myth. Shame.

"Mince pies cannot be eaten on Christmas Day," according to number 4. But, if you told porkies about it, who would ever know?

At number 5, "In Scotland, if someone knocks on your door and requires the use of your toilet, you must let them enter," must surely be extracting the urine. Mind you, I could name a few canny Scots who wouldn't be above charging a bit more than a penny for the use of their facilities.

Number 6, "In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman's helmet." Y'know, I've always wondered about those helmets. Do their heads go all the way to the top? Or are they designed that way just in case of unexpectedly incontinent mothers-to-be?

"The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen," says dumb law number 7. Gosh, rank really does have its privileges, eh?

Taxing the brain at number 8 is this convoluted entry: "It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing."

At number 9, "It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament in a suit of armour." Yes, well, that makes sense - we'd never know when MPs were lying, because we wouldn't be able to see their lips moving behind the visor.

And now, thanks to number 10, I know why Gordon Brown-Trousers NEVER, EVER carries a bow and arrow: "In the city of York it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow."

As for the international oddities, well just read 'em for yourself - they're pretty much what you'd expect. But I did like this one: "In Alabama, it is illegal to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle". Always sensible advice, and I fully expect it to make its way into the Highway Code, right beside the prohibition on smoking while driving. After all, why stop at just one loony law?

Billy Seggars.

No comments: