Posted by Tania Kindersley.
In the last post, I blithely wrote that Labour had created 3,500 new criminal offences. It's the kind of thing that makes me cross: heavy-handed government, wasted parliamentary time, loss of civil liberties, etc etc, but I just wrote it down without thinking about it that much.
Now I can't get it out of my head. Try to imagine 3,500 criminal offences. What could they possibly be? If I had to sit in a darkened room and think up illegal acts, I would probably run out of steam once I got past the hundred mark.
So, like a gnarly old dog with a bone, I went to The Google. Here, just so you know, are some of the new laws that were passed in the Mother of All Parliaments in the last thirteen years:
You may not sell grey squirrels.
You may not impersonate a traffic warden. (Just imagine what would happen if you were caught selling squirrels whilst impersonating a traffic warden. The entire Crown Prosecution Service would implode.)
If you are a ship's captain, you may not carry grain unless you have a copy of the International Grain Code. (I admit I go nowhere without The International Grain Code; it is like The Great Gatsby to me. But I had no idea it was a legal requirement.)
You may not enter the hull of the Titanic without permission from the Secretary of State.
And listen carefully, you lovers of the Eastern Europeans: you may not import Polish potatoes, no matter what the brave Poles did for us in the Battle of Britain.
You may not, as of 1998, set off a nuclear explosion. (You did not know that was legal before, did you? So much for those Tories calling themselves the party of law and order. Pussies.)
You may not, however much you want to, obstruct the work of The Children's Commissioner for Wales.
Then there is something about unloading herrings and disturbing eggs but if I go on you shall slowly feel the very lifeforce being pulled out of you by legislative elves.
Now, here's a nice picture of some baby owls to take your mind off it all:
(Via the BBC.)
Interestingly, a lot of this nonsense was highlighted in the House by a certain Mr Nick Clegg, when he was the Lib Dems' home affairs spokesman. I am sometimes slightly rude about the implausibly plausible Mr Clegg, but absolute kudos to him for that.
Lovely bonus moment in this search: it led me to a piece in the Daily Mail, tipping its hat to the 'admirable' Nick Clegg for exposing the government's legislative madness. Is this the very same Daily Mail that only two weeks ago accused nice St Nick of a NAZI SLUR? Just asking.