Monday, 12 November 2007

Blessed be the lawmakers

According to a recent story on Auntie Beeb, the following are still valid laws on Britain's statute books. Some of them date back to the 12th century, but, well, rules are rules. After all, there was a survey and everything, so it must be true. So I thought it was worth having a look-see:

"Every able-bodied man between the ages of 16 and 60 should practice archery at the local Butts every Sunday after church." Hmmm. I can see I'm going to have a bit of a problem with this one. I don't mind the archery - you never know when there's going to be Agincourt II (This Time It's Personal). And once someone explains to me what "Butts" means, I can stop sniggering. But the "after church" thing? C'mon....

"Being drunk in charge of a horse, cow or steam engine incurs a £200 fine and possibly jail for up to 51 weeks." What if the horse knew its own mind? Can any of us ever truly be said to be "in charge" when it comes to domestic animals? Or am I over-sharing here?

"It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament." OK. We're entering the outskirts of Weird County now. Anyway, I've seen Prime Minister's Questions on TV enough to know that some backbenchers have been flouting this law for years. Rimshot, cymbal, I thank you.

"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." I've re-read this a few times now. And I still don't understand it. Strange, because tax law has such a reputation for unassailable logic and clarity.

"Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned." I am so screwed.


Deb said...

See, that's why all that tea got dumped in Boston, because of that tax man thing, and because it is my inalienable right as an American to drive a steam engine while snoggered, or to get wasted and tip cows, or barrel race on a fifth of Jack Daniels. Yee-haw, I'm a Patriot! How do you think the rodeo was invented?

Le laquet said...

There's one about being allowed to shoot a Welshman with a longbow across the market square in Shrewsbury ... at which point my husband suggested a weekend away in Shropshire. I'll get him back! Even if I have to wait a while ;o)

fatboyfat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fatboyfat said...

deb - don't be so certain you've avoided the daft lawmakers over there - apparently in Florida it's illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit.

le laquet - there's a similar law in York and Chester for Scotsmen. Whether it came about due to raiding parties or stag weekends has not been recorded.

Deb said...

Perhaps, but if you want to die while anywhere in a swimsuit, you're fine--except maybe in a crack house, of which we have plenty. But anywhere else!


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